Practice opens Saturday for 97th Indy 500 Opening Day for the 97th Indianapolis 500 on Saturday, May 11 will feature the stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series on the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, while the infield showcases a magnificent display of classic/vintage and alternative-energy vehicles at the third annual IMS Celebration of Automobiles.
Public gates open at 10 a.m. Admission is $10 for adults, with fans 12 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder.
Featured drivers for the 97th Indianapolis 500 include three-time winners Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti, who will look to join the exclusive company of A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time winners of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Others to watch include reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and first-time IZOD IndyCar Series winners this season James Hinchcliffe, who won at St. Petersburg and Sao Paulo, and current points leader and Streets of Long Beach winner Takuma Sato.
Talented rookie drivers looking to qualify for this year's race include the winner of the 2010 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and second-generation Indianapolis 500 driver Conor Daly of nearby Noblesville, Ind. Four-time Champ Car race winner and NASCAR standout AJ Allmendinger will look to drive in his first Indianapolis 500 along with reigning Firestone Indy Lights champion Tristian Vautier and Carlos Munoz, who leads the championship after winning two of the first three Firestone Indy Lights races this season.
Opening Day also will feature nearly 200 magnificent and rare cars from 1910-70 that will be showcased during the 2013 Celebration of Automobiles that continues to pay tribute to the rich heritage of automotive development at the track for more than 100 years.
European marques and Brass Era cars will be featured, with new additions to the show including classes for open-wheel race cars from 1910-70, Indy 500 pace cars and unrestored cars.
A wide variety of manufacturers will be represented during the Celebration of Automobiles including Chevrolet, Duesenberg, Packard, Bentley, Knox, Cord, DeSoto, Rolls Royce, Alfa Romeo, Excalibur and Sunbeam among many others.
All the cars entered in Celebration of Automobiles competition will be reviewed by a panel of judges, including classic/vintage car experts, past Indianapolis 500 winners and other auto racing legends. 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1978 Formula One World Champion Mario Andretti will serve as the honorary head judge for the Celebration of Automobiles.
Winners for each class will be announced during the Celebration of Automobiles Awards Dinner that evening at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Andretti will share entertaining stories and anecdotes with IMS Historian Donald Davidson during an entertaining panel discussion.
Another exciting aspect of the 2013 Celebration of Automobiles is the Purdue Collegiate evGrand Prix featuring many teams of students from colleges and universities across the United States. Those teams will race each other in electric-powered karts on a course near the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.
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