The Indianapolis 500 pits the best of the Indy Car circuit against each other. Although most casual fans may only know about Danica Patrick or Helio Castroneves, more than 30 other drivers will attempt to win immortality at the Brickyard. All of Indianapolis will be on edge for the 500, since 33 racers will be close competition to become Indy legends.
Only a handful or two might have a real shot, and every year, that group has to be led by Castroneves. This may be an historic afternoon for the three-time champion as he tries to become the fourth driver to win this event four times.
Castroneves’ first attempt to be a four-time winner failed in 2010, while Dario Franchitti took the checkers for the second time. This year, Franchitti can also get his third victory, and can only become the first driver to repeat at Indianapolis since Castroneves won the 2001 and 2002 500.
Yet it is 2008 winner Scott Dixon who is starting in the front row, between lesser-known drivers Alex Tagliani and Oriol Servia. According to Sports Illustrated’s Lars Anderson, Dixon is “the most popular pick in the media center” to take the race, as he is the “steadiest behind the wheel.”
Although Dixon already has a Brickyard win, a second triumph would put him even higher up among Indianapolis legends, and alongside Castroneves and Franchitti. But the Indy Car circuit has a bunch of other drivers who haven’t even won their first 500 yet.
Tagliani and Servia led those racers in qualifying, while Townsend Bell and Will Power start in the second row with 2005 champion Dan Wheldon. But of course, everyone is still keeping an eye on Patrick, although she is all the way back in the ninth row. However, this is one of the few races in which she is a constant contender, or is at least able to lead a lap or two.
Since open-wheel racing has trailed NASCAR in popularity for years, viewers may be hearing about many of these drivers for the first time. But the likes of Tagliani, Servia and Power can make a definitive name for themselves by winning on Sunday. No matter what Indy Car racing has become over the years, everyone remembers the winners of the 500, regardless of what they do for the rest of their careers.
This is the 100th anniversary edition of the race, so a victory is particularly historic this year. The first green flag dropped just after noon EDT on ABC, and the cold milk should be drunk at Victory Lane around three hours later.
Yahoo Sports- “Starting grid: Indianapolis 500”
SI.com- “Franchitti, Dixon likely to contend for Indy 500 checkers”
Indianapolis Motor Speedway- “Indianapolis 500 Race Winners”