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For the 100th time, drivers will start engines for Indy 500

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The field includes 33 drivers
  • New rule may increase crash risks, veteran drivers say

(CNN) -- In Indianapolis, Indiana, on Sunday, on a speedway that bears the city's name, 33 drivers will crank their engines and hit their accelerators to launch the 100th running of America's best-known auto race.

The start time for the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for noon, following six hours of pre-game festivities Sunday morning. They begin with the traditional 6 a.m. explosion of a military bomb to open the track and, later, include TV actress Florence Henderson's annual rendition of "God Bless America."

For drivers, this year's race includes a new rule that could increase the risk of crashes at the iconic race, according to some. Under the new rule, Drivers will have to line up in a side-by-side alignment during restarts.

This differs from the past when cars lined up single-file for restarts. The new double-file formation and could cause crashes as the bunched up cars jockey for position, some say.

"It's going to be interesting, the new rules, the double-file restart," former Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves told reporters last week. "There's a lot of things happening that can change the dynamic of this race from the past. So it will certainly be interesting to see."

The first Indy 500 winner, Ray Harroun, claimed the checkered flag on May 30, 1911, in a car that averaged just under 75 miles per hour. Today's cars can hit speeds more than three times as fast.

CNN's Lateef Mungin contributed to this report.