The Indianapolis 500 is one of the premier races in the United States and Sunday’s showdown is guaranteed to be must-see TV—but I’ve got you covered if you’re planning to watch online instead.
Dario Franchitti enters the 97th Indy 500 seeking his fourth glass of milk at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, winning his third race in an exciting finish last year. He was challenged by Takuma Sato in the final lap, but Sato crashed his car and Franchitti drove on to victory.
Franchitti, however, didn’t have the best qualifier and will start in the No. 17 position. Ed Carpenter, who sits in 23rd place in the IndyCar standings with 43 points, won the pole position for Sunday’s race after averaging 228.762 MPH in the Fast Nine Shootout.
So which driver will get the opportunity to drink the celebratory glass of milk at the end of the Indy 500 on Sunday?
Let’s brief you on how and where to watch the race, what the starting grid looks like and some predictions as to what could happen.
When: Sunday, May 26, at 12:12 p.m. ET
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
TV Info: ABC
Live Stream: Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s official website.
* Qualifying results and starting grid via Indy 500's official website.
|Starting Pos.||Driver||Car No.||Four-Lap Average (MPH)|
|24||Simona de Silvestro||78||225.226|
Hometown Hero Won’t Finish on Top
Being that Sunday will mark the 97th Indy 500, it’s somewhat surprising that more Indiana natives haven’t won the pole position in the past.
By winning the pole position this year, Ed Carpenter became just the second driver from Indiana to start in the No. 1. The other was Pat O’Connor, who won the pole back in 1957, according to the Indianapolis Star. O’Connor finished the race in eighth place that year.
So how will Carpenter do in just his second time ever starting from the pole position?
Well, most likely not very well. Carpenter is clearly not the best driver that will be starting his engine on Sunday afternoon. If he were better, he’d be much higher up in the IndyCar standings instead of 23rd. Also, in year’s past, the driver starting from the pole position hasn’t been that lucky.
Just 18 drivers have been able to start first and end first throughout the history of the Indy 500. The odds that Carpenter becomes the 19th to do so are still somewhat slim. He was great when trying to get the pole, but he will need to be even better once the race actually starts.
If Carpenter is going to be drinking anything after the race, it’ll be water or Gatorade, not milk.
Helio Castroneves nor Dario Franchitti Will Win No. 4
Three drivers in the history of the Indy 500 have come out on top four times in their career: A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears. On Sunday, Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti will attempt to join them, entering with three titles apiece.
Castroneves won the race in 2001 and 2002 and then had three top-four finishes the next six years before winning his third in 2009. The past three years haven’t been great for Castroneves, as he’s finished outside the top 10 in 2011 and last year.
Franchitti, on the other hand, didn’t start his career at the Indy 500 well but has gotten better and better. His first Indy 500 came back in 2002, finishing in 19th place. Four years after making his debut, he drank his first glass of milk. He won again in 2010 and, as previously mentioned, won it all last year.
Castroneves will have the better starting position on Sunday, sitting in the No. 8 spot after a four-lap average of 227.762 MPH. Franchitti, as previously stated, will start from the No. 17 spot. Keep in mind that he did win in 2012 despite starting at No. 16.
Both drivers have their work cut out for them and are certainly two of the best ever, but it’s going to be more than difficult to win No. 4 of their impressive careers. Other drivers will be looking to deny their chances to tie the all-time record at any expense.
Castroneves and Franchitti may eventually win a fourth Indy 500, but it won’t be this year.
Marco Andretti Will Finish in the Top 3
It’s been hit or miss with Marco Andretti throughout his career at the Indy 500. Since 2006, the first time he ever participated in the race, he’s gotten extremely close to winning three times, but he has never been able to finish first.
Andretti has started in the top 10 all but twice in his seven years at the Indy 500. But he’s had his fair share of struggles. Last year, Andretti started fourth but finished 24th overall, a huge disappointment.
In previous years, Andretti has finished as close as second place, but that No. 2 finish came all the way back in 2006. The closest he’s gotten more recently was third place three years ago.
Sunday will be the best starting position Andretti has ever had at the Indy 500 and he’s determined that this will be the year when he wins it all.
“Five hundred miles is a long way,” Andretti told Carlos Mendez of The Star-Telegram. “There are going to be a lot of elements that can take us out of it. But if we execute, we win. It’s our race to lose.”
Andretti will have a lot of good competition surrounding him, trying to accomplish the exact goal he has, but this will be another successful year. He has a great opportunity to finish on top for the first time, especially with the No. 3 starting position.
Andretti will definitely finish in the top three, and there's a very good chance he's the one drinking the beverage every driver wants this Sunday: milk.