Scott Dixon is seeking a second crown at the Indy 500 on Sunday as he returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway after taking pole in this race for the third time in his career.
The New Zealand native is one of seven former champions in the 2017 Indy 500 field, however, and Helio Castroneves boasts supreme pedigree entering Sunday's showdown in his search of title number four.
To do that, he'll need to fend off the challenge of two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso, and the Indianapolis rookie is sure to be in the debate for who will top the billing come Sunday evening.
Read on for a breakdown of the top storylines heading into Sunday's showstopper, complete with a look at the latest odds, courtesy of OddsShark:
|2017 Indy 500 Odds|
|Juan Pablo Montoya||12-1|
IndyStar provided a preview of Sunday's starting grid, with top qualifier Dixon up front, while No. 18 James Davison follows from the rear in 33rd:
The confirmed starting grid can be found at IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com.
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana
Date: Sunday, May 29
Start Time: 12:19 p.m. ET/5:19 p.m. BST
Live Stream: WatchESPN
In his 15th running of the Indy 500, Dixon has painted a target on his back after recording an incredible four-lap average of 232.164 miles per hour in qualifying, although it's not unfamiliar territory for the Kiwi.
This will be Dixon's third time starting No. 1 on the grid—the same position from which he won his only Indy 500 title to date (2008)—and Yahoo's Nick Bromberg hailed the 36-year-old as an understated icon of the sport:
He's far from the only experienced veteran up for another shot at their post-race victory milk chug, though, as South American phenomenon Castroneves, 42, prepares for his 17th consecutive run in the Indy 500.
However, Castroneves' chances of success this year don't appear to be that strong when considering OddsShark's Justin Hartling reported 11 of the previous 14 winners have come from the grid's front nine:
Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he's a gulf away from those positions as he prepares to start 19th, while fellow IndyCar great Juan Pablo Montoya, 41, sits just ahead of him at 18th.
Some legends of the sport will crusade to add to their silverware collections, but Pippa Mann may be content with setting a new female record as the only woman taking part in the 2017 edition of the race.
Legend Danica Patrick holds the female record for best starting position (fourth, 2005) and best finishing position (third, 2009) by any woman, both of which are accolades Mann will be hopeful of beating.
Exactly what the Daly Coyne driver's chance of doing so is up for debate, although the grid's No. 28 starter has shown signs in practice that she's looking to break down some barriers, per TrackSide Online:
And then there's the case of newcomer Alonso, one of four Indy 500 rookies in this year's field, who has run in among the favourites in the buildup to Sunday's blockbuster, and with good reason.
It may be more than a decade since the 2005 and 2006 Formula One champion won a world title in his natual field, but 2003 Indy winner Gil de Ferran has said the Spaniard can go all the way, per BBC Sport's Andrew Benson:
"Does Fernando have a chance to win the race this week? Absolutely. He has been competitive throughout the practices, he is in good shape, he is being supported by a great team but that's as far as I'm going to go."
Needless to say the field is wide open and with no way to predict exactly how another highly anticipated Indy 500 will unfold, but drama and entertainment are at least two things guaranteed.