The words 'Indianapolis 500' remain enough to give drivers goose bumps

Posted Saturday, May. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
Five to watch Marco Andretti: Has led laps in all but two of his Indianapolis starts. Loves his car this year. But he, being an Andretti, has had his share of bad luck at the Brickyard. AJ Allmendinger: Disgraced by a substance abuse ban in NASCAR, but the five-time Champ Car winner is getting another chance from Penske Racing with its open-wheel cars. James Hinchcliffe: He’s won two races this year, although both were street courses. But he and his team have figured out something, and it may show up on the ovals, too. Ryan Hunter-Reay: Never had much luck at Indy, although he ran sixth his first time. But he is the defending series champion, with wins in five of his past 12 starts. Takuma Sato: Won the respect of Indy fans last year with a bold gamble for a pass and the lead into Turn 1 of the final lap. But he miscalculated, crashed, and Dario Franchitti held on. Storylines The next to four: Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti each have three Indy 500 victories. There are only three drivers with four: A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. But if Castroneves or Franchitti do it this year, the winner would have reached four faster than anyone. The generations: Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal are trying to add to the family legacy. Marco is the grandson of 1969 winner Mario, the only member of the family to win at Indy, and Rahal is the son of 1986 winner Bobby Rahal. Tony’s time? Tony Kanaan keeps plugging away. One of the most dependable starters in IndyCar history is making his 12th Indy 500 start, and he’s led it eight times. But not when it counts. Not yet. The women of Indy: Four women are in the field, including Pippa Mann, who is racing for the first time since being hurt in the 2011 Las Vegas crash that killed Dan Wheldon. The other female starters are Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge and Simona de Silvestro. Rookie surprise: Carlos Munoz, a Columbian who is leading the developmental series, popped up and earned a start on the front row. Watch out as he navigates the first turn, a tricky task for any rookie. By the numbers 1 The winning car number seven times at Indy, but not since 1971. Defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay is driving the 1. 20 Times the pole-sitter has won, most recently in 2009. 5 Back-to-back winners, most recently Helio Castroneves in 2001 and 2002. 8 Rookie winners, most recently Helio Castroneves in 2001. 92 Most laps led from the start, by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1990. 12 Most leaders in the race, in 1993. Six times, there have been 10 leaders. The fewest is two, most recently 1965. Lineup
Pos., driverMakeLap (mph)
1. (20) Ed CarpenterChevy1:37.3689 (228.762)
2. (26) Carlos MunozChevy1:37.6581 (228.342)
3. (25) Marco AndrettiChevy1:37.7139 (228.261)
4. (5) E.J. VisoChevy1:37.7907 (228.150)
5. (2) AJ AllmendingerChevy1:37.8264 (228.099)
6. (12) Will PowerChevy1:37.8342 (228.087)
7. (1) Ryan Hunter-ReayChevy1:37.9614 (227.904)
8. (3) Helio CastronevesChevy1:38.0596 (227.762)
9. (27) James HinchcliffeChevy1:38.5411 (227.070)
10. (4) JR HildebrandChevy1:38.2830 (227.441)
11. (98) Alex TaglianiHonda1:38.3209 (227.386)
12. (11) Tony KanaanChevy1:38.6260 (226.949)
13. (22) Oriol ServiaChevy1:38.7206 (226.814)
14. (19) Justin WilsonHonda1:39.0318 (226.370)
15. (7) Sebastien BourdaisChevy1:39.1543 (226.196)
16. (9) Scott DixonHonda1:39.1808 (226.158)
17. (10) Dario FranchittiHonda1:39.2434 (226.069)
18. (14) Takuma SatoHonda1:39.3681 (225.892)
19. (83) Charlie KimballHonda1:39.3768 (225.880)
20. (16) James JakesHonda1:39.4268 (225.809)
21. (77) Simon PagenaudHonda1:39.5219 (225.674)
22. (60) Townsend BellChevy1:39.5438 (225.643)
23. (8) Ryan BriscoeHonda1:39.8117 (225.265)
24. (78) Simona de SilvestroChevy1:39.8398 (225.226)
25. (21) Josef NewgardenHonda1:39.4816 (225.731)
26. (15) Graham RahalHonda1:39.9948 (225.007)
27. (6) Sebastian SaavedraChevy1:40.0503 (224.929)
28. (55) Tristan VautierHonda1:40.0907 (224.873)
29. (18) Ana BeatrizHonda1:40.5823 (224.184)
30. (63) Pippa MannHonda1:40.7109 (224.005)
31. (41) Conor DalyHonda1:41.0145 (223.582)
32. (91) Buddy LazierChevy1:41.1158 (223.442)
33. (81) Katherine LeggeHonda1:41.3079 (223.176)
Car number in parentheses; all cars Dallara chassis
More information Indianapolis 500 Prerace 10 a.m., race at 11 a.m. today, WFAA/Ch. 8

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The sun rises at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the drivers stop.

They know where they are and what day it is.

Race day at the Indianapolis 500.

“When I walk into this place, I get the chills,” three-time winner Helio Castroneves said. “It’s just amazing.

“We went to the museum the first night and to see all the history of this place, it’s incredible. It’s never the same. Always there is something different.”

Sunday another part of the history at “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will be written with the running of the 97th Indy 500.

Castroneves, a Brazilian, and Dario Franchitti, a Scotsman, each have a chance for a fourth Indy 500 victory, a feat only three other drivers have accomplished.

No wonder Castroneves gets chills.

“I have to say, every time, in any race, but especially this one, when you start playing the national anthem, and the Indianapolis song, everything… that’s when the butterfly goes in your stomach,” he said. “And it is awesome. Especially when you have the crowd there. Oh, my God, guys. It’s the best feeling in the world.”

The drivers all want to feel the same way after the race, but few more than Marco Andretti.

He is the latest hope for the long-suffering Andretti family, which has gone more than four decades since Marco’s grandfather, Mario, won the Borg-Warner Trophy in 1969.

Since then, various members of the family have come close and failed, often out of plain bad luck.

“My family and I live our life around this sport and that race in particular,” Marco said. “I’d feel more complete, for sure.”

The IndyCar Series is not the biggest racing series in the world, but the site of its fifth stop remains the most famous track in the world.

And a victory still puts a racer in history.

“I mean, it’s the prestige of the race,” said driver AJ Allmendinger. “If you’re not even a race fan, you don’t really know anything about racing, but you say you won the Indianapolis 500, they know that’s pretty special.… It would be special to have my face on that trophy, have that trophy in your trophy case.

“And, you know, once you become an Indy 500 winner, that will never be taken away. You’re part of a special club. And that, to me, is what makes this race so amazing, the fact that it doesn’t matter who you say it to, if you say you’re an Indianapolis 500 champion, that’s pretty special.”

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @calexmendez

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