6 things to know as May begins 

Ready for the 100th running of the Indy 500?

Now that the checked flag at the Grand Prix of Alabama has dropped, all eyes in the IndyCar world now turn to Speedway, Indiana and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The next two IndyCar races will take place at IMS. With four races completed in the schedule, here are some things you need to know about the 2016 season heading into the month of May.

click to enlarge Pagenaud won the inaugural Gran Prix of Indy in 2014 - FILE PHOTO
  • Pagenaud won the inaugural Gran Prix of Indy in 2014
  • File photo

Simon Pagenaud is on fire

There is arguably nobody driving better than Pagenaud right now. The points leader is the only driver with a podium (top three) finish in every race this year. He has also won the past two races in Long Beach, and Alabama. This bodes well for Pagenaud as he returns to Indy as the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis defending champion. Momentum is clearly in his favor as IndyCar heads to Indianapolis.

Graham Rahal makes the best of his circumstances

In the past three races Rahal has gained an average of six positions from his qualifying spots. This includes a P5 finish after starting in 19 for the race in Phoenix on April 2. IndyCar actually gives out an award at the end of the season for positions gained during the race. Rahal currently leads the points in the chase for the TAG Heuer "Don't Crack Under Pressure" award. He leads this award race currently with 20 points.

Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis is now charging to view practice

In the past two years at IMS fans were allowed to come and watch all of the Grand Prix practice sessions for free on the Thursday leading up to the race. This now changes for a majority of fans. Fans who have purchased their race tickets prior to March 1 will have received a free ticket to watch Thursday practice. Those who haven’t purchased tickets, or purchased after March 1 will now have to pay $10 to watch practice on Thursday May 12.

This year marks the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, this isn't news. However, this has generated interest that the race that arguably has not been seen in years. All paid parking on IMS property is sold out for both Carb Day AND race day. Camping has sold out as well. There are still tickets on-sale at the time of this writing, but there are not many tickets left.

Poetry makes its return to the Indianapolis 500

What was once one of the many traditions surrounding the Indianapolis 500 is making a return for the 100th running. Indiana Humanities is brining poetry back to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Poets were asked to submit poems for the event. The winner will have the opportunity to read their work before the race, as well as have their poem featured in the official race program. Finally, the winner will receive $1000 and 2 tickets to the race.

The Yellow Submarine will be driven by Helio Castroneves

We are not referring to the popular song from The Beatles: Helio Castroneves will take the No. 3 Pennzoil car to the track as he tries to become the fourth four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. One of the people helping Helio will be four-time race winner Rick Mears.

“I’m gonna claim part of it since I’m spotting for him, I’m gonna be a 4.5-time race winner”, said Mears at an IndyCar event in February 

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