The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Monday that this year's Indianapolis 500 will take the green flag at noon ET on Sunday, May 29, 2011. The start time for the 500 has been 1 p.m. since 2006.
"With less than 100 days until the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, we are excited to finalize our start time so our fans can begin to make plans to celebrate with us at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said IMS president and CEO Jeff Belskus. "Starting the race at noon gives us an additional hour of daylight to ensure we can complete all 500 miles of the race in case we were to encounter any kind of inclement weather. Noon also has the green flag waving in a time slot that is better for our West Coast viewers.
"Our fans also have told us they like an earlier starting time, and it's very important for us to stay responsive to their vital feedback."
The inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911 started at 10 a.m. after race organizers determined that start time would allow the race to be completed by dinner time. That stood as the official starting time for the event through 1941. After a four-year hiatus due to World War II, the race resumed in 1946 with an 11 a.m. start, a time that remained unchanged for 59 consecutive races through 2004.
The start time moved to noon in 2005 and again to 1 p.m. in 2006.