2012 Indianapolis 500 logo2012 Indianapolis 500

Indy 500 2012: Which Previous Winner Will Return to Victory Lane?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 20:  Dario Franchitti waits to drive the Target Chip Ganassi Racing car during practice for the Indinapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 20, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2012

Only three drivers in the 2012 Indianapolis 500 field have tasted victory in this race before: Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti.

All three drivers have won in the last five years and they're all currently in the top 10 in points this season.

Castroneves will start in the second row as the No. 6 qualifier, while Dixon and Franchitti will start 15th and 16th respectively.

So which of these three drivers, in a field of 33, has the best chance to return to victory lane?

Let's take a look.


Helio Castroneves

The 37-year-old Brazilian (and three-time Indy 500 winner) won his first race of this season, but has not been able to get back to victory lane since.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 20:  Hellio Castroneves drives the #3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske car during practice for the Indinapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 20, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

That said, he has two top-four finishes in his last three races and enters this race in great position for a win.

He'll be battling with the majority of the top drivers on the circuit early. While he's currently No. 3 in the standings, Nos. 1 and 2, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay respectively, will both be starting from within the first two rows.

Castroneves will be pushed early and often, but if he can keep his nose clean, he should be there in the end.


Scott Dixon

The 31-year-old New Zealander is currently No. 6 in the standings, but hasn't performed well over his last two races.

He did finish in second behind Castroneves to start the year—then second again behind Power—but he comes into Indy hoping to shake off a pair of less-than-memorable performances.

His Indy win is the most dated of these three drivers, coming in 2008, but he's finished in the top six every year since.

If he can move his way up, he should have a good shot at things in the end.


Dario Franchitti

A two-time Indy 500 winner, Franchitti didn't have a great start to the season, but turned in his best performance in Sao Paolo in the racing leading up to this weekend.

The three-time defending IndyCar series champion will look to make his biggest statement of this season in the circuit's biggest race.

He's proven he can win here and we know damn well he's not going to stay out of victory lane much longer.


All three drivers are capable of winning here, but it is Castroneves and Franchitti who have the best chance of winning.

Franchitti will be able to take his time and size up the field, while Castroneves will be running with the best of this year right off the bat.

Don't be surprised at all if the three-time defending champ takes the checkered this weekend.

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