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History of the Indianapolis 500 and rain

History of the Indianapolis 500 and rain

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Race fans this year may be dodging some rain and storm chances for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500.

There is still a lot to determine with the timing of the rain, and the latest forecast is in the Storm Track 8 weather blog.

Statistically, just over 29% of Indy 500s picked up some measurable rainfall on the day as a whole. It’s also worth noting these precipitation numbers all come from Indianapolis’ official observing station, which has been in a few spots but always a couple miles from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Twenty years ago was the wettest single day of the Indy 500 with the rain total at 3.80 inches. Of course, that day was famous for a tornado passing close to the track and the race ending early. That year was one of only seven times in history the race has been shortened. The shortest race was in 1976 at only 102 laps. The last time that the rain shortened an Indy 500 was 2007.

Only three times has the Indy 500 been completely postponed: 1915, 1986 and 1997. In 1986, the Indy 500 was also rained out on Monday and would not be completed until the following Saturday. Rain caused the 1940s race to be run under caution for the last 50 laps.

Other notable years

  • Other three complete postponements: 1915, 1986, 1997
  • 1986 race was also postponed Monday and did not run until Saturday, May 31
  • In 1940, the final 50 laps were all run under caution because of rain

This year will be a waiting game to see how the race day rain chances pan out. We have been lucky the last few years with the last day of any rainfall coming in 2017.