Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Helio Castroneves has the tools to win his fourth Indianapolis 500.
The current IndyCar vehicle design and accompanying aerodynamic rules package mirror what was used for the first time at the Brickyard last season. The result was one of the most competitive Indianapolis 500 races ever.
Following are a few predictions for this year's race.
The Racing Style
Sunday's race will include extensive pack-style racing where drivers use the draft along Indianapolis' long straightaways to make passes before the tight 90-degree corners. At speeds over 220 mph, most drivers will initially play it safe in the 500-mile, 200-lap race.
Those around the end, though, won't play so nice—just as Takuma Sato did last year.
The Pivotal Difference
Honda proved to be plenty competitive in last year's race despite slow speeds during practice. If they can't turn it around this year, suddenly the pool of potential winners has narrowed considerably to Chevrolet-powered teams.
The Long Shot
AJ Allmendinger has the right race team behind him, some of the best strategy on pit road and the hard-nosed style to make risky moves and pick through the field. He's fastest enough, but does he have the experience to finish?
The Dark Horse
Marco Andretti will have a car capable of winning Sunday's race at the start. He had the same thing last year, too, but he ultimately tumbled out of contention when his team failed to make proper setup adjustments during pit stops. Andretti let the pressure get to him, and it impacted his race negatively.
If he avoids that this year, he might break the long-standing Andretti curse and actually win the Indianapolis 500.
The Top Challenger
Will Power has something to prove both on ovals and in IndyCar, thanks to his current winless streak. Penske will make the right moves to get him to the front, but his biggest hurdle will be overcoming his teammate, Allmendinger.
Helio Castroneves has too big of a jump on his chief competition in the Ganassi camp this May to let another opportunity at win No. 4 slide through his grasp. He's fast enough and experienced enough to be there when the money is counted.