As we await the start of practice day one for the Indianapolis 500, here is a look at some of the stories to follow.
On one end of the spectrum, the field has 48 year old Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves, 44 year old Takuma Sato, and three drivers in ntheir early 40s- Scott dixon, Will Power, and Simon Pagenaud.
At the other end we have 21 year okd Davibd Malukas, 24 year old Pato O’Ward, and 22 year old Kyle Kirkwood. The middle group of drivers range inage from 25- 39.
Marco Andretti is the only driver who is a descendant of a former driver. The third generation driverb only runs the 500 these days, but I think we’re close to a 500 without an Andretti soon.
Tony Kanaan will be racing for the fnal time May 28. Helio Castroneves may be back next year, if only for this race. Drivers from Brazil have been a big part of Indycar and the 500 for more than 20 years. They have given us many great memories and they have eight 500 victories- Helio has 4, Emerson Fittipaldi 2, Kanaan and Gil de Ferran one each.
Will Andretti and Penske Return to Form?
Andretti Autosport and Team Penske are looking to get back to their winning ways at IMS. Andretto’s last 500 win was in 2017 with Takuma Sato. Penske last visitied Victory Lane in 2019 with Simon Pagenaud.
Both teams have been less competeitive the last three years. Andretti and Penske teams have gotten off tom a strong startnthis season. Josef Newgarden was fastest inn the IMS open test in April.
A stronger showing by these two teams will add more intrigue to the month.
Who Gets Left Out?
One car and driver will go home after qualifying ends May 22. I would prefer all cars get in the race this year. Bumping one car simply isn’t worth it. But once again, no one asked me to set the rules.
Who is likely to be sitting on the sidelines? I would look at the one offs first. Katherine Legge, Marco Andretti, and R. C. Enerson would be my first three picks.
I would not be surprised if a series regular misses the race either. Will Power almost missed the race in 2021.
Katherine Legge returns to IMS for the first time in 10 years. I’m glad she is back, but it is a shame that she hasn’t had a chance to race in the 500 more.Legge is a good driver who g=has been hampered by a lack of quality equipment.
2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay is back with Dreyer and Reinbold Racing. He has been out of a car for two years. How long will it take him to get back up to speed? D&R usually come to IMS with decent cars. Hunter-Reay may be a dark horse.