Indy 500 2014: TV Schedule and Last-Second Look at Race's Top Storylines

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 19: Helio Castroneves of Brazil, driver of the #3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara during practice for the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 19, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

IndyCar's top drivers will circle the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 200 times on Sunday in hopes of netting the sport's grandest prize.

The Indianapolis 500 is IndyCar's Super Bowl, albeit sprinkled early into the season with the leaderboard still largely up in the air. This year presents its 98th running, yet another chance to enhance the storied event's rich history.

A long day awaits, so let's prepare by examining some of the top storylines on tap for this afternoon.


2014 Indianapolis 500

When: Sunday, May 25, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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

TV Info: ABC, noon-3:30 p.m. ET

Live Stream: ESPN3


Top Storylines 

Tony Kanaan Looks for Improbable Repeat

Tony Kanaan is the reigning Indy 500 champion, but you wouldn't know it from any discussions about 2014's running. Last year's winner isn't perceived as much of a contender this time around.

This year provides a perfect storm of competition, featuring established veterans looking to cement their legacy and fresh faces hitting their stride. Kanaan realizes the challenge that lies ahead, per USA Today's Nate Ryan:

It's also fair to doubt his ability to reclaim the checkered flag. For starters, he boasts just one IndyCar victory over the past four years and has not mustered a single top-five finish in 2014.

A massive target is firmly locked on his back as he looks to prove 2013's victory was more than a fluke. The 39-year-old may have escaped with his signature win last year, but the chances of replicating that effort look slim.


Helio Castroneves' Quest for History

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 19: Helio Castroneves of Brazil, driver of the #3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara is seen on pit road during practice for the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 19, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Mic
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Another past winner looks to return to the podium once again, as Helio Castroneves can etch his name into the record books with another Indy 500 victory.

He wouldn't hold the landmark achievement for himself, but adding to his current three first-place finishes would vault the 39-year-old into a tie for the most wins at the event, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

The legend jumped out to a quick start, winning the decorated race during his first two tries in 2001 and 2002. Since then, he has not crossed the finish line first since 2009.

Yet the Team Penske veteran is currently ranked fourth in the IndyCar standings, so don't report his demise just yet. He has generated top-10 finishes in all but two of his 13 Indy 500 ventures. His fourth-place starting spot represents his most fruitful opening position since 2010.

Castroneves gets yet another chance at immortality on Sunday. Let's see if he converts this time.


Standings Leaders Fight to Remain on Top

BIRMINGHAM, AL - APRIL 27:  Ryan Hunter-Reay drives the #28 Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda celebrates winning the Honda Indy Car Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 27, 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Image
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Two of IndyCar's early achievers will have their work cut out for them in their quest to maintain prime real estate on the leaderboard.

Will Power, no relation to Max, stands in first with 149 points, one ahead of 2012 standings champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. He's earned one win while mustering top-10 finishes in all four races this year.

INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 17:  Will Power of Australia, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara, waits to qualify for the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 17, 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jona
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Yet Power has claimed 18 of his 20 career victories on road or street course, placing him at a disadvantage on the oval. He can pull that monkey off his back for good by prevailing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Hunter-Reay is riding right on his tail with one victory and three top-five finishes. He also leads all drivers with 109 laps led, a testament to his steady performance all year. 

But he starts all the way back in Row 7 after a disappointing 19th-place showing during the qualifying run. He'll have to climb ahead to rapidly erase that deficit a year after finishing in third at last year's Indy 500.