The Indianapolis 500, also often called the Indy 500, is a popular automobile race that is held every year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. This event is held during Memorial Day weekend, which is always at the end of May.
The very first race was in 1911, and it was won by Ray Harroun. The Indy 500 celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2011; however, the 100th running of the race wasn’t until 2016. The race consists of 200 laps for a total of 500 miles. The only time it wasn’t 500 miles was in 1916 when it was shortened to 300.
In the early years, women were strongly discouraged from participating in the Indianapolis 500. They were essentially banned for several decades. Women reporters weren’t even allowed in the pit area until 1971.
This would all change in 1977 when a woman driver qualified, and was allowed to race for the first time. In recent years, while a woman driver hasn’t won outright yet, one did make it to a third place finish.