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Drivers race 200 laps, counter-clockwise around the circuit, for a distance of 500 miles.

Since its inception in 1911, the race has always been scheduled on or around Memorial Day.

The crowds grew progressively smaller for the rest of the season, however, so the track owners chose to focus on a single race.

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In the event of a rain delay, the race will be postponed until rain showers cease, and the track is sufficiently dried.

If rain falls during the race, officials can end the race and declare the results official if more than half of the scheduled distance (i.e., 101 laps) has been completed.

The total purse exceeded $13 million in 2011, with over $2.5 million awarded to the winner, making it one of the richest cash prize funds in sports.

Similar to NASCAR's Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 is typically held early in the Indy Car Series season.

The most noteworthy and most popular traditions are the 33-car field, the annual singing of "Back Home Again in Indiana," and the victory lane bottle of milk.

The Indianapolis 500 is held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5-mile oval circuit.Traditionally, the field consists of 33 starters, aligned in a starting grid of eleven rows of three cars apiece.The event is contested by "Indy cars", a formula of professional-level, single-seat, open cockpit, open-wheel, purpose-built race cars.Firestone, which has a deep history in the sport, dating back to the first 500, is the exclusive tire provider.The race is the most prestigious event of the Indy Car calendar, and one of the oldest and most important automobile races.The Indianapolis 500 is an automobile race held annually at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, an enclave suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana.

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