2014 Indianapolis Indy 500: IndyCar Starting Line-up & Race Preview
Helio Castroneves during Carb Day for the Indianapolis 500.
Credit: PaddockTalk/ Lisa Hurley
By Mike Sulka
Round five of the 2014 Indycar season is the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. The four cornered oval is the only 2.5-mile oval on the IndyCar circuit, its turns banked at 9 degrees. The straights have no banking to speak of and are an equal 3,330 feet on the frontstretch and the backstretch. If all the seats are full, the facilities can hold over 255,000 fans. If the weather is nice, tens of thousands more fans can take their place on the infield viewing mounds.
As for the drivers, here is an amazing stat: Only six of the 33 drivers that will race Sunday have ever won the Indianapolis 500 - Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan are regulars in the series. Juan Pablo Montoya has returned to IndyCar full-time this season while Jacques Villeneuve and Buddy Lazier are one-offs.
Castroneves is the most successful current IndyCar driver in the 33-car field having won three Indy 500s (2001 & 2002 & 2009), this year he'll start fourth. But guess where two of his three Indy 500 wins have started ? That's right - 10th or worse. In 2001, the Brazilian - racing for Team Penske -started 11th, and in 2002 he started 13th. His other victory, came from the Pole position in 2009.
Where might the winner come from at the brickyard if Castroneves doesn't take a legend-making fourth win ?
The five of the last eight Indianapolis 500 races have been won from the front row, and three of those eight (and four of the last ten) have been won by the Pole-sitter which should give American Polesitter Ed Carpenter - who put up a 231.067 4-lap average - a chance to smile.
Where you don't want to qualify is second quick.
The last driver to win after qualifying in the middle of the front row was Formula One and NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000. You'll have to look hard for the next most recent victor from second on the grid which was Mario Andretti way back in 1969. Qualifying second isn't just the first loser at Indianapolis, it is also a bad omen for race day.
Sorry, James Hinchcliffe.
Third on the starting grid however, is almost as good as a Pole. Since Andretti's win in '69, 18 Polesitters have won the legendary race, while ten of those starting third have won. Stated another way, 28 of the last 46 Indianapolis 500s have been won from those two starting positions.
That might mean good news is in the offing for Will Power who starts third for the Team Penske IndyCar team.
And here is one more stat for you, Honda has won every Indianapolis 500 since 2004 - except last year when Kanaan brought his Chevrolet in for the win.
Will Honda be back this year ?
As for our pick , we are going to go with Helio Castroneves to take his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory... finally. He's been waiting for win number four for the last five years.
Should Castroneves fail, there are a host of talented drivers behind, and any driver in the top-ten qualifiers could turn a long race into victory given the right circumstances.
Enjoy the second race of the day - following the 2014 Formula One F1 Monaco Grand Prix - as the Memorial Day festivities continue! The IndyCar series is an exciting series to watch!
Pos Num Driver Engine Speed
1. 20 Ed Carpenter Chevrolet 231.067
2. 27 James Hinchcliffe Honda 230.839
3. 12 Will Power Chevrolet 230.697
4. 3 Helio Castroneves Chevrolet 230.649
5. 77 Simon Pagenaud Honda 230.614
6. 25 Marco Andretti Honda 230.544
7. 34 Carlos Munoz Honda 230.146
8. 67 Josef Newgarden Honda 229.893
9. 21 JR Hildebrand Chevrolet 228.726
10. 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 231.007
11. 9 Scott Dixon Chevrolet 230.928
12. 26 Kurt Busch Honda 230.782
13. 98 Jack Hawksworth Honda 230.506
14. 19 Justin Wilson Honda 230.256
15. 7 Mikhail Aleshin Honda 230.049
16. 10 Tony Kanaan Chevrolet 229.922
17. 11 Sebastien Bourdais Chevrolet 229.847
18. 16 Oriol Servia Honda 229.752
19. 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Honda 229.719
20. 15 Graham Rahal 229.628
21. 18 Carlos Huertas Honda 229.251
22. 63 Pippa Mann Honda 229.223
23. 14 Takuma Sato Honda 229.201
24. 68 Alex Tagliani Honda 229.148
25. 6 Townsend Bell Chevrolet 229.009
26. 84 Charlie Kimball Chevrolet 228.949
27. 5 Jacques Villeneuve Honda 228.949
28. 33 James Davison Chevrolet 228.865
29. 41 Martin Plowman Honda 228.814
30. 8 Ryan Briscoe Chevrolet 228.713
31. 22 Sage Karam 228.436
32. 17 Sebastian Saavedra Chevrolet 228.088
33. 91 Buddy Lazier Chevrolet 227.920