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100 yrs of Indy 500 racing

Three thousand or so drivers and one field of 33,  but only one man (or woman) will make the history books crowned as a legend today.

A.J. Foyt Jr. takes pole for all-time lineup at the Brickyard. Row 1 – A.J. Foyt Jr., Rick Mears, Al Unser Sr.

Four victories, 35 races, 12,272.5 miles and 53 years as either a driver or owner not only put A.J. on the pole, they make him Mr. Indy. And who else to sit alongside but the other two four-time winners?

Row 2 – Bill Vukovich, Wilbur Shaw, Helio Castroneves

Vukovich beats out two three-time winners as perhaps the most iconic figure in Speedway history. He wasn’t around long – just five years – but in those five years he won twice (1953-54), broke down just nine laps from another victory (1952) and was on his way to a third straight victory when he was killed while leading in 1955. Row 3 – Louis Meyer, Mauri Rose, Bobby Unser

Will three time Indy winner Helio bring home a fourth win? He is only the 9th driver to achieve three wins and the first foreign-driver to do so.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has spent the past few years celebrating what it's called the "Centennial Era," which is marketing shorthand for "years building up to the hundredth anniversary." This has essentially meant a few fancy logos, a revamp of the storied speedway's museum, and not much else, until now. This is the big one, the actual anniversary celebration, and it's a doozy. No other motor race on the planet has run for as long in the same place, or under such consistent circumstances. And no other motorsport event is as widely recognized. It is also the world’s largest single-day sporting event attracting more than 400,000 fans. Nearly everyone on the planet has heard of it.

 Topping things off, vintage-rubber specialist Coker Tire is building a running replica of the Marmon Wasp, the first 500 winner . The “Wasp” Ray Harroun drove to victory in 1911 will be featured in two ceremonial laps during pre-race festivities for the 100th anniversary edition. Parnelli Jones, the 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner, will drive the No. 32 Marmon “Wasp” during both laps.

Only 40 cars stared the race in 1911, all powered by a 600 cu in engine. The race was won by Ray Harroun in his Marmon Model 32-based Wasp racer, a car that featured his invention, the rear view mirror. At the race, there were 80,000 spectators and many of them considered Harroun a real danger during the race, being the only one driving without the mandatory riding mechanic.

Also, 11 Indianapolis 500 winners will drive 11 Indianapolis 500-winning cars in another parade lap. Leading the winners’ parade lap will be Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George and four-time winner A.J. Foyt Jr. “Super Tex” will drive the Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Coupe that served as the pace car at the 1977 Indianapolis 500, Foyt’s fourth career win. Also driving in the winners’ lap will be legendary winning car-owner Andy Granatelli, in a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro convertible Pace Car.

Race Day at Indianapolis (all times ET)

8 a.m. Spectacle of Bands
9:25 a.m. 500 Princess Lap
9:50 a.m. 1911 Race Cars Pace Lap
10 a.m. Past Indy 500 Winners Pace Lap
10:30 a.m. Fearless at the 500 Stunt
11 a.m. Decade Cars Pace Lap
11:10 a.m. Military Salute Pace Lap
11:30 a.m. Driver Intros
11:47 a.m. America the Beautiful, performed by Miss America, Teresa Scanlan
11:51 a.m. God Bless America, performed by Florence Henderson
11:54 a.m. Our National Anthem, performed by David Foster, Seal and Kelly Clarkson
11:57 a.m. Invocation, given by Bishop Christopher Coyne
12:02 p.m. Taps
12:03 p.m. Back Home Again in Indiana, performed by Jim Nabors
12:05 p.m. Command To Start Engines, given by Mari Hulman-George
12:10 p.m. Pace Laps, led by A.J. Foyt
12:12 p.m. Start

 In 1936 a tradition was born when the winner of the race, Louis Meyer drank a bottle of buttermilk right after the race was over.

In 2005, Danica Patrick became the first woman to lead the race, only four laps before the end. However, the female rookie driver was not able to hold off Dan Wheldon, who managed to win the race.

 What began as highlights on “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” in 1965 with Jim Clark’s victory in a Lotus/Ford moved to a same-day, primetime program in 1971 and became a live telecast (except in Indianapolis) in 1986.

ESPN on ABC’s production will use 64 cameras, including a 360-degree rotating onboard camera mounted behind the driver on multiple cars. Unique views will come from Batcam, a high-definition camera running on a cable over pit road and the frontstretch that can move at more than 80 mph.

All 33 cars will carry GPS boxes for the Sportvision RaceFX system to provide telemetry and pointers to help identify the cars for viewers. ESPN will use a radio replay system that can record, play back and edit radios from any of the 33 drivers, and viewers will learn more about the technical aspects of the sport with segments from the Emmy-winning ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.

In addition, the IMS Radio Network will broadcast live, with pre-race coverage also starting at 11 a.m. (EDT). Coverage also can be heard on SiriusXM, the Official Satellite Radio Partner of INDYCAR. SiriusXM listeners can hear the race on Channel 94 on XM and Channel 212 on Sirius Premier.
ABC will televise the Indianapolis 500 for the 47th consecutive year Sunday, with live pre-race coverage starting at 11 a.m. (EDT) and race coverage at noon.

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