Indy 500 Lineup: Drivers Primed to Steal Spotlight in Marquee Race
For drivers looking to make a statement on the IndyCar circuit, there's no bigger prize than winning the Indy 500.
While NASCAR is the main racing attraction in the United States, the Indy 500 steals the show every Memorial Day weekend. Winning the race means etching your name on the Borg-Warner trophy and receiving a fairly handsome paycheck.
The 2013 version of the race figures to be an entertaining one. With the presence of defending Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti and all of the biggest names on the IndyCar circuit the competition will be fierce.
Here's all the information you need to know heading into Sunday's marquee race.
When: Sunday, May 26, at 12 p.m. ET
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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Carlos Munoz is definitely the most intriguing rookie in the Indy 500 field. The 21-year-old Colombian has dominated the Indy Lights circuit. He already has two victories in 2013 and has run the fastest lap in every race.
Munoz comes in with a serious opportunity to become the first rookie to win the race since Helio Castroneves won in 2001—just a year after Juan Pablo Montoya also achieved the feat.
Montoya came in as a little-known Colombian who made waves by finishing second in qualifying and taking the checkered flag. There's a good chance that his countryman repeats history. He's also starting the race in second and is a true threat to take the checkered flag.
Former NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendiner will be making his first appearance at the Indy 500 and figures to be a serious contender. Although he hasn't been involved in open wheel racing since 2006, he told Bill Huneke of NJ.com that he feels like he's getting comfortable thanks to his teammates:
I had to get used to it again and what the car likes and how very hard you have to drive it to be fast, especially on the road courses. But Will and Helio have really helped me feel like actually a member of the team, and I hope I’ve added something of my own — my energy level, my excitement, my charm and good looks.
Helio, of course refers to three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves. Former IndyCar great A.J. Foyt also likes Allmendinger's skills behind the wheel according to USA Today's Nate Ryan's Twitter feed.
A.J. Foyt jokes he told AJ Allmendinger's dad: "Why'd you handicap that kid and put AJ on him?" Foyt says AJA is a great driver. #indycar— Nate Ryan (@nateryan) May 23, 2013
With backers like that, you know Allmendinger has what it takes to surprise fans after qualifying fifth.
Only four drivers in the 33-car field can say that they have an Indy 500 win on their resumes. Dixon happens to be one of them.
The Chip Ganassi driver has one of the best resumes of anyone at Indianapolis outside of Dario Franchitti and Castroneves who have each won the race three times.
Dixon has finished the race in top-six every year since 2006. While qualifying 16th has put him a little under the radar, he finished in second place last year after qualifying 15th.
Dixon is more than capable of working his way through the field and challenging for the win.
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