Indy 500 2012: Will Power and Stars Who Will Dominate Prestigious Race

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 20:  Will Power drives the #12 Verizon 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

The Indianapolis 500 is a race so big in name alone that it does not demand greatness from the drivers to draw in a crowd. Still, it would be nice to watch this year's iteration and see someone do something special. 

Since the biggest star in IndyCar racing (Danica Patrick) took her talents to NASCAR, Indy Racing has been searching for a new face to build around. What better place to find that person than Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

Here are the IndyCar stars who will turn themselves into mainstream stars with dominant performances in the 2012 Indianapolis 500


Will Power

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - APRIL 29:  Will Power of Australia, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates winning the Sao Paulo Indy 300 with members of his pit crew on April 29, 2012 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Power enters the Indianapolis 500 as the hottest driver in IndyCar or NASCAR. After a seventh-place finish in the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Power has won the last three races on the IndyCar circuit. 

He has as much momentum as anyone heading into this race. If you are looking for consistent dominance, Power is your man. His win total has increased each of the last three years, starting with one in 2009 and up to six last season. 

The time for Power to assert his dominance over the rest of the sport has come, and the Indianapolis 500 will be his proving ground. Right now he has to be the favorite to win, but even if he doesn't he will show the world why he should be the biggest star on the circuit. 


Helio Castroneves

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 19:  Helio Castroneves the driver of the Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske car prepares for his qualifying run for the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 19, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There was a time when the Indianapolis 500 was Castroneves' playground. He has won the race three times, most recently in 2009. 

After a down season in 2011, where he finished 11th in points, Castroneves had a strong start to 2012 with a win in the season opener and a third-place finish at the Grand Prix of Alabama. He is still searching for the consistency that used to define his career. 

Even if things don't work out for Castroneves the rest of the season, Indianapolis is the one place he knows how to drive. His early-season success gives me hope that he is going to find that magic he had in his prime. 


Scott Dixon

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 19:  Scott Dixon the driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car prepares for his qualifying run for the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 19, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Image
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Despite the success that Power has had on the IndyCar circuit this season, Dixon could be the most dominant driver in the field. He doesn't have the wins to show for it, but Dixon has led the most laps in two of the first four IndyCar races. 

We so often equate dominance with winning, so when we look at Dixon and see he has yet to taste victory lane, it doesn't exactly make you take notice. He hasn't helped his cause finishing 23rd and 17th in the two races leading up to the Indianapolis 500. 

Still, it is hard to overlook someone who has been able to put himself at the top of the leaderboard throughout the course of a race as consistently as Dixon did in the early going.