(NewsNation) — Anticipation is building at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 107th running of the Indy 500, arguably the greatest spectacle in racing.
With an estimated 300,000 racing fans expected to fill the stands on Sunday, officials are predicting that this year’s crowd could be one of the largest in the past 25 years.
The atmosphere is electric as the fans, dressed in black and white, join together to celebrate Memorial Day weekend with patriotism, iconic traditions, and the thrill of witnessing cars that are faster than ever, reaching average speeds of 232 miles per hour.
But it’s not just the speeds that are making history. This year’s race features remarkable drivers who are pushing boundaries and breaking barriers.
One such driver is Katherine Legge, the only female driver in the race, who has already made her mark by setting the fastest qualifying time for a woman in any Indy 500.
Legge’s achievement has inspired countless young girls and women, as she shares the message that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.
“You get little girls come up to you and you get their moms saying ‘now they believe they can do anything’ and that I’m racing for all the women out there,” Legge said. “So that’s pressure, but it’s also really really cool.”
Fan will also be watching Helio Castroneves as he attempts to secure an unprecedented fifth victory at the Indy 500.
Another driver drawing attention is Tony Kanaan, who will be competing in his final Indy 500 before retiring.
“What can I tell them,” Kanaan said to his fans. “Thank you for being here, thank you for the support you’ve given me, and believe me, you guys are the only reason why I’m still around.”
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, mechanics like Steve Malich have been meticulously fine-tuning their team’s cars in Gasoline Alley.
Malich, filled with anticipation, acknowledges the nervous excitement that comes with the race, emphasizing the importance of every detail being in perfect order.
“I say a little prayer, cross myself and just sure, I was like, please don’t like, let anything go bad,” Malich told NewsNation. “Honestly.”
As the drivers and teams prepare for the race, the competition is intense, with every millisecond counting. In fact, the gap between the first and second driver in line tomorrow is a mere 4 one-thousandths of a second, the closest gap in Indy 500 history.