Roger Penske will not pretend he is not disappointed he can't open the gates to spectators for his first Indianapolis 500 as steward of the iconic event. Penske purchased Indianapolis Motor Speedway in January and spent an additional $15 million on capital improvements for an enhanced fan experience. Without fans roaming the property and celebrating at downtown Indianapolis establishments, the buildup to Sunday's race has lacked the energy that elevates the Indy 500 into a world-class event.
Everything was new to Mike Tirico when he walked past the famed pagoda that dominates the front stretch at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, assumed his broadcast perch high above pit lane and proceeded to host his first Indy 500. One year after NBC assumed the rights from longtime broadcaster ABC, the network is preparing to bring one of the iconic events in sports to a potentially record-setting television audience Sunday.
Marco Andretti was 2 months old the last time his venerable racing family led the field to green at the Indianapolis 500. In this strange pandemic-plagued season, he ended a 33-year Andretti drought by winning the pole. Jeff Andretti went 0 for 3.
Marco Andretti led a Honda rout on the first day of Indianapolis 500 qualifying — a session dominated by Andretti Autosport and Honda as Team Penske was shut out of pole contention. The fastest nine advance to a Sunday shootout that determines the first three rows for the Indy 500.