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2012 Indy 500

It's time for IndyCar fans to get excited, as the 2012 Indianapolis 500 is just over a week away.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 29:  Drivers race under the green flag during the IZOD IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 29, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 29: Drivers race under the green flag during the IZOD IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 29, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Memorial Day is slowly creeping upon us, and any red-blooded American knows what that means -- the Indy 500 is fast approaching. Unfortunately, the 2012 Indianapolis 500 will have a bit of a somber tone to it, as last year's champion Dan Wheldon tragically passed away at the age of 33 last year after a wreck in a race in Las Vegas.

There's still lots to look forward to and celebrate, despite the somber-ish tone that surrounds the racing world. Pole day is scheduled for Saturday, May 19, and really officially kicks off the Indy 500 week. Drivers have been running practice laps since May 14, so pole day is more than a welcome sight for drivers and fans alike.

The 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be held on Sunday, May 27 -- weather permitting.

For more on the 2012 Indy 500, be sure to head over to Pop Off Valve and join the discussion.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.