INDIANAPOLIS – Traditionally, lower temperatures, to some extent, have meant higher speeds on a superspeedway like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Lower track and air temperatures give Indy cars more grip, which means less corner slip and higher corner speeds. It also allows the cars to gain even more speed on the straights.
Lower temperatures also mean that these cars can achieve a higher level of downforce, the physical forces that keep cars sucked to the ground, more stable and less likely to fly. A higher natural downforce level means teams don’t have to try to achieve it with risky car setups.
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In essence, lower temperatures at the ideal starting point of Sunday’s Indy 500 mean higher speeds and should also allow these cars to pass better on the track, creating a more exciting spectacle for racing fans.
Temperatures for the start of the race are forecast for the low 60s. The coolest Indy 500, according to weather.gov, arrived in 1992 with a high of 58 degrees, under cloudy skies with a strong breeze. Three more times – 1997 (60), 1930 (62) and 1947 (63) – the high temperature on race day was below 65.