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The month of May is Indy

The Indianapolis 500 is part of world motorsport’s triple crown also consisting of the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but celebrates its 107th edition in May in its traditional month long lead in.

In fact, the preparation for rookies is longer than a month as one of the requirements to enter the Indianapolis 500 is to complete the Rookie Orientation Program devised of three phases at different speeds. Phase 1 is 10 laps at 205mph-210mph, Phase 2 consists of 15 laps at 210mph-215mph and Phase 3 is 15 laps at more than 215mph.

Drivers who lack recent experience in the race also must complete this requirement, but in this case it is called a refresher.

These programs generally occur during open testing towards the end of March and unlike Supercars where there is roughly a month break between the previous round and Bathurst, IndyCar has two races within the month at Barber Motorsports Park (which Scott McLaughlin won last week) and the road course at Indianapolis.

Practice starts two days after the Indianapolis Grand Prix, with Fast Friday completing the sessions and after a blind draw is used to decide the qualifying order.

Each entry is guaranteed one attempt to make it into the race and the top 12 advance into the shootout for pole position the next day. Positions 12th-30th are decided on this day as a further shootout for entries in 31st and lower determine the final three grid slots in the race.

Participants in each of the two shootouts have their times deleted and for the last qualifiers of the race each get a guaranteed run or if time permits additional laps. Traditionally, only the 33 fastest qualifiers make the race.

The shootout for pole position is split into two groups and this completes the final grid.

The 200 lap encounter attracts a huge crowd each year of more than 250,000 spectators in the stands combined with the ‘Bull Pen’ providing a wild environment to watch the event.

The winner of the Indy 500 receives the Borg Warner Trophy and a celebrates with milk rather than the traditional champagne. This came about after Louis Meyer asked for a glass of buttermilk after securing his second 500 in 1933.

And if competing in the 500 is not enough, some drivers have completed ‘Double Duty’ by also racing the NASCAR’s prestigious Coca-Cola 600 later that evening in Charlotte.

Indy definitely should be on the bucket list for any motorsport fan.