Indy 500 weather updates: IMS sets new start time after rain, lightning delay start of the 2024 race in Indianapolis

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Mother Nature may be throwing a wrench in the plans of F1 fanatics on Memorial Day weekend. 

The Indy 500 is scheduled to take place Sunday from The Brickyard in Indianapolis. The race is one of the most iconic in motorsports history and is undoubtedly the most prestigious on the IndyCar circuit. 

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There are plenty of racers aiming to claim a win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Josef Newgarden won the competition last year, marking the first Indy 500 win in the career of the Team Penske driver. Newgarden is again regarded as a favorite for the event, as well as his Team Penske teammate Will Power and pole-sitter Scott McLaughlin, 

Rain for the Indianapolis event is nothing new. In fact, since the creation of the race in 1911, 29% of the Indy 500 race days have had precipitation, according to Indianapolis meteorologist Ethan Rosuck

How does the forecast look for Sunday? The Sporting News is keeping track of all the latest weather updates for the Indy 500. 

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Indy 500 weather updates

(All times Eastern)

Saturday May 25

4:30 p.m. β€” The Indy 500 will evidently have a hard stop time of 8:15 p.m. ET if the race doesn’t run 500 miles by that point. That will be another wrinkle to watch during The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

3:47 p.m. β€” Here’s the full revised schedule for the Indy 500, including the start time and pre-race ceremonies:

3:20 p.m. β€” We have a tentative start time for the Indy 500. The race is set to begin at 4:44 p.m. ET. Track drying is ongoing, and IMS will provide fans with updates if anything changes.

2:43 p.m. β€” Track drying is underway at IMS, and The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck reports that IndyCar rented some Air Titans from NASCAR for the weekend to assist in drying efforts. Perhaps that will speed up their efforts to resume the race.

2:04 p.m. β€” Good news, racing fans. The gates at IMS have reopened as lightning hs cleared the area surrounding the track. Track drying will soon begin, and that may put the race on track for a 4 p.m. ET start.

1:55 p.m. β€” The race delay is ongoing, but if you happen to see some racing on NBC, just know that’s a replay of last year’s race. We’re still awaiting a start time for the 2024 Indy 500.

1:24 p.m. β€” It’s looking like the rain will be over by 2 p.m. ET. Brian Neudorff β€” who provides weather forecast analysis on X (formerly Twitter) β€” estimates the race will start some time between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET.

Soon enough, we’ll see if that estimate is accurate.

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12:52 p.m. β€” It is raining heavily in Indianapolis. Even if this storm doesn’t last long, the track at IMS will need to dry out before the race can begin. This seems likely to be a lengthy delay β€” and one that will almost certainly keep Kyle Larson from completing The Double.

12:40 p.m. β€” Lightning has officially been detected in the area near Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Spectators are being asked to exit the grandstands as the race delay continues.

11:30 a.m. β€” IMS has announced it will delay the start of the Indy 500 and its pre-race ceremonies because of the proximity of lightning to the track. Fans are being moved out of the grandstands and Snake Pit.

IMS says that “additional updates on timing will be communicated” as the weather passes.

11:05 a.m. β€” The No. 1 concern of Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Bolles is about lightning that could come with the approaching storm, per The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck.

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Bolles said at his 6:20 a.m. ET news conference that the next couple of hours would determine a lot about the race. He also detailed IMS wouldn’t wait until the storm was “eight miles out” to delay the race, as they need to give spectators time to relocate.

“This is a challenging moment for all of us, but the most important thing is for us to keep all of our customers safe,” Bolles said.

The race was originally expected to begin at 12:45 p.m. ET. IMS thought about moving up the start of the race by 30 minutes but the latest storm cell prevented the track from doing that. Now, Bolles and Co. are considering whether to delay the race and its pre-race festivities until after the first storm passes.

“We hope once we get through this rain, we have a good opportunity on the backside of this to get the racing in,” Bolles said, per Gluck.

9:40 a.m. β€” The main concern with the storms coming to Indianapolis is the severity of the conditions. Heavy winds are expected in the areas, as well as showers and thunderstorms in the morning.

The conditions are expected to worsen as the day goes on but the worst weather isn’t supposed to hit until closer to midnight on Sunday, when the race should be long over.

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“Showers and thunderstorms before 1am, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm between 1am and 2am, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2am,” per the National Weather Service.

Friday, May 24

It feels like it is inevitable that there will be rain Sunday, so it’s going to be a matter of how much precipitation falls on race day. 

The problem is the severity of the impending storms. The weather is expected to be extreme Sunday, with plenty of high winds and thunderstorms in the forecast.

It appears as though it will be worse in the evening. That does not bode well for the Indy 500 if it needs to be delayed. 

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Indy 500 weather forecast

National Weather Service

  • Chance of rain (Sunday): 80 percent
  • Chance of rain (Sunday night): 90 percent

Sunday’s forecast as of May 25 (7:30 p.m. ET): “Showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 4pm. High near 80. South southeast wind 7 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.”

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