Indy 500 2013: Breaking Down Top Contenders Who'll Shine at Indianapolis

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIMay 22, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 12: James Hinchcliffe of Canada driver of the #27 Andretti Autosport Dallara Chevrolet waits in pit lane during Indianapolis 500 practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 12, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The most prestigious racing event of the year will take place this weekend when the world's top drivers battle it out for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 title.

Whether you're a die-hard fan or just another casual-onlooker, there's always plenty of action and interest to be found at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—and this year should be no different, with a talent-filled field and several strong title contenders.

Which big-name drivers are most likely to shine at the Indy 500 this year?

Read on and find out.

Dario Franchitti, Car No. 10

Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti will come into this year's race as the defending champion, and will certainly fancy his chances of repeating that success.

The seasoned veteran has shown to be very strong in big races, and is looking to establish himself amongst racing's elite with the most victories at the Brickyard—something that he could do here with his fourth Indy 500 title.

It would also be his third title in four years.

The 40-year-old struggled in qualifying and couldn't finish any higher than 17th for the big race, which will no doubt affect his chances at taking the checkered flag. 

However, keep in mind that Franchitti started in 16th last year and still won—so don't rule him out just yet.

James Hinchcliffe, Car No. 27

After qualifying inside the top 10, James Hinchcliffe will definitely be a big threat to watch out for on the track this year. He is arguably the hottest IndyCar racer going around at the moment having won two of the four IndyCar Series races in 2013, and while his season has also seen him chalk up two last-place finishes, he will definitely be a contender worth keeping an eye on.

Hinchcliffe is part of a great team and has a strong qualifying spot to start from, which, if he gets off to a good start, could be all he needs to clinch victory.

Ed Carpenter, Car No. 20

Ed Carpenter certainly wasn't on the radar coming into the Indy 500, but after a blistering qualifying time, he'll start from pole position. 

And given that 20 drivers have previously won the Indy 500 starting from pole position, he must be considered a real chance here.

IndyCar Series @IndyCar

#PoleWinner. http://t.co/MUPM1SskBy

He won the IndyCar Series race held at Fontana last year, and could well find similar success on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's high-speed track.

The self-owned, single-car team driver won't have the advantages of having teammates on the track, which could cost him a chance at creating history here.

However, he has shown to be more than capable of handling the various threats from Andretti Autosport and Team Penske—beating whatever the two big teams had to offer in qualifying. He'll be looking to do the same again with a wire-to-wire victory here, and has to be considered a huge contender as a result.

Official Starting Order for the 2013 Indy 500

Start Position Driver Car No.
1 Ed Carpenter 20
2 Carlos Munoz 26
3 Marco Andretti 25
4 EJ Viso 5
5 AJ Allmendinger 2
6 Will Power 12
7 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1
8 Helio Castroneves 3
9 James Hinchcliffe 27
10 JR Hildebrand 4
11 Alex Tagliani 98
12 Tony Kanaan 11
13 Oriol Servia 22
14 Justin Wilson 19
15 Sebastien Bordais 7
16 Scott Dixon 9
17 Dario Franchitti 10
18 Takuma Sato 14
19 Charlie Kimball 83
20 James Jakes 16
21 Simon Pagenaud 77
22 Townsend Bell 60
23 Ryan Briscoe 8
24 Simona De Silvestro 78
25 Josef Newgarden 21
26 Graham Rahal 15
27 Sebastian Saavedra 6
28 Tristan Vautier 55
29 Ana Beatriz 18
30 Pippa Mann 63
31 Conor Daly 41
32 Buddy Lazier 91
33 Katherine Legge 81

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