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Indy500: How to watch ‘the biggest sporting event in the world’ where Katherine Legge will be the only woman on the start line


By Thomas Schlachter and Don Riddell, CNN

(CNN) — It’s time to fasten your seatbelts.

After two weeks of testing, practice and qualifying, the drivers are now ready to start their engines and step on the gas ahead of the 2023 Indy 500.

The race has become a must-watch on the sporting calendar, known for its incredibly high speeds and daring maneuvers. This year’s race will be no different as 33 IndyCar drivers all look to write their name in racing history with victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”.

“It is the biggest sporting event in the world, right?” British driver Katherine Legge told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell. “With regards to attendance, it has a life of its own.”

This year, there could be in excess of 300,000 people in attendance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, all contributing to the electric atmosphere.

“As you drive in under the tunnel, you get goosebumps, the whole place just has this feeling about it, this personality that it takes on and when it’s full of fans, it’s just the most incredible feeling like it has a pulse almost.

“I know that there are a lot of big races and I take a part in a lot of big races like Daytona and it has a similar feeling, but this is honestly the most incredible special race,” adds Legge.

How to watch

Held on Sunday May 28, the Indy 500 is broadcast live from 9:00 a.m. ET on Peacock. It will then be shown on NBC at 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. ET.

For countries without traditional IndyCar broadcasting contracts, the race organizers have launched IndyCar Live! – a subscription streaming service.

A full list of countries in which the streaming service can be accessed is here, while a list of international broadcasters can be found here.

One place where TV coverage will not be available is in the race’s hometown of Indianapolis.

Unless the 240,000 reserved grandstand seats sell out, there is a television blackout to encourage residents to buy tickets instead of watching the race at home.

What happened last year?

Marcus Ericsson of Honda survived a late challenge to win the 2022 Indy 500 and earned the rights to the coveted Borg-Warner Trophy and to celebrate on the podium with the traditional bottle of milk.

Ericsson was ahead by three seconds with five laps to go and flying to a win when Jimmie Johnson crashed into the wall, causing a red flag that temporarily stopped the race and set up a final sprint to the finish.

On the restart, Ericsson fought off an encroaching Pato O’Ward to win the race for the first time in his career.

‘If you see it, you can be it’

The 2023 edition of Indy 500 will be Legge’s third time competing in the famous race, having previously been on the track in 2012 and 2013.

The 42-year-old had an enjoyable start to her third time in Indianapolis for the race, becoming the fastest woman ever to go round the track during qualifying for the big day. Legge called the achievement “awesome.”

The driver set an incredible average speed of 231.07 miles per hour when racing for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team.

“What’s really awesome is that in the 10 years since I’ve raced here before, I’ve noticed that there’s so many more women fans here and there’s so many more women in the paddock and, like, it was mostly men, I would say 10 years ago, and now I think it’s close to 50-50,” the Surrey native continued.

Legge is often the only woman racer amongst a male-dominated field – just like this year – and has become a trailblazer for generations to come. But this was never something the veteran racer was expecting.

“When you set out racing, you don’t set out to be a trailblazer or a role model or any of those things, right?

“You are focused on Katherine and being the best race car driver that I can be. You’re very selfish and you just work your way through and then at some point comes the realization that you are a role model and with that comes responsibility.”

Although it was never foreseen, Legge is proud to embrace her role, not just in racing, but in inspiring young girls to do anything they want.

“While I don’t set out to do that, I do appreciate that that’s what happens,” Legge explains. “A lot of young girls look up to me and I think more importantly, they look up to me because then they believe that they can be anything they want to be, right?

“When you’re a kid, you want to be a fighter pilot or a fireman or a race car driver or something like that and so traditionally, they’re very male dominated and if you see it, you can be it.”

This year, nominative determinism’s Adam Driver has been named the honorary starter to kick things off on Sunday.

The starter used to say “gentlemen, start your engines,” but now they exclaim “drivers start your engines.” Legge also remembers a time when women weren’t even allowed in the pit lane.

“We’ve come a long way since then,” Legge said. “At the end of the day, there’s been nine women – I’m one of the nine – that have competed in the Indy 500, nine in 107 years.”

Despite Legge’s knowhow, racing at such a prestigious event is still a daunting experience. During qualifying, the British racer thought she was feeling fine but suddenly nerves started to creep in.

“This year I’m older and I’m more mature and I’m more likely to be able to handle taking it all in when they sing ‘Back Home Again, Indiana,’ and the flyover and everything’s going on.

“I’m like: ‘I’m gonna really enjoy it this year. I’m gonna make my memories instead of blacking it all out,’ and then yesterday happened, I’m like: ‘Maybe I won’t, I still have to put my blinkers back on.’”

Legge is still unsure of what to expect on Sunday, but her experience and years of racing could prove vital if she is to win the race and the coveted bottle of milk.

“I am vegan,” Legge explains. “I would like to be drinking vegan milk, but we are sponsored by the Dairy Association. So I think I chose full fat and I’m just gonna pour it over me. I’m gonna have a milk bath if I win.”

In Monday’s practice, Legge was involved in the first crash of the month. The RLL driver smashed into the back of fellow British driver Stefan Wilson as the field slowed down.

As a result of the crash, Wilson has since been forced to withdraw from the big race with a fracture of the 12th thoracic vertebrae.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Issy Ronald and Eric Levenson contributed to reporting.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Sports

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