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Indy 500: Schedule and how to watch IndyCar’s biggest race in 2024

The Indianapolis 500 is finally here and will host round five of the 2024 IndyCar Series, so this is how and when you can watch all of the action.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad

The world-famous Indy 500 is billed as ‘the greatest spectacle in racing’ with its banked oval, historic traditions and wheel-to-wheel battles capturing the attention of fans across the globe. 

It dates to 1911 when Ray Harroun won by just 1.43 seconds at the brickyard, yet that is not even the closest finish in the event’s history, as Al Unser Jr claimed victory by 0.043s in 1992. 

Unser Jr then celebrated his victory by drinking milk in the winners circle, which is one of many traditions held by the Indy 500 – a race that forms part of the elusive motorsport triple crown.

Fast-forward to the present day and Josef Newgarden is the defending champion after overtaking Marcus Ericsson during a controversial one-lap shootout to the end following a late red flag in 2023. 

However, Newgarden heads into the 108th running of the race in poor form – and under the cloud of an illegality scandal – as the Team Penske driver is 17th in the championship, with just one points finish this year after being disqualified from the season opener in St. Petersburg.

Instead, Newgarden’s team-mate Will Power is currently Penske’s leading driver as he sits second in the standings after three podiums in 2024.  

It is reigning champion Alex Palou who currently leads the way, as his victory at the recent Indy Grand Prix put him 12 points clear at the top. Yet the Indy 500 does not always bode well for the favourite or the most in-form driver, because it is a round like no other.

One of the main storylines going into the 2024 edition is the presence of Kyle Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, who is making his IndyCar debut in a fourth Arrow McLaren entry. He will ‘do the double’ by flying from Indy to Charlotte for that evening’s 600-mile NASCAR Cup race on Memorial Day.

Too many twists and turns occur throughout meaning it’s never quite obvious until the final lap who will win the race. And considering eight past winners have entered this year’s Indy 500, that shows how difficult it is to win the race twice – will there be another first-time victor? 

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Brett Farmer / Motorsport Images

When is the 2024 Indy 500?

  • Date: Sunday 26 May
  • Start time: 12:45pm ET

*All times in ET

The Indy 500 starts at 12:45pm ET at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday 26 May.

Before then, a lot of preparation goes into the prestigious race as the first session for this year’s Indy 500 is on Tuesday 14 May.

After first practice is another eight practice sessions over the following 10 days including qualifying, which is a week before the race on Sunday 19 May at 3pm ET.

Track schedule for the 2024 Indy 500

Date

Session

Session time

Tuesday 14 May

Practice 1

9-11am ET

Tuesday 14 May

Practice 2

1-6pm ET

Wednesday 15 May

Practice 3

12-6pm ET

Thursday 16 May

Practice 4

12-6pm ET

Friday 17 May

Practice 5

12-6pm ET

Friday 17 May

Qualifying draw

6:15-7pm ET

Saturday 18 May

Practice 6

8:30-9:30am ET

Saturday 18 May

Full-field Qualifying

11am-5:50pm ET

Sunday 19 May

Practice 7

12-2pm ET

Sunday 19 May

Top 12, Last Chance and Fast Six Qualifying 

3-6pm ET

Monday 20 May

Practice 8

1-3pm ET

Friday 24 May

Final Practice on Carb Day

11am-1pm ET

Sunday 26 May

Indy 500

12:45pm ET

Carb Day fans

Carb Day fans

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

What is the Month of May for the Indy 500?

The Indy 500 consists of many traditions – whether it is the winner receiving the Borg-Warner Trophy, the race happening on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, or the singing of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’. But the Month of May is another tradition of the Indy 500.

The Month of May is a tradition which dates to that first race in 1911 and refers to the weeks leading up to the Indy 500 when practice, qualifying and other events like the Indy GP – held since 2014 – take place.

Preparation for the Indy 500 starts early because it is such a big event, so teams need as much track time as possible - especially when there are several one-off entries. 

Qualifying is another reason behind the event holding nine practice sessions instead of two like a typical IndyCar race weekend. That’s because qualifying for the Indy 500 is split across two days where cars use a completely different setup for it than they do in the race. 

It begins with full-field qualifying, where each car is given a four-lap run to set an average speed and determine spots 13 to 30 on the starting grid. This means the pole shootout happens on day two of qualifying, as well as the battle to determine the bottom three positions which occupy the final row. 

Day two starts with Top 12 qualifying where the six quickest drivers progress to the Fast Six Shootout for pole. In between both sessions, the four Last Chance Qualifiers will compete for positions 31 to 33 meaning one driver will not qualify for the race. 

As a lot goes into qualifying, teams will focus on its setup for it in the practice sessions leading up to that weekend before switching to practicing race trim the following week ahead of the Indy 500. 

2023 front row: Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda; Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet; Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

2023 front row: Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda; Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet; Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Brett Farmer / Motorsport Images

How can I watch the 2024 Indy 500?

The Indy 500 is available via NBC, which has been the event’s official broadcast home since 2019. It will begin its coverage at 11am, leaving 1h45m of build-up to the much-anticipated race.

NBC will also broadcast day two of qualifying while Peacock, its official live streaming platform, will air the rest of the Indy 500 sessions and is available from $5.99 per month.  

TV schedule for the 2024 Indy 500

Date

Session

Network

Coverage from

Tuesday 14 May

Practice 1

Peacock

9:15am ET

Tuesday 14 May

Practice 2

Peacock

1pm ET

Wednesday 15 May

Practice 3

Peacock

12pm ET

Thursday 16 May

Practice 4

Peacock

12pm ET

Friday 17 May

Practice 5

Peacock

12pm ET

Saturday 18 May

Practice 6

Peacock

8:30am ET

Saturday 18 May

Full field Qualifying

Peacock

11am ET

Sunday 19 May

Practice 7

Peacock

12pm ET

Sunday 19 May

Top 12, Last Chance and Fast Six Qualifying 

NBC, Peacock

3pm ET

Monday 20 May

Practice 8

Peacock

1pm ET

Friday 24 May

Final Practice on Carb Day

Peacock

11am ET

Sunday 26 May

Indy 500

NBC, Peacock, Universo

11am ET (12:45pm lights out)

Monday 27 May

Indy 500 victory celebration

Peacock

8:30pm ET

Non-American viewers can watch the Indy 500 via their local sports broadcasting channel – for example, Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Viaplay in Scandinavia or Ziggo in the Netherlands – however those networks will run NBC’s coverage. 

Where can I watch highlights for the 2024 Indy 500?

Last year the Motorsports on NBC YouTube channel uploaded a 25-minute highlights package soon after the Indy 500 had finished, as well as publishing shorter videos for behind-the-scenes celebrations and individual moments from the race. The channel also uploaded highlights of all the preceding sessions from practice one to qualifying to Carb Day.

A similar format was used by the official IndyCar YouTube channel, so follow the various platforms for NBC and the championship to watch highlights as soon as they drop. 

Alex Palou leads the 2023 field at the start

Alex Palou leads the 2023 field at the start

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

What type of track is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway uses its oval track for the Indy 500, which is a 2.5-mile layout with four corners that have a 9.2-degree banking. Although it consists almost entirely of asphalt, the start-finish line is still made up of a yard of bricks, as that was the track’s original surface back in 1909 - hence the venue’s nickname.

Drivers will tackle 500 miles of the famous speedway, which equates to 200 laps and it approximately takes three hours to complete. 

The oval circuit is just one of six layouts that have been used throughout the years across different championships. This includes the road course for the Indy GP, which is a 2.439-mile layout using much of the venue’s infield to consist of 14 corners featuring small parts of the oval – Formula 1 used a similar version when it last visited in 2007. 

2024 Indy 500 entry list 

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