Weather can be a game changer on race day

Posted at 4:32 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 20:04:56-04

Leading up to the 105th running of the Indy 500, teams sift through every detail to give their car and driver the best chance at victory on race day. But there's one element they can't control in the month of May…the weather!


Temperatures can run from cool to downright hot on race day, which can impact the car's performance. We don't have to go too far back for one of the hottest race days on record. Drivers and race fans were sweating it out in 2018 when the temperature reached a scorching 91 degrees. That’s just one degree shy of the all-time race day record of 92 set in 1937.

Several times throughout the history of the Indy 500, drivers have raced not only each other, but also Mother Nature. The Indy 500 has been postponed three times due to rain. It wasn't technically a washout, but 2004 tops the list when it comes to the wettest race day on record. Nearly four inches of rain fell that day. Severe weather was also a threat. Five tornadoes touched down in the Indy area that day. After two rain delays, the race was called at the 450 mile mark with Buddy Rice taking the soggy victory.

The Indy 500 has been shortened by rain just seven times. The shortest race was in 1976. That’s when just 102 laps were completed, before rain forced an early end to the race.