British driver Mike Conway and Brazilian driver Mike Moraes speed past spectators in the 2010 Indianapolis 500. Scottish driver Dario Franchitti won the race.

Photograph by The 359, courtesy Wikimedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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    On May 30, 1911, the Indianapolis 500 car race was first held in Indianapolis, Indiana. The “Indy 500” is nicknamed the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” and remains one of the most important motorsports competitions in the world.
     
    The Indy 500 was originally a showcase for carmakers. Today, so-called “Indy Cars” are very different from cars available for purchase! Indy Cars are single-seat, open-wheel cars. “Open-wheel” means the wheels are situated outside the cars’ main body, parallel to the low-lying car itself. Indy Cars also have open cockpits—the drivers’ head and shoulders are outside the torpedo-shaped car.
     
    Indy Cars are some of the fastest automobiles in the world. Ray Harroun won the first Indy 500 with an average speed of 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour). In 2013, Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan averaged a speed of 302 kilometers per hour (187 miles per hour).
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    announce Verb

    to proclaim or make known publicly.

    automobile Noun

    self-propelled vehicle that can be controlled by a driver.

    cockpit Noun

    space in the front of an airplane or other high-tech vehicle, containing the flight controls, instrument panel, and seats for the pilot and copilot.

    compete Verb

    to work against someone or something else for an award or acknowledgment.

    Indy Car Noun

    type of high-tech, single-seat, open-wheel racing car used in the Indianapolis 500 and other American Championship racing events.

    motorsports Plural Noun

    competitions and races featuring motorized vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, and boats.

    open-wheel car Noun

    type of racing car with the wheels situated outside the main body of the car.

    parallel Adjective

    equal distance apart, and never meeting.

    purchase Verb

    to buy.

    situate Verb

    to place or arrange.

    spectacle Noun

    impressive or extravagant display.

    torpedo Noun

    elongated, cigar-shaped projectile, often filled with an explosive material.

    tradition Noun

    beliefs, customs, and cultural characteristics handed down from one generation to the next.