One of the most fabled weekends of motorsport is upon us with the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix both occurring this coming Sunday. Indianapolis has already seen its fair share of drama and tears during ‘The Month of May’ with James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann ‘bumped’ from the field last Saturday. Despite efforts to bring Hinch into the field in space of an already qualified driver, it has been confirmed that those efforts have not been successful and therefore James Hinchcliffe will not be competing in the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.
Knowing what to expect from this year’s Indianapolis 500 is more challenging than in recent years primarily due to the new aero package for 2018. Teams are clearly still a little puzzled by the behaviour of the cars at times during this Month of May and from media quotes we could see less of the constant position changes that has been apparent in recent editions of the race with things returning to a more traditional looking ‘500’. This could therefore see track position and occasional lead changes as far more crucial than the recent style of the race.
In terms of the Indycar engine battle; Chevrolet certainly had the upper hand in qualifying with the battle between Ed Carpenter’s eponymous team and Team Penske for those honours’ going the way of Carpenter. However, as we’ve seen before the race is often a different case altogether and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Honda come back in the race or at least match Chevrolet hopefully with better reliability than during last years edition.
Personally I’m looking forward to seeing how Carlin get on in their first Indianapolis 500. I was impressed with the teams performance in qualifying given how ‘new’ everything is to them in terms of running on a large oval at this level having only competed previously in Indy Lights at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is also quite nice from our perspective to see a ‘British’ team competing in the Indianapolis 500, albeit one based in Florida.
I would also like to see Danica end her career with a strong result with Ed Carpenter Racing, her performance in qualifying impressed me particularly given she hasn’t raced in Indycar in a number of years now. I would also really like to see Ed Carpenter finally translate his results on pole day into a strong race day finish. Elsewhere I would like to see Castroneves have a strong day at Indianapolis and for Dixon and Ganassi to be in a competitive position. What we do see though, only Sunday will tell because as we’ve already seen this May as much as we can make assumptions on racing ahead of an event, the fact remains that the sport is anything but predictable and often heartbreaking for those who compete in it.
The race is live for the last time on ABC in the USA concluding a long history of ABC broadcasting the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend before NBC’s new broadcast deal starts in 2019. In the UK, The Indianapolis 500 is airing live on BT Sport 1. Please see local listings for details of how you can watch.
The thirty-three drivers which will take the green flag on Sunday for this years Indianapolis 500 starting grid are as follows:
- Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzys Vodka Chevrolet)
- Simon Pagenaud (Menards Team Penske Chevrolet)
- Will Power (Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet)
- Josef Newgarden (Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet)
- Sebastien Bourdais (Team Sealmaster Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan Honda)
- Spencer Pigot (Preferred Freezer Service Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet)
- Danica Patrick (GoDaddy Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet)
- Helio Castroneves (Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet)
- Scott Dixon (PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda)
- Tony Kanaan (ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda)
- Matheus Leist (ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda)
- Marco Andretti (US Concrete/Curb Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Honda)
- Zachary Clamen De Melo (Paysafe Dale Coyne Racing Honda)
- Ryan Hunter-Reay (DHL Andretti Autosport Honda)
- Charlie Kimball (Fiasp Carlin Chevrolet)
- Takuma Sato (Mi-Jack/Panasonic Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda)
- Kyle Kaiser (NFP Juncos Racing Chevrolet)
- Robert Wickens (Lucas Oils SchmidtPeterson Motorsports Honda)
- James Davison (Jonathan Byrd’s 502 East Foyt with Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi Honda)
- Max Chilton (Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet)
- Carlos Munoz (Ruoff Home Mortgage Andretti Autosport Honda)
- Gabby Chaves (Harding Group Chevrolet)
- Stefan Wilson (#DrivetoSaveLives Andretti Autosport Honda)
- Sage Karam (WIX Filters Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet)
- Zach Veach (Relay Group One Thousand One Andretti Autosport Honda)
- Oriol Servia (Scuderia Corsa / Manitowoc Scuderia Corsa with RLL Honda)
- JR Hildebrand (Salesforce DRR Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet)
- Jay Howard (One Cure Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda)
- Ed Jones (NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Honda)
- Graham Rahal (United Rentals Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda)
- Jack Harvey (AutoNation / SiriusXM Meyer Shank Racing With SPM Honda)
- Alexander Rossi (Napa Auto Parts Andretti Autosport Honda)
- Conor Daly (USAF Dale Coyne Racing dba Thom Burns Racing)
What are your expectations for this years race? Any predictions or thoughts, feel free to share…