Indy 500 schedule: How to watch the ‘greatest spectacle in racing’ throughout May

Elizabeth Blackstock
The start of the 2023 Indy 500

The start of the 2023 Indy 500

The ‘Month of May’ is the crown jewel of American open-wheel motorsport, bringing many of the world’s best racers to Indiana to compete in the Indy 500.

While practice for the greatest spectacle in racing no longer opens on May 1, with weeks of practice building up to the 200-lap race there’s still plenty of action coming your way between now and race day on May 26.

Full Indy 500 schedule: How to watch in the US and the UK

The racing program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway kicks off with the Indy Grand Prix, a race around the track’s infield road course. After that comes four days of practice, two days of qualifying, two post-qualifying practice sessions, and then finally, the race. In between, drivers will travel around the country satisfying media obligations and taking part in parades.

Here’s the schedule for the full month of May, including where you can view each session and a few notes on what to look for.


The first three days of on-track activity ahead of the Indy 500 are dedicated to practice.

Each of these three sessions last for six hours, with a handful of the earlier hours generally reserved for inexperienced drivers to find their footing.

The first day of practice, May 14, was rained out after just 20 minutes of on-track action.


US Viewers

12-6 pm ET on Peacock

UK Viewers

5-11 pm BST on Sky Sports


US Viewers

12-6 pm ET on Peacock

UK Viewers

5-11 pm BST on Sky Sports


Concluding the first week of Indy 500 practice is Fast Friday.

Yes, this is still a practice session, but teams are allowed to set their engines to feature high turbo boost; that setting configuration will be used in qualifying.

This allows teams and drivers to simulate the all-out four-lap pace required to set a speed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

US Viewers

12-6 pm ET on Peacock

UK Viewers

5-11 pm BST on Sky Sports

Concluding Fast Friday is the qualifying draw. Drivers gather (or send representatives) to the base of IMS’s iconic pagoda to draw lots that will determine when they’ll make a qualifying lap the following day.

This is not broadcast but teams, drivers and other personnel share plenty of clips on social media.


The Saturday after practice kicks off a two-day qualifying session.

On the first day of qualifying, every driver lines up in pit lane at the beginning of the day in the order determined by the draw the previous evening.

Every driver is guaranteed the opportunity to set a qualifying speed, which will be determined by the average speed of four laps.

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Then, drivers have an opportunity to re-attempt qualifying in hopes of setting a faster time.

It’s important to note that Saturday’s qualifying session only formally determines positions 13-30 on the starting grid.

The 12 fastest drivers and, this year, the four slowest will undertake additional qualifying attempts the following day.

US Viewers

8:30-9 am ET: Group 1 practice, broadcast on Peacock

9-9:30 am ET: Group 2 practice, broadcast on Peacock

11am-5pm ET: Qualifying, broadcast on Peacock

UK Viewers

1:30 pm BST: Groups 1 and 2 qualifying, broadcast on Sky Sports Action

5 pm BST: Qualifying, broadcast on Sky Sports Action

6:15 pm BST: Qualifying continued on Sky Sports F1


Sunday’s qualifying sessions are known as Pole Day and Bump Day respectively.

The 12 fastest drivers from Saturday’s qualifying session will attempt to set the fastest speed and therefore secure pole position, while the four slowest drivers will compete to secure a lap fast enough to guarantee one of the final three slots on the grid.

This means that one driver who entered the Indy 500 will not start the race.

US Viewers

12-1 pm ET: Fast 12 Practice, broadcast on Peacock

1-2 pm ET: Last Chance Qualifying / Bump Day practice, broadcast on Peacock

3:05-4:05 pm ET: Fast 12 Qualifying, setting positions 7-12, broadcast on NBC

4:15-5:15 pm ET: Last Chance Qualifying, broadcast on NBC

5:25-5:55 pm ET: Fast Six qualifying, broadcast on NBC

UK Viewers

7 pm BST: Practice, broadcast on Sky Sports

8 pm BST: Qualifying, broadcast on Sky Sports


The Monday of race day sees a brief practice session for drivers to prepare their cars for race day.

US Viewers

1-3 pm BST: Practice, broadcast on Peacock

UK Viewers

6 pm BST: Practice, broadcast on Sky Sports

There is no on-track activity until Friday. During this time, drivers travel around the United States performing media obligations.


The Friday before the Indy 500 is known as Carb Day, an old naming scheme that has continued despite the fact that there are no carburetors in modern cars.

It serves instead as a final practice session, with a pit stop competition as well.

US Viewers

11 am-1 pm ET: Final practice, broadcast on Peacock

2:30 – 4 pm ET: Pit stop competition, broadcast on Peacock

UK Viewers

4 pm BST: Final Practice, broadcast on Sky Sports Mix

6:30 pm BST: Final Practice, broadcast continues on Sky Sports F1

7:30 pm BST: Pit Stop Competition, broadcast on Sky Sports F1

The following day, Saturday, will see drivers engage in a ceremonial drivers’ meeting on the front stretch of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before departing for the traditional Indy 500 parade through the streets of the city.


Finally, Sunday is race day.

Cars move to pit lane at 9 am ET, then to the grid at 10:30. A lengthy preamble follows, with musical performances and driver introductions before the race begins.

US Viewers

12:45 pm ET: The Indy 500, broadcast on NBC

UK Viewers

5:30 pm BST: The Indy 500, broadcast on Sky Sports

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