When the 33 cars entered into this year’s Indianapolis 500 take the green flag Sunday, they will all be looking to make history. This year several storylines have emerged ahead of the race, showing just how important the event is in the world of motorsport.
Heading into Sunday’s race, Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves will be looking to join an exclusive club of drivers to win the 500 on four different occasions. A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears have all achieved the feat Castroneves will be chasing once again come Sunday.
Ever since Castroneves won his third 500 back in 2009 he has entered the race every year with a chance to make history. However, this time around the stakes seem a little different. For the first time in his Indy 500 career, Castroneves enters the month of May without a full-time IndyCar ride. Perhaps this year, with seemingly nothing to lose, Castroneves will finally be able to break through.
Castroneves will start this year’s race from eighth place on the grid.
Another way history could be made Sunday is if Danica Patrick is finally able to visit the winner’s circle at Indianapolis, in the final race of her career. If Patrick wins Sunday, it would likely be one of the most momentous events in the race’s 107-year history.
While Patrick may seem an unlikely victor for this year’s race, it is worth noting she is the first female to lead laps at Indianapolis and has finished in the top five twice. This year Patrick is driving the #13 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, a team whose three cars have looked very strong all month. Patrick lines up seventh Sunday.
While a victory by Danica Patrick on Sunday would likely make headlines across the world, a win by Marco Andretti would be a major story in the motorsport community.
Andretti, whose family name is synonymous with auto racing, enters this year’s race a seasoned veteran. In 12 previous 500s Andretti’s results have not been exactly where the 31-year-old would like. His debut in 2006 was the most impressive of his previous attempts, losing the race to Sam Hornish Jr by just 0.0365 seconds.
This year Andretti lines up from 12th and will look to bring his #98 US Concrete Honda to the front of the pack in order to race for the win in the closing stages.
Starting from pole position this year is hometown favourite Ed Carpenter, who won his third Indy 500 pole last Sunday. While Carpenter’s cars in recent years have looked rather impressive in practice and qualifying, his results have been somewhat lackluster. In 14 previous races Carpenter has only three top fives to his name.
This year’s 500 is sure to be an unpredictable event. If recent years are to go by, look for teams to take advantage of different fuel strategies in attempt to get their cars to the front of the field as the laps wind down.
Pre-race coverage gets underway at 15:30 BST on BT Sport 1, with the green flag scheduled for 17:21.