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2011 Indy 500: 100 Years At Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Winning the Indianapolis 500 is special to any driver, but taking the checkered flag for the 100th anniversary of this prestigious event makes it a much bigger deal for someone.

Following weeks of preparation at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 33 drivers are ready to embark in what is one of the most historical auto races in the world.

IMS is in its last year of a three-year centennial anniversary celebration. Even though the track opened in 1909, the first Indianapolis 500, initially named the "International Sweepstakes," was not held until two years later.

Ray Harroun won the inaugural race at Indy on May 30, 1911. Harroun averaged 74.602 mph in his Marmon "Wasp". It took him 6 hours, 42 minutes, 8 seconds to complete the race, and he collected $14,250 for the win.

Since then, the Indy 500 has been an annual Memorial Day weekend tradition, with the exception of 1917-18 (World War I) and 1942-45 (World War II).

The 95th running of this race is scheduled for Sunday.

With more than 250,000 in attendance, one driver will enjoy the sweet taste of victory after completing 200 laps around the famed 2.5-mile oval. The 110- pound Borg-Warner Trophy, a bottle of milk and a more than $2.5 million payday await the Indy 500 champion in Winner's Circle.

Teams will have one last opportunity to practice and fine tune their cars for the Indy 500 in Friday's "Carb Day."

For more on the race, stay with our 2011 Indy 500 StoryStream. Be sure to head over to Pop Off Valve for all things IndyCar, including the three excellent Indy 500 resources: The Indy 500 experience, Indy 500 traditions and the history of the Indy 500 and the Brickyard.