Marco Andretti, the grandson of racing legend Mario, enters the 97th running of the “Greatest Spectable In Sports” as the heavy favorite, but hopes to be the first Andretti to win at the Brickyard since 1969.
At 19 years old, Marco Andretti nearly ended the decades long curse in 2006 before Sam Hornish Jr. outlasted him. Since then no other American has won the Indianapolis 500, a race the U.S. has traditionally dominated for 74 victories.
Andretti starts off Sunday’s race in the front row with fellow American Ed Carpenter, and Columbian rookie Carlos Munoz. The 32-year-old Carpenter will be the first owner/driver to participate in the race since 1975.
No rookie has led off in the front row since Juan Pablo Montoya, a countryman of Munoz’s. Back in 2000 Montoya converted one of the top slots into a victory.
The rookie’s joining Munoz are AJ Allmendinger, Conor Daly, and Tristan Vautier.
Four women racers will join those rookies Sunday, counting Simona de Silvestro from Switzerland, Brazil’s Ana Beatriz, and Pippa Mann and Katherine Legge from Great Britain.
Standing in Andretti’s, the rookie’s, and the women’s way will be two of the world’s top racers in Dario Franchitti and Helio Castroneves.
Both Franchitti and Castroneves are in line to drink their fourth bottle of cold milk, though the Scottish Franchitti has won two of the last three 500s. The only other drivers to win the race four times were A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears.
The race begins at 12 p.m. and will be broadcast by ABC, or live online stream is available here that can be watched at the viewer’s discretion.
Prediction: It should come down to Andretti or Franchitti, with the Scotsman taking the checkered flag.