What's the latest on the Indy 500 blackout and will the race be delayed by weather?

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is within 5,000 tickets of a grandstand sellout but has not made a decision on whether the blackout in Central Indiana for Sunday's Indianapolis 500 will be lifted. It'll likely be Friday before that decision is made.

IMS president Doug Boles said the track is currently projecting to have at least 345,000 fans, 15,000 more than last year. The remaining grandstand tickets are in Turns 3 and 4.

"The weather doesn't help us (sell the remaining tickets)," Boles said.

When will weather-related changes for the Indy 500 be announced?

The weather forecast is iffy for Sunday but Boles said it's extremely unlikely that IMS will make any announcements based on weather prior to Sunday.

"Even if the weather looks terrible at midnight or 6 a.m. (Sunday), it is Indiana," Boles said. "We will wait as long as we can before we make a decision (to delay the race). We will do everything we can to get the race in on Sunday. If that means we wait until 3 or 4 (p.m. to make an announcement, we will)."

Boles said he was 99.9% sure there would be no announcement before Sunday.

How long does it take to dry the Indy 500 track?

IMS has rented NASCAR's air titans that dry the track faster than traditional jet dryers. The track was able to dry the track in 77 minutes last week, which is believed to be the fastest they've ever dried the track. It, of course, has to stop raining before the track can be dried.

The Indy 500 will not run in the rain as the cars use Firestone tires with no grooves, and moisture would send them careening out of control. Grooved tires would slow the cars and send water cascading onto trailing cars; who wants to watch the Indy 500 at less than top speed?

The race takes roughly three hours and is official after 101 laps, so 90 minutes of favorable weather can be enough.

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How can I get updates on delays to the Indy 500 caused by weather?

IMS has a text alert system for venue updates -- generally weather-related. Text "Indy500" to 67283 to receive the updates.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Latest on the Indy 500 blackout and when rain delays will be announced