Drivers at the 2013 Indianapolis 500 are mere hours from climbing into their cars, starting their engines and embarking on a 500-mile journey that will undoubtedly make history.
Though the IndyCar series has lost much of popularity to the ever-growing NASCAR, there is one day a year where motorsports pauses for the country's most storied race. The winner of the event becomes an instant celebrity, with the yearly kissing of the bricks being among the year's most photogenic moments.
And this year's race is no different. There are countless storylines filled with top names across the sport, amping up excitement to levels only reached by another American classic: the Daytona 500.
While the Indianapolis 500 is an American classic, the folks running the event have made sure this race is fully functional for the 21st-century viewer. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway's official website will have a live stream of the event for those watching on their computers.
Of course, that's standard. Every major sporting event has a live stream—or at least they all should. The Indianapolis 500 is taking it to he next level. In a special treat for Sunday's race, 12 drivers will be having in-car cameras placed in their vehicles, and ESPN's live streaming service will bring you action from the drivers' perspectives.
With all of those varied options, fans will get to watch the race any way they see fit: whether that's riding along with their favorite driver, following the standard live stream or simply watching it on the old picture box—it doesn't matter.
With that in mind, here is a complete breakdown of all your viewing options for Sunday's race along with a few notable drivers to keep an eye on.
When: Sunday, May 26, at 12:12 p.m. ET
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Race Live Stream: Indianapolis Motor Speedway's official website.
Drivers With In-Car Streaming Cameras
|Graham Rahal||No. 15|
|Dario Franchitti||No. 10|
|Tristan Vautier||No. 55|
|J.R. Hildebrand||No. 4|
|Charlie Kimball||No. 83|
|Marco Andretti||No. 25|
|James Hinchcliffe||No. 27|
|Ed Carpenter||No. 20|
|Townsend Bell||No. 60|
|Ryan Hunter-Reay||No. 1|
|Helio Castroneves||No. 3|
|Will Power||No. 12|
Drivers to Watch
No. 3 Helio Castroneves
No driver in this field, save for possibly Dario Franchitti, has a better Indy 500 resume coming into Sunday.
Castroneves' three victories are tied with Franchitti's for the most among active drivers and for fourth all time behind the hallowed threesome (A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears) of four-time winners. The 38-year-old has become something of a legend at the raceway, worthy of contention even when he's not driving his best.
One problem: Castroneves' Indy 500 status may be more based on reputation than actual results. Sure, he won his third event in 2009. But Castroneves' other two victories are more than a decade old now, from a time when the driver was just a wet-behind-the-ears youngster and Penske Racing ruled the IndyCar world.
Much has changed during this time, most notably Castroneves' finishes at the Brickyard. In the three years since his previous title, the Brazilian has finished no higher than ninth. Those results included him barely cracking the top 10 last year in an event where he came in looking strong in the practices sessions.
Castroneves' pit crew failed him twice early in last year's event, once as they struggled to fit a tire and another time where the No. 3 car almost stalled. Seemingly behind the eight-ball from the outset, Castroneves could never quite recover.
On the bright side, things have started looking up for Castroneves this season. He comes into Sunday's race third in the points standings, having finished no worse than 13th this season. He also has a second-place finish at St. Petersburg and a third-place result in Alabama earlier this season, so he has the confidence of a top-five driver.
With a solid qualifying effort, Castroneves may be in his best position to win since 2009. In an interview with TIME's Sean Gregory, Castroneves noted that he's coming in with the sole purpose of winning.
"I’m certainly going in with that mentality," Castroneves said. "And I do have the team. We did it not only twice, but three times. I have a lot of confidence in my team. I can control what is in my power. We’re going to give ourselves the best opportunity we can to win this race."
No. 10 Dario Franchitti
Speaking of drivers gunning for history, the IndyCar series trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway could not have come soon enough for Franchitti. The three-time Indy 500 winner is in the midst of one of his most frustrating starts of his whole career, heading in a disconcerting 15th in the point standings through four races.
Even at 40 years old, that has to be frustrating for the four-time IndyCar series champion. Mechanical problems cost him nearly an entire race in Alabama, and he crashed hard for another DNF at St. Petersburg. Ana Beatriz is the only driver who has started all four races who has run fewer laps than Franchitti thus far.
In other words, Franchitti needs this. His three-year reign of terror atop the point standings ended last season, and he might be headed to a career-worst result if things don't pick up soon.
Even as he starts on the sixth row for Sunday's race, it's hard to bet against that happening. Two of Franchitti's three Indianapolis 500 triumphs have come from starts outside the top 10, including last season's ride from the 16th spot. And while his season got off to a terrible start, Franchitti has rallied the last two races, finishing fourth in Long Beach and seventh at Sao Paulo.
Plus, it's hard to argue against an Indy 500 institution like Franchitti. His three victories at the Brickyard have all come in the past five races, which is the most rapid assault of the Indy 500 leaderboard since Wilbur Shaw won three of four from 1937-1940.
A big fan of history, Franchitti spoke with the New York Times' Ben Strauss in the week leading up to Sunday. Though he sheepishly dismissed what winning No. 4 would mean to him, Franchitti was a bit more open about what it would mean in a historical context.
“I can relate to it a bit more that way,” Franchitti said. “To have won three and to be in the company with the drivers I am, for a kid from Scotland, it’s quite something.”
He'll have to fight a bit through the pack, but Franchitti's chance is a good as any.
No. 25 Marco Andretti
Marco Andretti isn't racing for history like Franchitti and Castroneves. He's racing against it. Marco, a member of open-wheel racing's most legendary family, is racing against decades upon decades of Andretti family bad luck at the Indy 500.
The son of Michael and grandson of Mario, Marco Andretti's experience at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been seeing his heroes fail time and again. Despite countless accolades throughout their careers, Michael and Marco coming up just short at the sport's most famous race became something of legend. The Andretti family accounts for just one victory at the hallowed race—Mario in 1969.
That race was a little before 26-year-old Marco's time. Marco himself has had a bit of bad luck at the Indianapolis 500, losing a late-race lead to Sam Hornish Jr. in a race that saw his father finish right behind him in third place.
Starting in the third position on Sunday, Marco again finds himself in contention to break his family's drought. Andretti heads into the race second in the point standings behind Takuma Sato, having finished no worse than seventh in any event on the calendar thus far.
With the ninth-fastest lap in practice on Friday at 224.293 mph, Andretti's family company seems to have equipped him with a winning race car. Plus, when Ice T is giving you a shout-out on Twitter, you know something good is bound to happen:
If the 2004 Boston Red Sox proved anything, it's that curses are made to be broken. Andretti might not break the family hex on Sunday, but you'll have a tough time finding anyone who will be unhappy if he does.
Full Qualifying Results
|24||Simona de Silvestro||78|
Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter: