The magnificence of the Indianapolis 500 never seems to change no matter what year, decade or century. In 2014, the 98th edition is no different with a field of quality drivers set to battle it out on Sunday May 25th. The biggest question before every Indy 500 race is who has a shot at drinking the milk and standing next to the Borg Warner Trophy.
In 2014, the IndyCar season has already had a race at the hallowed grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, using the road course for the first time. Simon Pagenaud came out the winner and is one of the hottest drivers in the series. Tony Kanaan won the Indy 500 last year in his 12th attempt and comes into this season driving for a new team with Chip Ganassi – and has just as good a chance at doing it again. Others to watch for include Helio Castroneves who has more wins at Indy than any other current driver, plus don’t forget Ed Carpenter who has now won the pole back-to-back. Might any of these drivers be the possible winner? Here are the top five with the likely winner listed last.
5. Scott Dixon – You can never rule out the Kiwi in any race and the Indy 500 is no exception. Although Dixon has a win and eight Top 10s at the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’, the Chip Ganassi Racing team as a whole has been a tad behind. However, Dixon appeared to find some speed in practice recently; so, combined with the fact that he has led more laps than any other current driver, expect him to be near or at the top of the leaderboard at some time during the race.
4. Ed Carpenter – He may be a part-time racer on his own team but the Hoosier has a knack for speed at circle tracks and Indianapolis is no different. Carpenter has earned the last two poles for the Indy 500 and although he finished 10th a year ago, he led 37 laps and was a threat for most of the race. Don’t be surprised if he is in front at some time during the race and who knows, his little team might be able to pull off a win.
3. Marco Andretti – Much was, is and will be expected of Marco with a last name that has been synonymous with IndyCar. The Pennsylvanian has had mixed results at Indianapolis with four top fours, but three finishes outside the Top 20. Andretti has looked fast at times recently – but will that translate into a winning effort? Certainly the Andretti’s have been snake-bitten at Indy with Mario’s one victory back in the ‘60s, all the family can show for the greatness the Andretti’s have produced. The hunch is to expect Marco at the front somewhere along the line. Will that translate into a win?
2. Helio Castroneves – He’s the most accomplished of all active drivers at Indianapolis. Helio has three swigs of the milk so far, plus nine Top 10s in 11 Indy 500s. No one else has those credentials and along with four poles, Castroneves has always had a knack for being near the front at Indy on a regular basis. It would be surprising if the Brazilian isn’t at the front when it matters.
1. Juan Pablo Montoya – Are the stars lined up again for the 2000 winner from Colombia? JP was out of IndyCar for 13 years, but has shown improvement all year and now is impressively fast in recent practices. Montoya all but dominated in his only other Indy 500 attempt – which he won – yet that might not be possible with a much more competitive field now. Still, there appears to be a swagger that’s back with Juan and a second Indy 500 is his to lose. That’s not likely as Juan Pablo Montoya adds a second Borg Warner Trophy to the mantle.
Sources: Racing Reference, IndyCar