Indy 500 2014: Last-Minute Guide and Drivers to Watch for Historic Race

R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IMay 25, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 23:  Juan Pablo Montoya of Columbia, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara prepares for the final practice on Carb Day for the the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 23, 2014at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The 2014 Indianapolis 500 is fast approaching, with the field of 33 drivers set to race out onto the illustrious Brickyard.

For fans of the IndyCar series, the race is clearly the most important of the season. Whether it's the milk in Victory Lane, the wreath draped over the winner or simply the open-wheel action on the track, the Indy 500 never disappoints.

Every year, the best IndyCar drivers take to the track in hopes of pulling off a career-changing victory. Contenders like Will Power and Ed Carpenter have never won the race, but have high hopes starting from the first row on Sunday.

Then there's past winners like Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan, who come in with aspirations of adding to their legacy at the track. As the start nears, here's a look at the upcoming race.


Indianapolis 500 Information

When: Sunday, May 25 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Start Time: Green Flag at 12:12 p.m. EST

TV Info: ABC, coverage begins at 11 a.m. EST

Live Stream: WatchESPN

2014 Indianapolis 500 Starting Grid
11Ed Carpenter
12James Hinchcliffe
13Will Power
24Helio Castroneves
25Simon Pagenaud
26Marco Andretti
37Carlos Munoz
38Josef Newgarden
39JR Hildebrand
410Juan Pablo Montoya
411Scott Dixon
412Kurt Busch
513Jack Hawksworth
514Justin Wilson
515Mikhail Aleshin
616Tony Kanaan
617Sebastien Bourdais
618Oriol Servia
719Ryan Hunter-Reay
720Graham Rahal
721Carlos Huertas
822Pippa Mann
823Takuma Sato
824Alex Tagliani
925Townsend Bell
926Charlie Kimball
927Jacques Villeneuve
1028James Davison
1029Martin Plowman
1030Ryan Briscoe
1131Sage Karam
1132Sebastian Saavedra
1133Buddy Lazier


Drivers to Watch

Helio Castroneves

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

One of only seven drivers with three wins in the Indianapolis 500, Castroneves is looking to join a slightly more exclusive list when he takes to the track on Sunday.

Just three drivers have ever visited Victory Lane in the Indy 500 four times, and the Brazilian has a chance to add his name to the leaderboard.

Here's a look at the current list of four-time winners in the Indy 500:

Most Career Indy 500 Wins
A.J. Foyt41961, 1964, 1967, 1977
Al Unser41970, 1971, 1978, 1987
Rick Mears41979, 1984, 1988, 1991
Helio Castroneves32001, 2002, 2009

Given the fact that Castroneves has navigated his way near the top of the pack when the green flag waves, look for him to make an early jump at the lead.

ESPN Stats & Info points out another important note for the 39-year-old's career:

While Castroneves hasn't won the race since 2009, he qualified in the second row for Sunday and could get off to a great start.

The Brazilian has shown throughout the weeks leading up to the race that he's a serious contender and will look to prove that with a chance at his fourth victory in the race.


Juan Pablo Montoya

In only one start at the famed Brickyard in the Indy 500, Juan Pablo Montoya has a win.

Back in 2000, the Colombian pulled past the field en route to a huge victory. Since that point, Montoya traded in his open-wheel machine for a stock car in NASCAR, but he's now back in the IndyCar series.

Making his second start in the Indy 500, Montoya told Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press that he is confident about his chances:

I’m starting to get cockier and cockier and cockier in the car. Your confidence starts to grow. To be honest, I think I have a really good shot at winning it. I really do. With my oval experience in NASCAR and knowing this place really well, and being with Team Penske, chances of winning don’t come much better than that.

During the 2000 running, Montoya dominated by leading 167 of 200 laps and took the win by a total of seven seconds. Though he hasn't driven in the race in over a decade, it's still a memorable feat for IndyCar fans.

Having the backing of Team Penske and the history that comes along with that as well, look for Montoya to run near the top of the pack for much of the Indy 500.


Kurt Busch

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 23:  Kurt Busch, driver of the #26 Suretone  Andretti Autosport Honda Dallara prepares to drive during final practice on Carb Day for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 23, 2014 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

While he might not be one to watch for his hopes of winning the famed race, Kurt Busch is certainly worthy of note.

The Outlaw, as he's known to NASCAR fans, will look to do double duty on Sunday in both sports. Busch's day will start with the Indy 500, where he's scheduled to make his first start in the IndyCar series at the track.

Following the Brickyard run, Busch will make his way to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600. In all, Busch is scheduled to run 1,100 miles between the two events, but just one driver—his NASCAR team owner, Tony Stewart in 2001—has ever completed every mile of the two races.

After failed attempts by Robby Gordon a decade ago, Busch will try to do what several others before him have not been able to accomplish.

Earning a top-10 finish would be huge, but simply racing every lap in Indy before heading to Charlotte makes this a huge race for Busch.


Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter: