24 May 2011

2011 Indianapolis 500 Preview

As it is Memorial Day weekend this weekend, you know that the Sunday before the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" will be held and this year it's ever more special. This year's edition of the Indianapolis 500 will be the 100th anniversary of the inaugural race, which was won by the legend Roy Harroun. Who will drink the milk and kiss the bricks at the Brickyard this year? Here's my Indy 500 preview.

Sunday, May 29, 12:12 PM
ABC: Marty Reid, Scott Goodyear, Eddie Cheever Jr. (announcers)
Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch (pit reporters)

1. Can surprise polesitter Alex Tagliani pull off the upset and win?
Tagliani, the first ever Canadian to win the pole for the Indy 500, had a very fast car in practice and showed it in time trials. And he has averaged a 10.5 finish in his two starts at the Brickyard. But I do not think that he can win the whole thing because I do not think he can maintain his fast speed that he showed during qualifying during the race. Would be cool to see him win though.

2. Will this be the year Helio Castroneves wins his fourth 500?
Only three drivers have won quartet of Indy 500's and they are legends of the sport, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Jr., and Rick Mears. If Castroneves wins on Sunday he will join those esteemed heroes and stand amongst the all-time greats of IndyCar. But he has not shown a whole lot of speed this month in Speedway, Indiana and while he will always be in contention at Indy, I just do not see it for him in 2011.

3. Can Andretti Autosport make up for its disastrous time in Indy thus far?
It has been an absolute struggle for the Andretti cars this time around at Indianapolis. Both Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick barely made it into the field on bump day while Ryan Hunter-Reay only made the field after the Bruno Junqueira ride was bought out. For an organization known of late for coming up just short in Indianapolis, I just do not see another major contenders for them this year. 

4. Should we expect anything from the female drivers in the race?

5. How could shock everyone and pull off the upset?
Alex Lloyd surprised many in 2010 by finishing fourth despite having a less than ideal starting spot in 26th. He has an even worse starting spot as he will roll off on the inside of row 11 but I do think he can pull off the miraculous. 

So who will win?
Scott Dixon has been the steady hand of consistency at IMS over the last five years as he has not finished worse than sixth. He has been extremely fast all month and I think this is the year he gets to slurp the milk this year. After all, Chip Ganassi knows a little something about winning in Indy. 

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