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How IndyCar will react if the 2024 Indy 500 is affected by rain

Heavy rain is forecast for the 2024 Indianapolis 500 - but what happens to the race if it does?

Wet Indy pagoda
To news overview © IndyCar media// Karl Zemlin

Formula 1, rain and the Indianapolis 500 first mixed during the 1950 running of the race, just the third-event ever in the new 'World Drivers' Championship.'

The Indy 500 was only on the calendar to put the 'world' in the world championship, as Johnnie Parsons won the race after a cloud burst ended proceedings on lap 138 of 200. 

And should rain fall during the 2024 race at the Brickyard, exactly the same thing will happen: the race will not be run until it stops and the track is dry. 

For the race to be official 101 laps must be completed, with any postponement to the race, either a full or partial one, being made up the following day, meaning if the weather conditions require the 500 to be completed on Monday, this will be the case.

Postponements and delays

Only three times in the history of the 500, first run in 1911, have there been outright postponements due to rain. 

According to the IMS website, the first came in 1915, when the race was run on the Monday from its original Saturday slot owing to recent rains. 

In 1986, the 500 was actually delayed by nearly an entire week to Saturday 31st May after heavy rain in Speedway, forcing the original Sunday May 25th day to be washed out. 

The last outright postponement came in 1997, with the race not running on Sunday, as 15 laps were held on the Monday before the remaining 185 on Tuesday as Arie Luyendyk took the win.

Partial postponements also took place in 1967 and 1973.

As the table below shows, there have been seven rain-shortened races in the history of the 500, including a run of three in four years in the 1970s - featuring the shortest-ever race.

Article continues below!

Rain shortened Indy 500 races

Year Laps completed Miles Winner
1926 160 400 Frank Lockhart
1950 138 345 Johnnie Parsons
1973 133 332.5 Gordon Johncock
1975 174 435 Bobby Unser
1976 102 255 Johnny Rutherford
2004 180 450 Buddy Rice
2007 166 415 Dario Franchitti

What happens to Kyle Larson?

If it does rain at IMS and the race is postponed beforehand, Kyle Larson will be able to leave IMS, head to North Carolina and race in the NASCAR Coke 600 - his day job.

If he takes to the start of the race at Indy, is then pulled during it, his car will be considered 'parked' and withdrawn. 

A full explainer of the dilemma facing Larson and his McLaren crew is available below. 

READ MORE: Why Larson is at risk of being pulled from the Indy 500

RacingNews365 will be providing live blog coverage, a full report, immediate results and the reaction to the Indianapolis 500 as well as our comprehensive Monaco Grand Prix coverage on Sunday 26th May.

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