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Massa

The Indianapolis 500

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It's peak Indy season. When all the rumors come together and we start seeing the makings of an entry list for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500, which is about a month out.

I'll be in attendance; haven't gone to any kind of race at any level since 2010, so that's a big deal. :)

So, for those who haven't followed it:

What's new?

The "Month of May" now includes a Grand Prix on the road course! It runs two weeks before the Indy 500 itself, and will feature a few extra entires also attempting the 500. I think it's a good idea. Everyone's in Indy, it's another weekend to get yourself on TV and build up to the race. It will also be a pretty special race for some of the road racers who aren't quite as good on ovals; a chance to win at IMS.

The week after that? Qualifying, which is in a new format that I sort of understand. Saturday sets the 33 cars that will race unless someone didn't get an attempt (wrecked, engine failure, whatever). That entry could then try to bump its way in on Sunday. Saturday also sets which cars are in the "top nine" and which cars are 10-33. On Sunday, 10-33 go out again to determine where they actually start. It ends with the Fast Nine Shootout for pole and positions 1-9 are set.

Saturday qualifying also pays points; tons of them. I want to say it is 33 for first on Saturday, then on back one point at at a time. And then Sunday's top nine go for another 9 points for pole, then one on back from there. In other words, if you are fastest both days, you get 42 points: second place in a normal Indy race only pays 40, so qualifying is a big, big deal.

Add to it that the Indy 500 is one of three double-points races, along with Pocono and Fontana, also 500-mile races in the Triple Crown (big prize if you win all three). Effectively, this makes up for the lack of ovals on the calendar. Not many oval dates, you see, but tons of oval miles with 1,500 from these three alone, so it weights the points a little more for that.

Kurt Busch is attempting The Double: 1,100 miles in one day. He's never raced an open-wheel car in his life. Now, he'll be trying to qualify for the Indy 500. And then do NASCAR's 600-mile race that same night. Wow.

What's old?

The returns of Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Buddy Lazier...and the desired returns of some others, like Robby Gordon.

Bumping, fingers crossed. We could see more entries this year than in the past.

Entries

Confirmed (30)

2. Montoya (Penske)

3. Castroneves (Penske)

5. Villeneuve (Schmidt)

6. Bell (KV)

7. Aleshin (Schmidt) (some funding issues with frozen accounts now)

8. Briscoe (Ganassi)

9. Dixon (Ganassi)

10. Kanaan (Ganassi)

11. Bourdais (KV)

12. Power (Penske)

14. Sato (Foyt)

15. Rahal (Rahal)

16. Servià (Rahal)

17. Saavedra (KV)

18. TBA (Coyne)

19. J. Wilson (Coyne)

20. Carpenter (Carpenter)

21. Hildebrand (Carpenter)

25. M. Andretti (Andretti)

26. Busch (Andretti)

27. Hinchcliffe (Andretti)

28. Hunter-Reay (Andretti)

34. Muñoz (Andretti)

41. Plowman (Foyt)

67. Newgarden (SFHR)

68. Tagliani (SFHR)

77. Pagenaud (Schmidt)

91. Lazier (Lazier Partners)

98. Hawksworth (Herta)

TBA. Karam (Ganassi)

Expected (2)

TBA. TBA (Dreyer & Reinbold)

TBA. S. Wilson (TBA)

Rumored (5)

TBA. R. Gordon (TBA)

TBA. Howard (TBA)

TBA. J. Andretti (Andretti)

TBA. TBA (Fan Force United)

TBA. TBA (Coyne)

Abandoned (2)

TBA. Filippi (Herta)

TBA. TBA (Hamilton with Dreyer & Reinbold)

That gives 37 possibilities right now...and usually things we never saw coming appear.

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Per Cavin:

The Karam/Ganassi thing no longer exists. Back to 29.

Karam may run for D&RR, which will race even without Karam, so that's 30.

Coyne expected to now have three. 31.

I'm not sure what the other "confirmed" car Cavin has is, because I missed it.

We're in for surprises, I guess.

http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/motor/indy-car/2014/04/24/curt-cavins-pit-pass-field-drawing-closer-indy/8108831/

As for the Indy GP, Franck Montagny will run in the #26. All the stuff is at the track for Kurt Busch to run the 500, but he obviously cannot run the GP due to NASCAR, so Montagny will get his first race in years.

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I'd like to watch an Indy 500, but I've never seen it advertised in the UK, which is surprising given how popular motorsport (in all forms) is over here. It's also surprising given that in USA they're all adamant it's the most prestigious race in the world, whilst seeming to not realise that barely anyone outside USA pays it any attention (exclusing those involved in motorsport obviously).

So I'd like to watch it if I can. Wheldon's accident showed that death is only a few metres away at any given time, so I gotta admire the bravery of those guys (and girl, Danica).

Edit: I've found what channel it's on, and you need subscription, so I guess I won't be watching :-(

Edited by namechanged

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Well, there may be legal ways to watch online, but we'll have to see. There's also the other way to watch online, but I do not recommend that personally.

One thing I do know is that you can get a free, legal stream of the radio broadcast on your computer, smart phone, tablet, etc. So, if you do want to follow it, there's that. Plus, they do have live timing.

A small piece of trivia: the 19 most-watched races in the world are F1 Grands Prix. At number 20? The Daytona 500. And almost all of those viewers are just in one country. :lol:

Indy, like Le Mans, is a very historic race that means a lot to the competitors and to the people in motorsport, but does not have the public following F1 has built worldwide and NASCAR has built here. It is disappointing that with all the success of British participants, it has not caught on enough where you are. The new British rookie, Jack Hawksworth, is doing pretty well.

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It's true - the average Reginald on the street of england will not have heard of Franchitti, Wheldon, Wilson etc, but will almost certainly be familiar with Hamilton, Button, DC and so on.

After Wheldon's death and it was on the news over here, the reporter went to Dan's hometown and was showing his picture to people on the street. Bear in mind in Frome, even the dogs and cats have probably heard of Jenson and their local paper gives weekly updates on his life and progress. They've named a bridge and a street after him. But in Wheldon's hometown, despite all his success, no-one had any idea who he was! Sad really.

For me personally, I've tried several times to get excited about oval racing but just can't (I know not all the races are oval) - perhaps a lot of brits are similar

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Yeah, I could see that. Oval racing is definitely different.

Kurt Busch and Jacques Villeneuve completed their refresher tests earlier in the week. Busch did a time fast enough to be third in last year's first practice, so watch out for him. He was getting after it. Villeneuve was ~3 mph slower than Busch, so may have just been conservative in getting up to speed. Busch tested this car, the DW12, last year at Indy, whereas Villeneuve's not driven an open-wheel car here since he won in 1995. So, oddly, Busch was in a better position to go for it than Villeneuve, despite Busch being a NASCAR driver and Villeneuve an Indy champion.

Montoya, meanwhile, will run two NASCAR races this year. Montoya is now in a unique position to win the Indianapolis Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500, and the Brickyard 400 in the same year; he is the only driver running all three. Busch will do the latter two; Montagny is in his car for the first.

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From what I've heard, which is only snippets, Montoya has a bit of a reputation for wrecking cars? 3 races is a lot of laps not to bash anything.

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Hunter-Reay paced practice by nearly a full mile per hour. He was in the tow, or the draft. Basically, running behind another car, or in a pack of other cars. This is a big speed advantage.

RHR's lap time of 225 mph average means he will likely qualify around 229 mph (in qualifying, they get extra boost and they will run "trimmed out"...with a negative rear wing angle...no downforce, all speed). This is only day two of practice, so they could get faster...meaning, in the right conditions, we may see the first 230 mph pole speed since I believe 2003.

Rumors have Katherine Legge showing up in a third A. J. Foyt car by qualifying this weekend. That would be the 34th car; 33 race, so one would fail to qualify.

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