Indy 500 2012: Start Time, Lineup, Schedule, Predictions and More

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Indy 500 2012: Start Time, Lineup, Schedule, Predictions and More
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

While NASCAR may be king when it comes to auto racing in the United States, most would still argue that the Indianapolis 500 is still the biggest event in motorsports. The Memorial Day weekend tradition continues to captivate fans after more than a century, and Sunday's race promises to be another great one thanks to a wide-open field.

The greatest spectacle in racing, as the Indy 500 is so aptly referred to, is one of the few events in the sport that prompts non-racing fans to tune in. It would be fair to call the Indianapolis 500 the Super Bowl of motorsports as the winner will forever be etched in the annals of racing history. The Indy Racing League may not be as popular as it once was, but interest hasn't waned in the 500.

Here is your complete guide to where and when you can catch the famed Indy 500, complete with the full race lineup and predictions for who will reign supreme on Sunday.

 

Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Ind.

When: Sunday, May 27 at 12 p.m. ET

Watch: ABC

Listen: IMS Radio Network 

 

Lineup

1. Ryan Briscoe

2. James Hinchcliffe

3. Ryan Hunter-Reay

4. Marco Andretti

5. Will Power

6. Helio Castroneves

7. Josef Newgarden

8. Tony Kanaan

9. E.J. Viso

10. Rubens Barichello

11. Alex Tagliani

12. Graham Rahal

13. Ana Beatriz

14. Charlie Kimball

15. Scott Dixon

16. Dario Franchitti

17. James Jakes

18. J.R. Hildebrand

19. Takuma Sato

20. Townsend Bell

21. Justin Wilson

22. Michel Jourdain

23. Simon Pagenaud

24. Sebastian Saavedra

25. Sebastien Bourdais

26. Wade Cunningham

27. Oriol Servia

28. Ed Carpenter

29. Mike Conway

30. Katherine Legge

31. Bryan Clauson

32. Simona De Silvestro

33. Jean Alesi

 

 

Drivers to Watch

J.R. Hildebrand

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

In what was one of the most agonizing and exciting finishes in Indianapolis 500 history, youngster J.R. Hildebrand was one turn away from shockingly winning the race last year when he hit the wall unprovoked, allowing the now-late Dan Wheldon to take the checkered flag. Hildebrand will forever be known for his gaffe, but he can put it behind him with a win on Sunday.

Hildebrand has run solidly this season as he is ninth in the standings and he will start 18th this weekend. There are probably 15 or more drivers with a very realistic chance of winning this race and Hildebrand is one of them. Athletes don't always have a chance to rectify their failures, but Hildebrand will attempt to do precisely that.

 

Dario Franchitti

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Winning one Indianapolis 500 is an accomplishment in itself, but winning the race multiple times makes a driver an all-time great. That is the case with Dario Franchitti as he has won twice in his career at Indy, including a triumph two years ago. Franchitti is considered a top contender in the race every year and 2012 will certainly be no different.

The 39-year-old Scot is still one of the elite drivers on the circuit and he will look to become one of only a handful of drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 on three occasions. Franchitti didn't qualify as well as he had hoped as he will start 16th, but because of his skill and experience there is no reason why Franchitti can't get to the front and challenge for a victory.

 

Helio Castroneves

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Brazilian star Helio Castroneves leads all active drivers as he has won the Indy 500 thrice, making him one of only nine drivers ever to accomplish that feat. With a win on Sunday, Castroneves would tie A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the winningest driver in Indianapolis 500 history with four trips to victory lane. 

Castroneves is already thought of as one of the best drivers ever, but a fourth win would really cement his status. The 37-year-old Castroneves is certainly a veteran on the circuit, but he has been racing as well as ever this season with one victory and the No. 2 spot in the points. Castroneves will start sixth on Sunday and should be a big factor throughout the race provided he can stay out of trouble. If Castroneves is in the mix late, he will be very tough to beat.

 

Prediction

He is only 25 years old, but Marco Andretti has come excruciatingly close to winning the Indy 500 on several occasions. He has finished third twice and finished second to Sam Hornish, Jr. as a rookie in 2006 in what was the closest finish in the race's history. 

Andretti comes from a family known for its racing excellence and he looked great in qualifying as he will start in the second row from the fourth position. Andretti has turned into a perennial contender in auto racing's biggest event and this may finally be his time to break through. 

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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