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For more than a century, the cultural epicenter of American speed has been the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And each Memorial Day Sunday, a tradition that has bound generations of racers is renewed with a race that has become one of the greatest in the entire world.

This year marks the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, an event that has defined and advanced what is possible for cars and drivers. From Ray Harroun in 1911 to names like Foyt, Andretti, Unser, Rahal, Mears and many more, to cross the yard of bricks first and savor the sweet taste of Indiana milk in Victory Lane is to claim one of motorsports' most cherished prizes. And to have one's face chiseled on the Borg-Warner Trophy -- like Josef Newgarden did last year after prevailing in a thrilling battle with Marcus Ericsson -- is to achieve immortality among racers and live forever in the annals of this great race's history.

This Sunday was supposed to mark a significant new chapter in the history of this race, as NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson was set to become the fifth driver to ever race in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on the same day. However, the weather has not cooperated. Severe rain and lightning storms hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway early Sunday afternoon, putting the race in a rain delay as officials wait for the storms to clear and for track drying to begin.

The green flag is now expected to wave at 4:44 p.m. ET. 

Speaking to NBC Sports on Sunday morning, Larson expressed that he would like to prioritize the Indianapolis 500, which he is running for the first time in a collaboration between Arrow McLaren and Hendrick Motorsports. Larson qualified fifth for the Indy 500 and 10th for the Coke 600, but Larson's Cup team has Justin Allgaier serving on standby as a reserve driver in the event that Larson cannot get to Charlotte in time for the start of the 600.

Larson stayed true to his word, as he announced Thursday afternoon he will remain in the Indy 500 field and will likely miss the start of the 600. 

"There's just been so much time and investment into this, to make this Indy 500 happen," Larson said. "It's been a buildup for over a year. We need to run it, and I want to -- I feel like I've got a really good shot to have a good run and potentially win. I want to be here, but I just wish it would all work out and we could get both races in the full distance. I don't care if it's on the same day -- I just want to be able to race both races the full distance. But we'll see."

Earlier this week, NASCAR officials had stated that they would -- within reason -- try and accomodate Larson's travel from Indianapolis to Charlotte. The sanctioning body took such a step one week ago, moving up the start of the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro by about 15 minutes while Larson made his way over following Indy 500 qualifying.

"We're gonna work closely with the folks at Speedway Motorsports, our TV broadcast partners, the folks at (Hendrick Motorsports) and do everything we can to make sure Kyle can get there -- within reason," NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer told SiriusXM. "We've got some minute-by-minute (schedules), when we do our command and when the green flag (is), but we're gonna work closely together to make sure that our fans get to see one of the best drivers ever in our sport to be able to participate in our Coke 600 Sunday night."

Rain continues to move through Indianapolis as of nearly 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. local time). Scott McLaughlin is on the pole, leading an all-Team Penske front row.

How to watch the Indianapolis 500

Date: Sunday, May 26
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- Speedway, Ind.
Time: TBD
Stream: fubo (try for free)

Race preview

The star attraction of this year's Month of May has been the entry of one of the biggest stars in all of American motorsports into the field. 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson will make his first start in the Indianapolis 500 as he looks to become the fifth driver in history to race in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Larson is no stranger to open wheel cars from his many years of racing sprint cars, and he has taken to IndyCars immediately.

Larson blew everyone away in qualifying, challenging for the pole in the Fast Six before earning the fifth starting spot at a speed of 232.846 MPH. His prospects of racing in the 500, however, has wound up bein challenged by weather due to Sunday's delay.

Larson will start just behind an all-Team Penske front row, featuring polesitter Scott McLaughlin, 2018 Indy 500 champion Will Power, and defending Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden. Penske has long been one of IndyCar's greatest powers, but their integrity has been challenged by a major overarching storyline that has defined the IndyCar season so far.

After the opening race of the season at St. Petersburg, the Penske cars were found to have used a version of IndyCar's push-to-pass system -- which gives each car a brief burst of extra horsepower -- that allowed it to be used on starts and restarts, circumventing IndyCar race controls that deactivate the system during that time. The Penske system had reportedly been installed while testing hybrid engines last August, but the coding was allegedly not reverted back to its legal form prior to the start of 2024.

IndyCar officials discovered the infraction a month afterward, stripping Newgarden of the win and McLaughlin of a third-place finish. In part to quell dissent in the garage area -- IndyCar is owned by Penske Entertainment Group -- team owner Roger Penske implemented stiff internal penalties, suspending team president Tim Cindric, managing director Ron Ruzewski, and engineers Luke Mason and Robbie Atkinson.

Despite the scandal, Penske has maintained their historical Indianapolis form as they look for their 20th win in the 500 Mile Race, and also as Newgarden tries to become the first driver to win back-to-back 500s since Helio Castroneves did so in 2001 and 2002 -- Also driving for Penske.

Newgarden will have to fend off a very competitive field to do so, as well as a recent trend of the last six Indy 500s -- and 12 of the last 13 -- featuring different winners. Past Indianapolis 500 champions in the field besides Newgarden include Power, Castroneves, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson.

Indianapolis 500 starting lineup

Row 1

1 - #3 - Scott McLaughlin
2 - #12 - Will Power
3 - #2 - Josef Newgarden

Row 2

4 - #7 - Alexander Rossi
5 - #17 - Kyle Larson
6 - #14 - Santino Ferrucci

Row 3

7 - #21 - Rinus VeeKay
8 - #5 - Pato O'Ward
9 - #60 - Felix Rosenqvist

Row 4

10 - #75 - Takuma Sato
11 - #27 - Kyle Kirkwood
12 - #23 - Ryan Hunter-Reay

Row 5

13 - #26 - Colton Herta
14 - #10 - Alex Palou
15 - #6 - Callum Ilott

Row 6

16 - #11 - Marcus Armstrong
17 - #20 - Ed Carpenter
18 - #4 - Kyffin Simpson

Row 7

19 - #98 - Marco Andretti
20 - #06 - Helio Castroneves
21 - #9 - Scott Dixon

Row 8

22 - #78 - Agustin Canapino
23 - #41 - String Ray Robb
24 - #33 - Christian Rasmussen

Row 9

25 - #66 - Tom Blomqvist
26 - #77 - Romain Grosjean
27 - #8 - Linus Lundqvist

Row 10

28 - #45 - Christian Lundgaard
29 - #24 - Conor Daly
30 - #30 - Pietro Fittipaldi

Row 11

31 - #51 - Katherine Legge
32 - #28 - Marcus Ericsson
33 - #15 - Graham Rahal