500 facts: the race today 

Stats from the current era

click to enlarge 500facts_webheaders21.jpg

483. Teams go through 5,000 tires in May.

All Firestone these days.

484. A driver pulls 4Gs in the turns.

That's four times the natural force of gravity, or the same Gs astronauts experience during the launch of the shuttle.

485. IndyCars at speed are traveling the length of a football field every second.

At 220 mph, it's actually slightly longer than 100 yards.

486. Current IndyCars run at 650 horses.

On average, that's four times the horsepower of the ride in your driveway.

487. An IndyCars piston moves a mile a minute.

That's the distance you'd have if you take the up-and-down motion of each of the pistons and converted it to a straight line — and those pistons pull 70,000 Gs. The IMS tells us: "Each of the 8 pistons in an IndyCar Series engine is subjected to a maximum acceleration of 70,000 times the force of gravity."

click to enlarge Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015 - FILE PHOTO
  • Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015
  • File photo

488. The mileage is terrible.

Back to the Speedway's PR guys: "The fuel mileage of an IndyCar Series car is less than 2 miles per gallon. A car burns approximately 1.3 gallons of fuel per lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."

489. Here's torque for you: IndyCars can do 0-100 in under three seconds.

That'd blow a Porsche 911 Turbo off the line by nine seconds.

490. The cars generate 5,000 pounds of downforce.

That's what keeps a 1,565 pound car from sliding at over 200 mph.

491. One of your credit cards is about equal to an IndyCar's tread depth.

OK, almost. At 3/32 of an inch, the tire tread's a bit thicker.

492. The front tires of an IndyCar each weigh about 18 pounds.

Kind of like picking up a toddler, right?

493. All the lug nuts tighten toward the front of the car.

None of that "lefty-loosey" business on the left side of the car — the lug nuts must tighten in the direction a tire's moving, since a single lug like an IndyCar's would be loosened as the car moved otherwise.

494. The tires are melting during the race, and that's a good thing.

The tires close in on the temperature at which water boils, and when they're around 212 degrees Farenheit, the rubber becomes almost like a tar — and that improves traction.

495. When an IndyCar's up to speed, the tires are rotating 43 times per second.

The front tires are somewhat smaller, so they turn more: 1,955 per lap versus 1,800 for the rears.

496. The footprint of the car is pretty tiny.

IMS says: "At any given moment, the total area of all four tires in contact with the track surface is equal to about 1 square foot, which is about the size of a sheet of notebook paper."

497. But the hole they punch in the air is pretty big.

The draft following a car extends a full 25 feet, allowing for some pretty incredible slingshot passing.

498. A plethora of special events surround the 100th running, including a film called "The People's 100."

The Big Car-sponsored documentary features interviews with a variety of Hoosiers at IMS — including the fan writing these words.

click to enlarge Mayor of Hinchtown, and king of speed for 2016. - CHRIS JONES
  • Mayor of Hinchtown, and king of speed for 2016.
  • Chris Jones

499. The 100th running of the Indy 500 occurs on May 29, 2016.

The pole-sitter is James Hinchcliffe, our cover model. (By the way, You can ride your bike to the track, which beats a lot of traffic.)

500. Oh, and one more thing: The winner of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is: __________________________

(Go ahead and fill 'er out yourself after the checkered flag flies.)

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About The Author

Ed Wenck

Ed Wenck

Ed Wenck has been writing for NUVO (as well as several other Indiana publications) for nearly 20 years while moonlighting as a radio host. He became Managing Editor of NUVO in 2013. He's authored four books and also reports for WISH-TV's Boomer TV program.

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