No American has won the Indianapolis 500, the most prestigious race in the sport, in the last eight years, but a group of 10 U.S. compatriots look to end that record drought Sunday afternoon in the 98 th running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Americans make up nearly a third of the 33 racer field gunning for a drink of the milk and perhaps none is more poised than 27-year-old and lineage-rich Marco Andretti.
Starting from the No. 6 position and showing excellent promise after posting an incredible practice lap of 232.239 mph that no one has seen in more than a decade, the Andretti Autosport racer figures to be one of the favored Americans to run away with the checkered flag since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006.
In 137 career IndyCar starts, Andretti counts two wins and four poles, and he finished second at the 500 in 2006 and fourth in 2013.
Americans have won in Indy 42 times, compared to 26 victories for international drivers.
Drivers To Watch
Australia’s Will Power holds a slim one point lead over American Ryan Hunter-Reay in the IndyCar Series standings, and with the points for the 500, Pocono and Fontana now worth double this season there could be a huge shake up Sunday.
Thirty-year-old Simon Pagenaud, competing in his third straight 500 and presently third in the standings, will start from the No. 5 position.
Three-time winner Helio Castroneves of Penske Racing is at the No. 4 slot. He hasn’t finished higher than sixth since capturing consecutive 500 titles in 2009 in 2010 but his experience on the track trumps most any other racer. Castroneves also has the opportunity to be the fourth driver in history to claim the 500 four times.
And pole winner Ed Carpenter, who posted the best four-lap average of 231.067, holds down the No. 1 slot, where 20 drivers, by far the most in history, have claimed the 500.
In 2013 Brazil’s Tony Kanaan led 34 laps, including the final three and kept then-rookie Carlos Munoz at bay following a restart before three-time Dario Franchitti crashed and a caution lap. Kanaan picked up a $2.5 million payday, after failing in his first 11 attempts at Indy.
Kanaan and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate 2008 500-winner Scott Dixon finished Friday’s Carb Day in first and second respectively, with Kanaan notching a 227.838 mph average and Dixon just behind at 227.773 mph.
As drivers reach speeds upwards of 240 mph, the track is sure to be a smooth ride throughout the race, with no expected chance of Mother Nature causing a delay or hazardous conditions. The weather forecast calls for a high of 80-degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 58-degrees, with partly cloudy skies and a zero percent chance of rain.
Start Time: Sunday, May 25, 12 p.m. EST