The Indy 500: Speeds Nearing 200 mph Aren’t Even the Most Impressive Numbers
17 May, 2017By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Faced with Stiff Competition from NASCAR and Formula One, Indy Ups Its Game to Stay Relevant
For motorsports fans, the Indianapolis 500 is as much a part of the kickoff to summer as the cookout. (In fact, plenty of Memorial Day barbecues will do double duty as Indy watch parties.)
Last year’s race marked the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500, and there was plenty of fanfare to get enthusiasts revved up. And while the 101st waving of the checkered flag doesn’t have quite the pizzazz, there are still some impressive statistics to be reckoned with (and thanks to our friends over at WalletHub for crunching them)
$3.5 Million: The current value of the Indy 500 trophy.
$431 Million: The Indy 500’s economic impact on the city of Indianapolis.
14.5: Percentage increase in last year’s ticket price over that of the previous year.
6.2 million: Viewership for the race in 2014.
1.3 gallons: Fuel burned per lap
186.563 mph: Average speed of drivers
300,000 tourists attracted to Indianapolis as a result of the race
250,000: Number of grandstand seats at Indy
4th: Year that “glamping” will be allowed in the infield over race weekend
253: Total acreage of the Indianpolis Motor Speedway infield (trivia point: large enough to fit Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Coliseum and Vatican City inside, with room to spare.)
315: Total acreage of parking lots
$14 Million-plus: Total purse for the winner
$10,000: Cost of making the winner’s trophy in 1935 when the event started, as opposed to…
$3.5 Million: Total value of the trophy today
49: The age of the oldest driver (Buddy Lazier) - a bonus stat from BRANDed Management
Is Indy Car the stepchild of NASCAR and Formula One? Well, it is in the U.S., at least. WalletHub also notes, “Much is on the line with the Indy 500 – both on and off the track. Indy Car racing must fight to stay relevant in the face of Formula One competition, fading ratings and lackluster sponsorship. As global television becomes the norm, the growth of Formula One in the U.S. may begin to compete even more so with Indy Car for consumer and sponsor attention,” said Joe Cobbs, assistant professor of sports business at Northern Kentucky University.
Still, notes WalletHub, the Indy 500 is one of the most quintessentially American events on the annual sporting calendar, gluing millions of pairs of eyeballs to television sets globally. We watch for many reasons. Many invariably tune in for the potential excitement of fiery wrecks and pit crew brawls. But then there are others who root for favorite driver or are mesmerized by the poetry of pit stops and the sheer engineering brilliance fueling cars that reach an excess of 225 mph.
Summertime, start your engine.