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How to Watch and Stream the Indianapolis 500 Race

It's time to kiss some bricks. The Indy 500 is finally back.

Mary-Elisabeth Combs Associate Writer
Mary-Elisabeth is an associate writer on CNET's How-To team. She's a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill's English Department, and resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the How-To team, she covers a little bit of everything. When she's not writing, she's catching up on Formula 1 or reading.
Mary-Elisabeth Combs
4 min read
See at Peacock
Peacock streaming TV and movies
Carries the Indy 500
See at YoutubeTV
Youtube TV streaming service
YouTube TV
Carries NBC and NBC Sports
See at ExpressVPN
Express VPN on a phone
Express VPN
Best VPN for streaming

The Indianapolis 500 is one of my favorite weekends in motorsport. Usually, I prefer watching road circuits to classic racing ovals, but something about the history of the event really gets me excited. Ovals provide an extra layer of racing strategy compared to road courses, so F1 fans who are tuning in for the first time following the morning's Monaco Grand Prix will have something brand-new to sink their teeth into this weekend. 

Not only is the Indy 500 one of my favorite races, it's one of the most historic in American and world motorsports. You're probably vaguely familiar with some of the traditions associated with the race, like the winner dumping milk on their heads or the famous winner's wreath.

The Indy 500 is unique in that drivers who do not ordinarily race in IndyCar are able to make their debut in the race, like NASCAR champion Kyle Larson, who is attempting to do the Indy 500 and the CocaCola 600 in the same day (yes -- that's about 1,100 miles of racing in one day). 

This year's event is set to be highly competitive, with several drivers favored to take home the coveted Borg-Warner trophy. Among those drivers are defending champion Josef Newgarden, who has been at the center of a cheating scandal over the past few months, Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin (also involved in that affair) and Pato O'Ward, a fan favorite who drives for the Arrow McLaren team. 

Here's when you can tune in to watch the Indy 500. For more, here's everything to know about F1 and CNET's review of Peacock

Josef Newgarden kisses the Borg Warner trophy

Reigning Indy 500 champ Josef Newgarden will be defending last year's win this Sunday. Will he come out on top for the second year in a row? 

James Gilbert/Getty Images

What time does the Indy 500 start? 

The Indy 500 will take place on Sunday, May 26, at 12:25 p.m. ET (9:25 a.m. PT) and will be streamed on NBC, Peacock and NBC Sports. There will also be prerace coverage starting at 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT). 

Watch the Indy 500 on Peacock

The race will be streamed live on Peacock, and if you're a cord cutter and a big fan of NBC's programming, making the switch to Peacock might not be a bad idea for you. Additionally, if you're a fan of more than just motorsports, Peacock carries all Sunday Night Football, the US Open, English Premier League and more live sports. 

James Martin/CNET

A Peacock Premium subscription will set you back $6 a month for the ad-based version, or $12 a month for Peacock Premium Plus, which removes most commercial interruptions as well as giving you the option to download select content to watch offline. There will still be some ads on the Premium Plus subscription due to content licensing agreements.

Watch the Indy 500 on a Live TV streaming service

You can also catch the Indy 500 wherever you watch NBC or NBC Sports on your live TV streaming service of choice. This means Hulu, Fubo or YouTube TV are all fair game to stream the Indy 500 this year. Be aware that depending on where you live you might not have access to NBC sports. In that case, your best bet to catch the race would be on NBC. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

YouTube's live TV streaming service carries both NBC and NBC Sports, and you can watch your content of choice both live and on-demand. The platform costs $73 per month, and you can type in your ZIP code to see which local networks are available in your area. Right now, YouTubeTV is running a promotion where your subscription price will be reduced to $58 a month for the first three months (and then it returns to the regular $73). Here's what CNET editors had to say about YouTube TV.

Watch the Indy 500 with a VPN

Perhaps you're traveling abroad and want to stream the Indy 500 while away from home. With a VPN, you're able to virtually change your location on your phone, tablet or laptop to get access to the race from anywhere in the world. There are other good reasons to use a VPN for streaming, too.

A VPN is the best way to stop your ISP from throttling your speeds by encrypting your traffic. Using a VPN is also a great idea if you're traveling and find yourself connected to a Wi-Fi network, and you want to add an extra layer of privacy for your devices and logins. Streaming TV can be a bit smoother with a reliable, quality VPN that's passed our tests and security standards.

You can use a VPN to stream content legally as long as VPNs are legal in your country and you have a valid subscription to the streaming service you're using. The US and Canada are among the countries where VPNs are legal, but we advise against streaming or downloading content on illegal torrent sites. We recommend ExpressVPN, but you may opt for another provider from our best list such as Surfshark or NordVPN. 

James Martin/CNET

ExpressVPN is CNET's current pick for best VPN. You can sign up for ExpressVPN and save 49% plus get three months of access for free -- the equivalent of $6.67 a month -- if you get an annual subscription. Note that ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.