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The IndyCar Series is the racing organization responsible for the Indianapolis 500—an iconic event in car history that traditionally takes place at the end of May.
It attracts an average of 300,000-350,000 spectators, according to The Indianapolis Star, and that's just at the track. Many more tune in to this thrilling race on television. In fact, NBC Sports Press Box noted that more than 5.5 million watched the 105th Indy 500 in 2021.
In addition to the main attraction, IndyCar hosts several other exciting car events, one of which is called Legends Day. Here's the rundown of past events and a preview of what’s expected for 2022.
The Indy 500's Legends Day is a celebration of racing excellence
According to IndyCar, the event is held to honor all those who have won the Indy 500, thereby earning a place in racing history. Legends Day usually takes place the day before the annual Indy 500 race begins.
As of 2016, 28 out of the 69 Indy 500 winners were still living, with a few expected to appear for that year’s celebration, including Danny Sullivan, A.J. Foyt, Arie Luyendyk, and three members of the legendary Unser clan.
What better way to end a day of celebration than with some good tunes under the Spring skies? The very first Legends Day presented by Firestone concert took place in 2014. In 2016, country superstar Blake Shelton performed, and in 2019, Zac Brown Band headlined the event.
A few of the Indy 500's Legends Day festivities
At Legends Day, attendees can gather for a chance to meet their favorite drivers and get some autographs.
There is also usually an Indy 500 memorabilia show if you fancy taking a trip down memory lane, as well as a public drivers’ meeting, and plenty more activities to enthrall racing enthusiasts.
In 2016, during the weeks before Legends Day, fans were able to vote for their all-time favorite Indy 500 drivers in a “Champions of the 500 Bracket” event. The racer who advanced furthest through the voting rounds to win received the title of “Fan-Voted Legend.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festivities for Legends Day 2020 had to be scaled back.
Country artists Luke Bryan and Morgan Wallen were originally slated to perform live, but the concert was ultimately canceled and the Indy 500 was rescheduled for August, according to the official website for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).
However, virtual Legends Day events enabled fans to experience the thrill of the racing weekend entertainment from home, according to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With an at-home IMS Museum tour, History Happy Hour, and a virtual concert featuring previous Legends Day performances, among other attractions, this edition of Legends Day was certainly one for the books.
There was even a virtual 500 Festival Parade! Viewers could craft their own floats, with the winners being showcased.
Did the event go ahead in 2021 and what is expected for 2022?
The 2021 Indy 500 was able to go ahead as usual in May with a reduced capacity of 135,000, according to The Indianapolis Star.
However, Indianapolis Motor Speedway noted that the Legends Day concert and a variety of other Indy 500 entertainment events were unfortunately canceled, but the IMS Museum was still open to visitors.
According to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Legends Day 2022 is scheduled for Saturday, May 28, ahead of the big race on Sunday.
At the moment, the full-field autograph session and public drivers’ meeting are scheduled to happen, but the IMS notes that the finalized schedule of events can be expected closer to the time. Hopefully, Legends Day will return to its full glory in 2022.
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