In honor of Easter and the annual post-brunch conversation about how the date of Easter Sunday is determined*, I thought this would be a good time to talk about how the date of the Indianapolis 500 is decided.
The Indy 500 wasn't always run on Sunday (rain delays not included).
From 1911-1970 the race was always scheduled for May 30th, UNLESS it fell on a Sunday. In those cases, it was scheduled for May 31st.
In 1968, the Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a three-day weekend. After some initial confusion and unwillingness to comply, all 50 states adopted Congress' change of date within a few years and the law took effect at the federal level in 1971.
The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May.
In 1971 and 1972 the race was scheduled for the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. In 1973 it was scheduled for Monday, Memorial Day itself. Since then it has been scheduled for the day before Memorial Day.
*How the date of Easter is determined: In 325 the Council of Nicaea created a mathematical formula to standardize the celebration date. Since then, Easter Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Vernal Equinox (first full moon of Spring), unless the full moon falls on a Sunday, then Easter is celebrated the week after.
I'm counting down the days until the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
I'm not a race fan in the fanatic sense.
I've only been to the Indy 500 a handful of times. My memories center around listening to the race on the radio in the backyard while filling out the leading laps grid from the Indianapolis Star.
I do love Indianapolis, tradition, and most of all a theme! Each day I will share a memory or tidbit of history.