The first Indianapolis 500 took place in 1911 and was won by Ray Harroun. The distance of 500 miles was chosen because the speedway leader and partners wanted a race that would last for about seven hours from mid-morning until late afternoon. Here is the schedule of things that will happen before the 2012 Indy 500.
2012 Indy 500 Schedule of Events
Friday, May 18th will be the Fast Friday Practice. Drivers and teams generally put forth their best effort on Fast Friday to gear up for Pole Day. There are a variety of things that go on during Fast Friday. The admission cost for Fast Friday is $10, but 12 and under are free.
10 a.m. until 6 p.m. the Public Gates will be open
11-11:30 a.m. there will be a Q&A with Owner/Driver/Sponsor Panel on the Coca-Cola Stage
Noon-6 p.m. will be practice
6:15 p.m. will be the Pole Day Qualifications Draw on the Coca-Cola Stage
Saturday, May 19th will be the first day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. It will determine the first 24 grid spots available with the fastest driver awarded the pole position. Qualifying begins at 11 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m. at 4:30 p.m. the fastest nine qualifiers will attempt to go faster than their previous time. Admission for Pole Day is $15, but 12 and under are free.
6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Public Gates Open
8-10 a.m. will be practice
10-10:30 a.m. will be a Q&A with Past Pole Winners on the Coca-Cola Stage
10:15 a.m. will be the American Dairy Association Pin Distribution, Pagoda Plaza
11 a.m.-4 p.m. will be the First Qualifying Segment
4 p.m. will be the Ceremonial Lap Honoring 50th Anniversary of Parnelli Jones’ 150-mph Lap
4:30-6 p.m. will be the Fast Nine Pole Qualifying
6 p.m. is the Pole Award Presentation at Yard of Bricks
6:15 p.m. will be live music by Here Come The Mummies at the Coca-Cola stage
Sunday, May 20th will be Bump Day/IMS Armed Forces Day. Admission will be $15 with 12 and under free.
7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. the Public Gates are open
7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. there will be a Military Vehicle Display at Pagoda Plaza
10 a.m.-11 a.m. will be practice
11:15 a.m.-11:40 a.m. there will be an Armed Forces Enlistment Ceremony at Yard of Bricks
11:15-11:45 a.m. will be another Q&A with Bump Day Drivers at the Coca-Cola Stage
Noon-6 p.m. will be qualifying
American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day
There will be no track activity this day, but there will be a ton of things for fans to do. Admission will be $8 advance and $10 at the gate. Children 6 and under will get in free.
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.- Public gates will be open
11 a.m. the 500 Festival Community Day Pin Distribution at Pagoda Plaza
11 a.m.-Noon there will be a Firestone Indy Lights Driver Autograph Session at Plaza Pavilion 1C/1D
12:30-1:30 p.m. is an Indy 500 Autograph Session #1 Wristband Distribution, Moto GP Garage 36
1:30-2:30 p.m.-, Indy 500 Autograph Session #1 Plaza Pavillion 1C/!d
2-3 p.m., Indy 500 Autograph Session #2, Wristband Distribution, MotoGP Garage 36
3-4 p.m., Indy 500 Autograph Session #2 at the Plaza Pavilion 1C/1D
3:30-4:30 p.m., INDY 500 Autograph session #3 Wristband Distribution, Moto GP Garage 36
4:30-5:30 p.m., INDY 500 Autograph Session #3, Plaza Pavilion 1C/1D
FIRESTONE FREEDOM 100 PRACTICE, QUALIFYING
This qualifying day is free and open to the public.
8 a.m.-6 p.m. the Public Gates opem
9 a.m.-noon will be the Firestone Indy Lights Practice
1:15-2:15 p.m. will be the Firestone Indy Lights Qualifying
2:30-4 p.m. there will be Vintage Car Laps
Miller Lite Carb Day
Admission for this day will be $20, 12 and under will be free.
8 a.m.-6 p.m. the Public Gates will open
10:30 a.m.-11 a.m. there will be a Q&A with IndyCar Crew Members at the Coca-Cola Stage
10:45 a.m. there will be a Firestone Pin Distribution and Pagoda Plaza
11 a.m.-Noon the Indianapolis 500 Final Practice will take place
12:30 p.m. will be the Firestone Freedom 100 which is 40 laps
1:35 p.m. there will be an Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge
3:30 p.m. is the Miller Lite Carb Day Concert featuring Lynard Skynard
Saturday, May 26th will be Legends Day, honoring Roger Penske and will be presented by Shell V-Power. Admission will be $10, but 12 and under will be free. Publi gates will be open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
8:45 a.m.-9 a.m. will be a Chase Rookie of the Year Candidates Q&A on the Coca-Cola stage
9-10 a.m. is a 2011 Starting Field/Indy 500 Winners Autograph Session at Pagoda Plaze
9 a.m.- 4 p.m. is the Indianapolis 500 Memorabilia Show at Plaza Pavilion
9:30-10:20 a.m. is the Vintage Car Laps
10:30-11 a.m. is a Public Drivers Meeting at Tower Terrace
11-11:30 a.m. is a Q&A with Roger Penske at the Coca-Cola Stage
1-4 p.m. is an Indy 500 Veterans Autograph Session in Pagoda Plaza
96TH INDIANAPOLIS 500 RACE DAY
Tickets start at $30 for race day and public gates will be opened at 5:33 a.m..
7 a.m. the Snake Pit opens
8:30 a.m. there will be a Parade of Bands
9:30 a.m. is the 500 Festival Princesses Lap
11 a.m. is the Vintage Car Lap
11:10 a.m. is the Military Tribute Lap
11:30 a.m. will be Driver introductions
Noon will be the Start of the 96th Indianapolis 500 that will last 200 laps.