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Indy 500 Lineup 2018: Starting Grid and Breakdown of Sunday's Thrilling Event

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 24, 2018

Helio Castroneves, of Brazil, heads into the first turn during a practice session for the IndyCar Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis Monday, May 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

One of the most exciting events in motorsports runs for the 102nd time Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 2018 Indianapolis 500 carries plenty of storylines, from Helio Castroneves going for his fourth victory to Danica Patrick's final race.

Ed Carpenter will lead the 33-driver field to the green flag after he took pole position with a four-lap average speed of 229.618 miles per hour in qualifying.

Much of the pre-race attention will be on the group two rows back of Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, as Patrick and Castroneves start alongside each other in seventh and eighth.

       

Starting Grid

Row 1: Ed Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power

Row 2: Josef Newgarden, Sebastien Bourdais, Spencer Pigot

Row 3: Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon

Row 4: Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist, Marco Andretti

Row 5: Zachary Claman DeMelo, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Charlie Kimball

Row 6: Takuma Sato, Kyle Kaiser, Robert Wickens

Row 7: James Davison, Max Chilton, Carlos Munoz

Row 8: Gabby Chaves, Stefan Wilson, Sage Karam

Row 9: Zach Veach, Oriol Servia, JR Hildebrand

Row 10: Jay Howard, Ed Jones, Graham Rahal

Row 11: Jack Harvey, Alexander Rossi, Conor Daly

    

Breakdown

It's easy to point at the drivers starting in the first three rows and call them the favorites, and that becomes a fairer assumption once you see the names. However, the most dangerous racer in the field could be one who starts in 32nd position, in the middle of Row 11.

Alexander Rossi, who won the 2016 Indy 500, had a punctured right front tire on his final qualification attempt. He sits second in the IndyCar Series standings behind Josef Newgarden.

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Newgarden is the only driver with multiple wins on the IndyCar circuit this season, while Rossi, Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power have one each. Of the 33 drivers in the field, six enter with previous victories in the Indy 500, with Castroneves the most prolific.

Rossi, defending champion Takuma Sato, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay are the other past winners, and there are plenty of top talents looking for their first win at the Indy 500. That includes pole-sitter and Indiana native Ed Carpenter.

Carpenter has one of five Chevrolets in the top six starting positions, and if you go further down the starting grid, there are 10 Chevrolets in the top 15 compared to five Hondas.

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Since the turn of the century, Honda has been the dominant manufacturer at the Indy 500, as it won all but two races since 2004.

Kanaan in 2013 and Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015 were the only drivers in that span to put a Chevrolet in Victory Lane, but that trend appears to be changing for what should be an action-packed day.

     

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

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