Select Text Level:

On May 30, 1911, the Indianapolis 500 car race was first held in Indianapolis, Indiana. This 500-mile car race is nicknamed the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
 
Drivers from all over the world compete in the “Indy 500.” Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan drove the fastest—302 kilometers per hour (187 miles per hour). Dutch driver Arie Luyendyk drove the fastest individual lap, at 382 kilometers per hour (237 miles per hour)! Americans A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears have won the race the most times, with four victories each. British driver Graham Hill is the only person to have won the “Triple Crown of Motor Racing”—the Indy 500, the Monaco Grand Prix (held in the tiny Mediterranean country of Monaco), and 24 Hours of Le Mans (held in the town of Le Mans, France).
 
The Indy 500 has many traditions. It always takes place on Memorial Day weekend. The race always starts with the words “Gentlemen, start your engines!” (If the race includes female drivers, the announcement is “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!”) Most famously, the winner of the Indy 500 always drinks a bottle of milk right after the race—or he pours the milk right on his head!
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.