There wasn't a better time for the media blackout around the Indianapolis 500 to get lifted.
For the first time since 1950, the Indy 500 gets a live broadcast in its locale for its 100th edition after selling out. The ABC and SportsCenter family has big plans for the spectacle—as it should given not only the on-track action but the accompanying storylines.
Whether it's James Hinchcliffe's return or major names such as Marco Andretti looking to power through and make a bit of history, the 2016 Indy 500 has a little bit of something for everyone.
With the basics out of the way, here's everything to know about the event.
2016 Indy 500
When: Sunday at noon ET
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Live Stream: WatchESPN
|Pole Position||Driver||Driver||Pole Position|
|1||James Hinchcliffe||Josef Newgarden||2|
|3||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Townsend Bell||4|
|5||Carlos Munoz||Will Power||6|
|7||Mikhail Aleshin||Simon Pagenaud||8|
|9||Helio Castroneves||Oriol Servia||10|
|11||Alexander Rossi||Takuma Sato||12|
|13||Scott Dixon||Marco Andretti||14|
|15||JR Hildebrand||Charlie Kimball||16|
|17||Juan Pablo Montoya||Tony Kanaan||18|
|19||Sebastien Bourdais||Ed Carpenter||20|
|21||Gabby Chaves||Max Chilton||22|
|23||Sage Karam||Conor Daly||24|
|25||Pippa Mann||Graham Rahal||26|
|27||Matt Brabham||Bryan Clauson||28|
|29||Spencer Pigot||Stefan Wilson||30|
|31||Jack Hawksworth||Buddy Lazier||32|
Storylines to Watch
The Andretti Drought
Andretti wouldn't mind getting the family monkey off his back.
Meaning, of course, he'd like to not come up in stats such as this, as shared by ESPN Stats & Info:
Marco has done his fair share of contributing, having placed second as a rookie in 2006 and finished sixth or better in each of his past three outings.
He enters Sunday sitting 14th and doesn't sound too pleased about the situation.
"We were all over the place setup-wise," he said, according to ESPN.com's John Oreovicz. "I think we have a direction, but we weren't able to confirm it so we need to watch how much we read into Carb Day. Looking forward to getting back out there at the end of the week."
There's no question Andretti has the talent to compete and seizing a checkered flag from farther back on the grid isn't impossible. If he can parlay his strong recent outings at the event to a win, he'll shake one of the sport's bigger storylines away.
James Hinchcliffe's Return
By now, most must be familiar with the storyline around Hinchcliffe.
Hinchcliffe suffered a near-fatal crash last year and is back for a redemption story on the biggest stage possible—even more so than usual with the media blackout lifted.
He got started on the right foot too, winning the pole despite the always-intense qualifying period.
Suffice to say he's an inspiration, with drivers such as Ryan Hunter-Reay quick to praise his journey, as captured by Mike Hembree of USA Today:
Nobody can really describe the position he was put in and the courage he had to not only come out of that and work through it but to get back in the car and push to the absolute limit—to 110 [percent].
You look at the fact that the car failed him and he almost lost his life. There’s a certain area there where I think only drivers can understand it. That was very inspirational to me.
Indeed, Hinchcliffe will be the center of coverage and deservedly so. The fact he's running so well only makes it all the better, especially in an event he's only tallied one top-10 finish in thus far.
It's hard to imagine anyone would complain if Hinchcliffe gets a Disney-esque finish to his incredible journey.
Juan Pablo Montoya vs. Simon Pagenaud
Wait, these two are teammates?
It's been an odd season for both, with Simon Pagenaud getting the best of Juan Pablo Montoya so far.
USA Today captured the disparity well:
It makes for an interesting storyline, to say the least.
Montoya is arguably the bigger household name, especially after winning the Indy 500 last year and now looking for a historic third win. But it's Pagenaud who has been on an epic tear this year and ranks first after pulling in three successive checkered flags and having yet to finish worse than second over all five races.
So oddly enough, it's Montoya looking to prove himself after falling behind, and he'll have to do so out of the 17th slot. Pagenaud operates from the eighth.
In an ideal world, the two duel one another down the stretch, making for an incredible finish.