Celebrating the 2022 Indianapolis 500

Celebrating the 2022 Indianapolis 500

At Casa de Montecristo, we're serious about sport. We welcomed guests to enjoy the Masters Golf Tournament in April and gave you our recommendations on the best cigars to smoke while watching the game.

Cigars have a long sporting history, not least in Major League Baseball. But on May 29th, all eyes will be on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for this year's Indy 500.

Whether you're watching from home or in your local Casa de Montecristo lounge, we've put together this guide to help you learn more about Indy 500 cars, past Indianapolis 500 winners, and the best Indy 500 weekend activities to celebrate this sporting spectacle in style.

What is the Indianapolis 500?

The Indianapolis 500, known simply as the Indy 500 for short, is a 500-mile race covering 200 laps of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It's normally held at the end of May during Memorial Day weekend.

It was devised as a long-distance race similar to the Le Mans 24 Hours. After considering a 24-hour endurance race or a 1,000-mile length, the organizers settled instead on 200 laps of the 2.5-mile track, allowing the race to be completed during daylight hours.

The Indy 500 is billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing and is part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, along with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix, the latter of which traditionally takes place on the same day.

History of the race

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built in 1909 and originally had a gravel and tar track surface. The first long-distance winner at the circuit was Bob Burman, who drove a Buick in the 100-lap Prest-O-Lite Trophy. However, the track surface broke up under long-distance races and was soon repaved using 3.2 million bricks, giving the circuit its nickname of The Brickyard.

In 1936-38, the track was gradually covered over with asphalt, starting with rougher sections, then the four turns, and eventually all but a one-yard stretch of bricks that remains exposed to this day on the start/finish line.

The first Indianapolis 500 took place on May 30th, 1911 on Memorial Day or, as it was then known, Decoration Day. A length of 500 miles was chosen because it was considered to be the maximum realistic distance the racecars of the time could cover before darkness fell.

Many of the best Indy 500 cars of the 20th century were developed by legendary engineer Harry Miller. In 1913, a young self-taught automotive engineer named Fred Offenhauser Jr joined Miller's workshop, and the two would go on to become iconic names in the post-war period.

While servicing a Peugeot Grand Prix engine together, Miller and Offenhauser were impressed by the design and borrowed the core principles to create some of the most powerful engines of the Indy 500's early years.

As of 2021, there have been 20 Indianapolis 500 winners who claimed first place twice or more, including four - Helio Castroneves, A J Foyt, Rick Mears, and Al Unser - who have won the race four times each. A further six drivers have won three times each, including Al Unser's brother, Bobby Unser.

How to celebrate the Indianapolis 500?

As one of the biggest weekends for motorsports enthusiasts, there's a long list of Indy 500 weekend activities, as well as Memorial Day meetups. Whether you're spending the weekend with friends, family, or just enjoying the race with a drink and a smoke, here's our guide to celebrating the Indianapolis 500.


Where to watch? If you're staying home, make sure you've got plenty of food, drink, and, of course, cigars - more about that below. Alternatively, head to your local Casa de Montecristo lounge, where we'll be happy to watch the race with you.


With summer on the doorstep, a Memorial Day cookout is the perfect way to enjoy the warmer weather. Stock up on steaks, burgers, and any other favorites, and cook them on your gas grill or charcoal BBQ for that irresistible flame-grilled flavor that pairs perfectly with our BBQ and grilling cigars and sports.


Miller Lite is the official beer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so reach for a Miller if you want the taste of the track. If you prefer to pair your cigars with wine, check out Daniel's Family Vineyard & Winery. The Indianapolis vineyard produces Winner's White, Racing Rose, and Racing Red, giving you a choice of your favorite color of wine with an Indy 500-inspired label.


The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Miller Lite Carb Day Spotify Playlist has everything you need for race day, with a 'track' listing featuring artists who have taken center stage at the speedway itself over the years. Foreigner, Jane's Addiction, and Journey top an all-star line-up of classic and modern rock legends. Just Bluetooth to your outdoor speakers, hit play and you don't need to worry about the music for the rest of the weekend!


When it comes to the smokes for this year's Indy 500 and all the great sporting events still to come, we’ve got you covered.

If you're watching alone, handmade cigars like Ashton VSG will pair well with grilled meats and the high-octane events of the race – the name even sounds like a classic Indy 500 car!

Watching with friends? Machine-made cigars are an affordable option if you want to provide smokes for all your guests.

All that's left is to fire up the grill, start the music, pour yourself a drink, and light your chosen cigar, ready for one of the biggest sporting holiday weekends of the year. Enjoy!

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