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Weather can have a big impact on the Indy 500

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Posted at 4:13 PM, May 25, 2023

The month of May comes with a wide range of weather in Indiana. We all know it can get pretty hot and humid, but there have also been some occasions of wintry weather. We've actually measured snow four times in May! That kind of variety on the weather menu can make for a wide range of outcomes on Race Day.

Just five years ago, we had a hot and humid Indy 500. The thermometer hit 91° for the 102nd running of the race in 2018. That’s not quite the hottest Indy 500 on record. That honor goes to the 1937 race. Wilbur Shaw won the Indy 500 that year, and the high temperature reached 92°. The coolest Indy 500 goes to 1992. That’s when the thermometer failed to reach 60°. It might have been cool for the fans, but there were no weather complaints from winner Al Unser Jr.

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Rain can be the biggest threat to going fast at IMS. 2004 came with lots of rain on race day. Buddy Rice battled the elements to win the Indy 500, which was called after 180 of 200 laps were completed. That’s pretty impressive given nearly 4” of rain fell that day. Rain has shortened the race on just six other occasions. We have to go back to 2007, 16 years ago, since rain last impacted the length of the race.

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The forecast is looking good for events at IMS this weekend. Rain chances should stay off to our SE with temperatures not straying too far from average. Highs in the mid 70s for Carb Day will reach upper 70s to around 80° for the 107th running of the Indy 500.

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