Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500

Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning has been providing heating and cooling solutions to Indianapolis-area home and business owners for over 128 years. While it hasn’t been around quite as long, 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of “The Most Important Race in History,” the Indianapolis 500. To honor this milestone, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host a number of events over the next two weeks, culminating in the 100th running of the Indy 500 on Sunday, May 29th. So we want to provide this schedule information for all you Hoosiers who want to join in on the celebration.

Friday, May 20th, is the Fast Friday Practice, the best preview you can get for Pole Day, from noon to 6 p.m. Fast Friday, particularly late in the day, is when drivers and teams put forward their best efforts before battling for the pole the following day. Other featured events during Fast Friday include IndyCar two-Seater Rides, a Q & A with an IndyCar Team Owner and Spotter followed by an autograph session, and live music (TBD) from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Click for more information and complete Fast Friday event schedule.

Saturday, May 21, is Indianapolis 500 Pole Day Qualifying. This first day of qualifying will determine the first 24 grid spots available, with the fastest driver awarded the pole position for the start of the 500. Qualifying will begin at 11 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. The fastest nine qualifiers will head back to the track at 4:30 p.m. to attempt to go faster than their previously scored time. Other events include a Pace Car Reunion, a celebration of the 24 living pole winners of the race, who have been invited to return to the Speedway, and live music at 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.. Click for more information and complete Pole Day schedule of events.

Sunday, May 22 is Bump Day / IMS Armed Forces Day. All the anguish, anxiety, and drama of who will and who won’t make the field for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 will be determined at the Brickyard. A new, higher-profile Armed Forces Day will be presented as well as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Willy T. Ribbs’ milestone as the first African-American to qualify for the Indy 500. A collection of military vehicles will be on display in the Plaza, and in the infield the world’s largest collection of Indy 500 Pace Cars will be on display. Live music will begin at 9:00 a.m. Click for the full schedule of Bump Day / IMS Armed Forces Day events.

Wed., May 25, is one of the most exciting days for true races fans, the 500 Festival Community Day. Experience the one and only day race fans get an up-close insider’s view of the legendary Brickyard. Ever wonder how cool it would be to take a lap around the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway? On 500 Festival Community Day you can do just that! Experience this unique opportunity of taking a lap around the track in your own car!

Community Day includes a variety of other activities to enjoy, as well. Tour the IZOD IndyCar Series car transport trailers. Visit Pit Lane and check out the vintage cars on display. Take a Victory Circle photo—just like you’re the winner in a car with a trophy, a wreath and a glass of milk! Fans can enjoy live music, Q & A sessions and much more! Admission to Community Day includes admission to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum with its new exhibition of 67 Indianapolis 500-winning cars.

Click for the complete schedule of American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day events.

Saturday, May 28, is A.J. Foyt Day! Long known as a quiet afternoon at the track after the Drivers’ Meeting in the morning, this day bursts with activity this May with the declaration of “A.J. Foyt Day” and as headlined by the “World’s Largest Autograph Session.” Additional events include a Memorabilia Show and Vintage, Sprint, Midget Cars Display, The Red Bull Battle at the Brickyard, a showcase of top BMX riders from around the world in a competition described as being similar to breakdancing on a pedal bike; and much more. Click for the complete schedule of this new day of activities.

The 2011 Indianapolis 500 will start at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 29. 100 years of Indianapolis history will come to a head as 33 of the best drivers in the world race to take the checkered flag. An array of exciting events are scheduled prior to the dropping of the green flag. Click for the complete schedule of Indianapolis 500 Race Day events.

So come on Indianapolis, come out and join Team Thiele in celebrating this historic occasion. Whether you are a diehard race fan or not, there are plenty of exciting things to experience that make us proud call ourselves Hoosiers. We’ll see you at The Brickyard. Now, start your engines!