The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most thrilling events on the sports calendar due to its fast-paced nature and the prestige that comes with winning it.
The field of 33 drivers for Sunday’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway possesses six former champions, a star returning for one last race and a cast of talented drivers in search of winning the prestigious competition for the first time.
Ed Carpenter starts on pole for the 102nd edition of race, with Simon Pagenaud and Will Power alongside him in Row 1.
Three-time champion Helio Castroneves begins the race in eighth, while the last two champions must work their way up from the back of the pack.
2018 Indy 500 Information
Start Time: 12:19 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN App or Watch ESPN
Castroneves In Search Of 4th Indy 500 Title
Castroneves is by far the most experienced driver in the field, as he holds three Indy 500 victories to his name plus a wealth of achievements from other major open-wheel races.
The 43-year-old has been one of the most consistent drivers at the Indy 500, finishing outside the top 10 only three times since 2001.
Castroneves won back-to-back races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2001 and 2002, and he picked up his third victory in 2009.
Since his last trip to victory lane, the Brazilian has finished second on two occasions, including last year, and landed in the top 10 four other times.
If he is able to master the track as he has in the past, Castroneves will be in contention to join the most illustrious group in Indy 500 history; he is aiming to be the fourth driver to win the race four times.
A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr, and Rick Mears sit atop the Indy 500 wins leaderboard with four wins each, and although it won’t be an easy task Sunday, Castroneves has proved he’s more than capable of leading the field to the checkered flag yet again.
He put himself in a good position to succeed from the start of the race, where he’ll take the green flag from the middle of Row 3. And he knows exactly what it takes to remain at the front of the field while cars shuffle up and down the race order.
If he’s in the top 10 entering the final 25 laps, expect Castroneves to make a surge to the front. If he plays everything right, he could join rarefied company in Indy 500 history.
Can Chevrolet Keep Up Its Dominance From Qualifying?
One of the drastic changes during qualifying for this year’s race was the emergence of Chevrolet as the dominant manufacturer.
For the last two decades, Honda has been in control of the competition, as the majority of the winners since 2000 had their engines built by the company.
Chevrolet earned victories with Tony Kanaan in 2013 and Dario Franchitti in 2015, but other than that, it has taken a backseat to Honda’s dominance.
That could change Sunday, when seven of the nine cars starting in the first three rows possess Chevrolet engines.
In fact, the entire front row will be running with a Chevrolet engine, with the top Honda starter being Sebastien Bourdais in fifth.
Although Chevrolet appears to have the upper hand at the moment, the Honda crews could make adjustments in the buildup to the race in order to level the playing field.
In addition to Carpenter, Castroneves, Danica Patrick and Power are the big names with Chevrolet engines.
The last two champions, Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi, are powered by Honda, as well as Marco Andretti and Scott Dixon among others.
If the Chevrolet package is as powerful as it was in qualifying, the winning driver should have its engine, but given the unpredictability of the race, there’s a chance Honda could continue its dominant run in the winner’s circle.