Indy 500 2013: Breaking Down Numbers You Must Know in Preparation of Major Race

Tim KeeneyContributor IMay 23, 2013

LONG BEACH, CA - APRIL 19:  Helio Castroneves of Brazil driver of the #3 Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet during practice for the IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 19, 2013 on the streets of Long Beach, California.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

If Count von Count from Sesame Street taught me anything, it's that numbers can tell a story. 

Yes, even in IndyCar racing. 

While it's true that factors such as the driver, sponsor, team, car and pit crew—among several other things—will determine the winner, numbers can help tell the history of a race, which in turn can be used to predict the outcome. 

So, with the Super Bowl of racing quickly approaching, here are some important figures to know to get you ready for the 97th running of the Indy 500. 

 

3

That would be career wins each for Dario Franchitti and Helio Castroneves, one short of the all-time record shared by legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears. 

As the two drivers with undoubtedly the most eyes on them this Sunday, will one of them find a way to enter the prestigious group? 

Franchitti, who kissed the bricks last year after edging out Scott Dixon, certainly hasn't had a promising start to his season. Despite an average starting position of 7.8 in the year's opening four races, he has a meager average finishing position of 15.2, thanks to various car problems. As a result, he is just 15th in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings. 

Moreover, his starting position of No. 17 would be worse than any of his other three wins in Indianapolis (16, 3 and 3). 

Castroneves, on the other hand, is third in the standings thanks to two podiums. 

The Brazilian finished just 10th and 13th in his last two races but previously crossed the finish line second and third at St. Petersburg and Birmingham, respectively. 

Throw in the No. 8 starting position, and Castroneves seems more likely to capture the vaunted fourth victory. 

 

4

Four women will be at this year's Indy 500, tying the record set in both 2010 and 2011.

But simply starting the race is no longer a story for the females. It's now time for a woman to break through and drink some milk. 

This year's candidates to enter the history books? Simona De Silvestro, Ana Beatriz, Pippa Mann and Katherine Legge. 

De Silvestro has unarguably the best chance to break Danica Patrick's record third-place finish. She has the highest career finish of any of this year's participants at 14th and is starting closest to the front at No. 24. 

It's going to be an excruciatingly difficult task considering those aren't exactly promising numbers, but "The Iron Maiden" is ninth in this year's standings with three top-10 finishes in four races. 

 

7

Since the turn of the century, there have (obviously) been 13 winners. Seven of them have started from the front line. 

Juan Pablo Montoya won from the No. 2 position in 2000 before Buddy Rice won from the pole in 2004. After the late great Dan Wheldon won from No. 16 the next year, there were an astounding five straight victors from the front line. 

The last two years, however, Wheldon and Franchitti won from No. 6 and No. 16, respectively.

Should that history serve as any indication, then it's Ed Carpenter, Carlos Munoz and Marco Andretti (here's a look at the entire lineup) who have a better-than-50-percent shot at winning. 

Andretti, who is one of the most famous drivers without a win at Indianapolis, is second in the standings this year after two third-place finishes and two sevenths.

Moreover, if he or pole-sitter Carpenter race to victory, they will buck a trend of six straight non-American winners.