As the final hours tick away before the 95th running of the Indianapolis 500 commences, the race has attracted more intrigue than perhaps any 500 of the last decade.
One hundred years after Ray Harroun's landmark victory, the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" has obviously undergone drastic changes. However, much of the excitement in this year's race can be attributed to the gradual return to tradition by both the race and the series.
This year, the 33-car field is flooded with underdogs and one-off teams who have as much of a chance at the Borg-Warner trophy as the Goliath organizations of Ganassi and Penske. Moreover, at this year's qualifications, nobody was safe as two of the seven entries that missed the field belonged to Andretti Autosport, the third largest team in the series.
Returning next year will be a team's liberty to choose what aero-kit/engine package they will run, ending the near-decade dominance by Dallara and Honda. Also in 2012, the turbocharger, which was once a signature of open-wheel racing and the Indy 500, will make its return.
This Sunday's race has many analysts and long-time fans on the edge of their seats, and the green flag has yet to be waved. So, amidst a pack of dark horses, slower-than-expected established teams and the usual front-runners, who should keep an eye out for?