The 2014 iteration of the Indianapolis 500 marks the 98th time the world's best IndyCar drivers will enter the fray and pursue one of the sport's most coveted trophies over the course of 200 laps.
The so-called "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" is littered with interesting storylines, thanks to a diverse cast of characters who will fill the 33 slots in hopes for a career-defining triumph.
Here is a look at how to catch the action and a look at the official staring grid for Sunday's race.
When: Sunday, May 25 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Start Time: Green Flag at 12:12 p.m. EDT
TV Info: ABC, coverage begins at 11 a.m. EDT
Live Stream: ESPN3
|2014 Indianapolis 500 Starting Grid|
|4||10||Juan Pablo Montoya|
The biggest attention-getter for the race to this point has been Kurt Busch, thanks to his historic pursuit of a Memorial Day Double.
Busch will race in the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday and stands as one of the few to ever attempt the feat. The 1,100-mile trek has garnered national attention, including a wealth of support from the sport's biggest names such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., via Fox Sports NASCAR:
Like any historic sports moment, the path to the finish will be paved with trials and tribulations. Busch has already dealt with one such issue after a scary crash during a practice run, as captured by IndyCar Series:
Believe it or not, Busch is actually an underdog on Sunday in the Indy 500, thanks to an overly stacked field with past and current juggernauts.
Legend Helio Castroneves will be on hand and in pursuit of his fourth win, which would tie the all-time record.
Jacques Villeneuve is back after a nearly 20-year absence. His last performance before leaving? A first-place finish 19 years ago in 1995. So yes, technically, he can make it two in a row. He told USA Today's Nate Ryan that the sport's rejuvenated nature helped to spur his return:
'There's always been some questions when the two series separated, and basically that destroyed open-wheel racing in North America,' said Villeneuve, who had turned down offers to race Indy in recent years because he wasn't enamored with the circuit or its cars. 'Now it's rebuilding. Just look at the state of IndyCar now compared to a few years ago. It's been going in a very positive way. That made it exciting to come back.'
Another notable returner is Juan Pablo Montoya, who won it all 14 years ago but took his talents to Formula One. There's also Buddy Lazier, who at 46 years old may be on his last legs in the sport after winning the Indy 500 in 1996.
It's a horse that will be beat to death on race day, but make sure to not forget Mr. Pole Position himself, Ed Carpenter. He has now won the pole two years in a row but is surely on the hunt for a better finish than his No. 10 slot from a season ago.
All things considered, the field is ripe with intrigue, and a winner is nearly impossible to predict. Which is, of course, as it should be for one of the sport's best overall events.
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