9:49 PM EDT, May 21, 2012
The Indianapolis 500 could set a new track record for heat during this year’s race.
If the current forecast holds, it could reach 94 degrees during the race with a 100 degree heat index, which factors in humidity. That would shatter the previous race day record of 92 degrees set in 1937, and could also break a 101 year record for the day.
Longtime fans of the Indianapolis 500 can usually remember their hottest race day.
"There was a time back in the 60's that we put an egg and cracked it on the asphalt and it started to fry,” said Shane Pierce, who grew up and still lives across the street from the Speedway. “I'm thinking, man this is hot."
This year Pierce could have a new story.
"I can imagine what the cars over there are probably facing and the drivers from the heat," Pierce said.
"I experienced mid 80's to high 80's and it wasn't bad," said Johnny Parsons Jr. who has driven in the race 12 times.
Parsons last raced in 1996, but he said current drivers and their crews are better equipped than ever with hydration during the race.
"They'll know what to do. Their trainers are working with them,” Parsons said. “I think the fans will have a tougher time than the drivers."
The Speedway will address fan safety by bringing in added cooling fans and activating misting stations. They've also requested IFD's two large walk through cooling stations, last used during the Mini Marathon.
"These are things that we normally do on Brickyard weekend and we don't always do on the 500 weekend," said IMS Spokesman Doug Boles.
If the heat does prove to be too much, as it did for many when temperatures approached 90 degrees the past two years, the in-field hospital and surrounding medical stations will be ready. The IMS medical staff is already anticipating treating more than 1,000 people for heat-related illness on Race Day.
"We're just really encouraging people to drink a lot of water and don't be one of those numbers," Boles said.
"Every opportunity you can give to somebody to hydrate because of the heat,” Pierce said, "because some people drink and they just don't take care of themselves when it gets hot."
If you are drinking alcohol or caffeine in intense heat, a local doctor said you should drink at least four bottles of water to stay hydrated.