2024 Indy 500 Recap: Rain, Rain Go Away


2024 indy 500 recap rain rain go away

I woke up Sunday pretty fired up for a day full of racing. Unfortunately for just about everyone involved in racing, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. Still, the 2024 Indianapolis 500 was raced in its entirety, albeit after a four-hour delay.

The rain delay affected pretty much everything. Kyle Larson couldn’t do the planned Indy/Coca-Cola 600 double because of the rain delay. Officials put a stop time of 8:15 Eastern on the race — and it finished around 7:45 Eastern. The broadcast speculated that two Honda engine failures may have been caused by changes in the ambient conditions, and it also seemed like the racing was affected — certainly all the rubber marbles from tire wear were washed away by the rain.

It was a bit chaotic early — drivers were pretty aggressive and that led to incidents on the track. There was a crash on the first lap! Factor in the usual pit-road chaos and there was a lot going on.

Astute observers will note that there were no cautions over the final 46 laps. I don’t know if the drivers had settled down and realized that being too aggressive too early could lead to a premature exit, or if race control suggested that avoiding cautions was the best way to make sure the race finished before the sun went down.

Or, perhaps, it was about fuel. The drivers using the primary fuel strategy were running a bit slow right before the final caution — Scott Dixon, using an alternate strategy, was about to take advantage.

When the race restarted, however, just about everyone had enough fuel to run hard until the end. And as often happens in these long races, in both IndyCar and NASCAR at least, the final 20-ish laps became a shootout.

Pato O’Ward appeared poised to win, but he may have made his move too early. Josef Newgarden passed him back and held him off. Heartbreak for O’Ward, and celebration for back-to-back winner Newgarden — in his elation, he dove into the crowd, helmet and firesuit still on.

Indy gave us drama that was missing from Monaco and snatched away from NASCAR. I can’t bag too hard on NASCAR — had the weather cooperated we’d have had the drama of Larson trying to complete the double combined with all the usual craziness that ensues in a 600-mile race.

Speaking of Larson, he acquitted himself well at Indy, at least until a pit-lane speeding violation more or less ruined his chances at winning. Still, he led a few laps and finished the race. He came in 18th.

This recap is a bit scattershot because the rain threw everything off. I had plans that were slightly altered by my desire to watch Indy — and my viewing of Charlotte was skunked by both the weather in North Carolina and here in Northern Illinois (check out our next podcast info for more). I watched just about every minute of the 500, but there was so much to take in that I am struggling to remember details beyond the big stories. The race was just two days ago.

I’d have preferred it if the race started on time — just about all of us would’ve. But while Monaco turned into a high-speed parade for rich people, and NASCAR had to call it early, Indy made the wait worth it.

This is why I give a huge chunk of a holiday weekend over to racing each weekend. Especially to Indy. Monaco is fun to watch for the locale, and NASCAR often gives us a good nightcap. But it’s what happens at the old speedway in suburban Indianapolis that, most years anyway, that makes racing worth watching.

[Image: IndyCar]

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