2017 Indy 500 preview

32 men and 1 woman will answer the call of the 101st Indianapolis 500 of the 33 drivers 7 are previous winners that have combined for 10 wins and 4 rookies they hail from 12 different countries these 33 brave warriors will look to win the famous Borg-Warner Trophy and chug the traditional winner’s milk. Let’s preview the field by starting order,

Pole: Scott Dixon: Best Finish 1st (2008): The 2008 500 mile champion from New Zealand earned the pole on Sunday’s qualifying looking for his face to be carved onto the Borg-Warner for the 2nd time. Dixon led 115 of the 200 laps on his way to victory in 2008 where he also started from the pole. He’ll be hard to beat on Raceday.

2nd: Ed Carpenter: Best Finish 5th (2008): The Indianapolis native who always seems to have a fast car here will make his 14th run for the milk in 2013 and 14 he sat on the pole and seemed to have victory in grasp in 2014 but late race crash broke his heart. He looks to finally achieve his lifelong dream.

3rd: Alexander Rossi: Best Finish 1st (2016): The defending 500-mile race champion who had just enough fuel to limp across the line last year in first place becoming one of those rare rookie winners. It’s been a tough year for the 25-year-old from California since that win. He looks to become the first repeat winner in 15 years.

4th: Takuma Sato: Best Finish 13th (2013, 2015): The forty-year-old from Japan still haunted by 2012 where he entered the last lap in 2nd place but crashed entering turn one trying to pass Dario Franchitti who went onto his 3rd and final win in the great race. He drives for the legendary A.J. Foyt one of three four-time winners of the great race and looks to join him in the club on Indy winners.

5th: Fernando Alonso: Rookie: The two-time Formula One World Champion from Spain is considered by many to be the odds one favorite to win in his first try.

6th: J.R. Hildebrand: Best Finish 2nd (2011): One of the most tragic figures in the race’s history leading in 2011 coming out of turn four on the final lap got loose and smashed into the wall, allowing the late great Dan Wheldon to pass him for his 2nd and final win in the race after his tragic death in the final race of that 2011 season in Las Vegas. Hilderbrand will look to shake that demon once and for all on Raceday.

7th: Tony Kanaan: Best Finish 1st (2013): The 42-year-old from Brazil finally had his day in 2013 after years and years of bad luck and frustration he will start his engine for the 16th time in the great race. He always has speed here and looks to win for the 2nd time.

8th: Marco Andretti: Best Finish 2nd (2006): The 30-year-old will look to finally end the great Andretti drought. Marco, his grandfather Mario, father Michael, Cousin John, and Uncle Jeff, they’ve started 73 500-mile races combined and only Mario in 1969 salvaged victory. One of the families biggest heartbreaks came in 2006 where Marco was passed by Sam Hornish Jr. just inches from the finish line on the last lap. Every year it seems that an Andretti runs well only to have late race problems that ruin their chances. Marco looks to finally end that drought this year.

9th: Will Power: Best Finish 2nd (2015): The 36-year-old from Australia is the highest starting Penske driver and will look to deliver owner Roger Penske his 17th win in the 500-mile race. Power always seems to have speed but hasn’t been able to breakthrough.

10th: Ryan Hunter-Reay: Best Finish 1st (2014): The 36-year-old is the most accomplished American Driver in the field. His win in 2014 is one of the greatest finishes in race history in a nip and tuck battle with Helio Castroneves that he won by the blink of an eye.

11th: Ed Jones: Rookie: The 22-year old from Britan who currently lives in Dubai the 2nd of the four rookies in the field driving for Dale Coyne will look to make it back to back rookie winners.

12th: Oriol Servia: Best Finish 4th (2012): The 42-year-old Spaniard is in his fifteenth season and has yet to win a single race, he posted back to back strong finishes in 2011 and 2012 but has finished no better than 11th in the years since.

13th: Mikhail Aleshin: Best Finish 21st (2014): Aleshin was the first and remains the only Russian driver in the history of the 500-mile race his debut in 2014 was the first race of his career not on a road course.

14th: Graham Rahal: Best Finish 3rd (2011): The son of 1986 500 winner Bobby Rahal who owns the team that Graham now races along with David Letterman, looks to put the name Rahal alongside Unser as the only family to have multiple 500 winners.

15th: Max Chilton: Best Finish 16th (2016): The 26-year-old Brit came over from Formula One last year to join the might of Chip Ganassi Racing it’s not been easy for him so far he makes his 2nd run for the Milk.

16th: Charlie Kimball: Best Finish 3rd (2015): Kimball also racing under the flag of Ganassi, he races with type one diabetes he is injected with insulin twice a race and has a juice mix in his car if his blood sugar gets low. It would be emotional for him if he can win.

17th: James Hinchcliffe: Best Finish 6th (2012): The 30-year-old from Canada who nearly died on this very track two years ago during practice. His car’s suspension broke and it slammed into the wall his suspension broke through the cockpit and impaled him. As he was being rushed to the hospital he flatlined twice his doctors said they thought his chance of survival was zero. Doctors saved his life and he was back on the track months later he looks for redemption this week.

18th: Juan Pablo Montoya: Best Finish 1st (2000, 2015): The 41-year-old Columbian has run this race four times and won it twice. After his win in 2000, he went away to Formula One and NASCAR before returning in 2014. He’s the only man who can say he has won this race for both of IndyCar’s superteams Ganassi in 2000 and Penske in 2015.

19th: Helio Castroneves: Best Finish 1st (2001, 2002, 2009): The Brazilian has delivered Roger Penske three of his wins on RaceDay he looks for his own history. With a victory, he will join A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Al Unser Sr (1970, 1971, 1978,1987) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991) as the only four-time winners of the 500-mile race. Mears works as a spotter for Castroneves in turn four of the 500 every year.

20th: Jay Howard: Best Finish 30th (2011): For the first time in six years this Brit will run the 500-mile race under the power of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports which always brings speed to Indy. That race in 2011 is his only prior start in the race.

21st: Sage Karam: Best Finish 9th (2014): Karam hails from the same hometown as the Andretti family Nazareth, Pennsylvania he missed his Prom to race in 2014 where he brought home a top-10 finish. He has lacked speed all month long but his talent and great pit crew might get him to victory lane.

22nd: Josef Newgarden: Best Finish 3rd (2016): This year Newgarden joined the mighty Penske team after his 3rd place finish last year racing for Ed Carpenter. Newgarden has always had speed here but mechanical problems have caused problems in most races.

23rd: Simon Pagenaud: Best Finish 8th (2013): The reigning IndyCar series champion who also drives under the Penske flag which comes with tremendous pressure. He currently leads the point this year as well but as you can tell by his starting spot he has lacked speed all month.

24th: Carlos Munoz: Best Finish 2nd (2013, 2016): This very talented 25 year old from Bogota who drives for the Andretti Family, probably would have won in 2013 if it weren’t for a late race crash by Dario Franchitti which trapped him in 2nd behind Tony Kannan when the checkered flag fell. He was charging hard on Rossi last year but ran out of time. It hasn’t been a good month so far but don’t rule him out.

25th: Gabby Chaves: Best Finish 16th (2015): A good friend of Munoz who grew up with him in Bogota has not had a great career thus far, and he has not had much speed all week.

26th: Conor Daly: Best Finish 22nd (2013): That race in 2013 was his career debut in the IndyCar series the 2nd of the three drivers for the legendary Foyt.

27th: Jack Harvey: Rookie: This young Brit has made the jump to the IndyCar series this year driving under the Andretti Banner.

28th: Pippa Mann: Best Finish 18th (2016): The only woman in the field from Britan races for Dale Coyne she has never run all that well here. She will look to make history as the first female winner of the race.

29th: Spencer Pigot: Best Finish 25th (2016): Pigot crashed in practice this week so he will start his backup car from the middle of the 2nd to last row

30th: Buddy Lazier: Best Finish 1st (1996): The man who won the race in 1996 with a broken back has had a very bad time at the track in recent years his best finish the last decade is 19th and he has missed the race twice.

31st: Sebastian Saavedra: Best Finish 15th (2014): The fourth man from Bogota in the field will start from the inside of the last row. He has lacked speed all month long.

32nd: Zach Veach: Rookie: The last rookie to roll off in the middle of the last row.

33rd: James Davison: Best Finish 16th (2014): Davison will roll off last in a backup car that was originally driven by Sebastien Bourdais who was injured in a horrifying crash during qualifying.

These 32 brave men and 1 brave woman will chase history in the 101st Indianapolis 500 mile-race


Cameron Vieira is a contributing writer for gmbsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @CamInTaunton,“Like” him on Facebook and add him to your Google network

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