Indycar’s BRILLIANT Qualifying format explained

Let’s Talk Tradition

While there are plenty of races that have lasted decades, no event has held onto its lineage of tradition quite like the Indy 500. It’s inevitable that you’re going to ask why winning drivers drink milk, or why they kiss the “yard of bricks.” You’ll hear references to curses, superstitions, and odd places like “Gasoline Alley.”

If you want to know more, we’ve got you covered here on Jalopnik: last year, we explained 20 of the oddest traditions that you’ll see at the Indy 500. As a first-timer, it might seem silly, but I promise the pageantry will grow on you!

What’s the Prize for Winning the Indy 500?

Winning the Indy 500 is a hugely desirable feat for all racers for multiple reasons, but one of the big ones is the prize purse. In 2022, the total purse for everyone who entered the event was over $16 million, and winner Marcus Ericsson took home $3 million of that. On average, every driver to start the race took home just under $500,000. That kind of money can be life changing for anyone, especially for many of the drivers who compete on a budget.

That being said, the real prize for winning the 500 is the prestige. The winning driver will join over 100 years of history and some of the greatest drivers in the world by taking first place. Drivers will have a relief of their face added to the Borg-Warner, the name for the massive trophy that celebrates the race, as a way to preserve their place in motorsport history.

How Can I Watch the Indy 500?

If you’re in the United States, you can watch the Indy 500 on NBC or Peacock. Coverage begins at 9 a.m. ET, but the race won’t start until 11 a.m. ET. If you’re an F1 fan, that means there’s plenty of time to enjoy the Monaco Grand Prix before you dive in!

If you live outside of the U.S., you can explore your viewing options on IndyCar’s website.

Where Can I Learn More About the Indianapolis 500?

We only scratched the surface of the Indy 500's long history here, but we’ve compiled some great resources if you’d like to learn more: