joyous Michael Andretti as he basks in the glow of being the team owner
of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay while fielding
questions from the press just after the last race of the season at Auto
Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)
Will The 97th INDY 500 Become An Andretti Autosport Shootout?
The month of May, 2013, at the famed two and a half mile
rectangle/oval located at Speedway, Indiana has been dominated by cars
prepared and driven by Andretti Autosport. During the week leading up to
Pole Day, which took place last weekend, saw all five cars comfortably
posting speed times in the top 10 with the consistency usually reserved
by Penske Racing or Target Chip Ganassi (who, under their direct banner,
have fielded five cars combined).
On Pole Day, Andretti Autosport cars made it to the “Fast Nine”
shootout for the pole … the only other multiple car team to place all of
its cars in the final cut was Penske Racing (P5. (2) AJ Allmendinger,
Dallara-Chevy 02:37.8264 (228.099) | P6. (12) Will Power
Dallara-Chevy 02:37.8342 (228.087) | P8. (3) Helio Castroneves,
Dallara-Chevy 02:38.0596 (227.762)) leaving Target Chip Ganassi Racing
(TGR) locked out – TGR’s Dixon and Franchitti are P16 and P17
respectively (row six).
The Andretti Autosport DW12′s qualified at P2. (26) Carlos Munoz,
Dallara-Chevy 02:37.6581 (228.342) | P3. (25) Marco Andretti,
Dallara-Chevy 02:37.7139 (228.261) | P4. (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy
02:37.7907 (228.150) | P7. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy
) | P9. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy 02:38.5411 (227.070).
Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay just moments after he pits his #1 DHL
sponsored Dallara-Chevy at the end of the race that rewarded him with
enough points to secure the 2012 IICS driver championship. Image Credit:
Edmund Jenks (2012)
If qualifying position and overall team performance were the solid
gold predictors in the outcome of a race run, then one would have to
give the inside track to ANY Andretti Autosport team car and driver
When one adds the calculation of team performance to the winning of
races, Andretti Autosport is also given the edge starting the last half
of 2012 – when Ryan Hunter-Reay won Race #8 of a 15 race season at the
Milwaukee Mile, Race #9 Iowa, and Race #14 through the streets of
Baltimore and eventually seizing the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series (IICS)
Driver Championship – then continuing the performance during the first
four races of the 2013 season with James Hinchcliffe winning Race #1 at
St. Petersburg and #4 at Sao Paulo, not to forget the win by last year’s
IICS champion Ryan Hunter-Reay in Race #2 at Barber Motorsports Park in
Alabama – the team is on a roll.
Hinchcliffe prays in the cockpit of his Andretti Autosport Go Daddy
sponsored Dallara-Chevy before taking to the track. Image Credit: Edmund
Lastly, through four races of the 2013 season, the consistency of
performance can not be ignored. The driver championship standings with
over 20% of the season being run has Andretti Autosport season regular
drivers Marco Andretti standing at P2, James Hinchcliffe at P4, Ryan
Hunter-Reay at P6, and EJ Viso at P11. And, again
, the pinch-hitter for
the INDY 500, Carlos Munoz sits as the top qualifying driver for the
team at P2 – WOW!
A shootout in the INDY 500 by Andretti Autosport drivers is a very
real possibility because the team, and the way the second season DW12
cars have been prepared, would allow this to happen.
This excerpted and edited from SB Nation -
2013 Indianapolis 500: Power ranking the field of 33
By MattWeaver on May 21 2013, 10:00p
Instead of compiling a traditional power rankings list like we
normally do on Tuesday afternoons at SB Nation IndyCar, this week’s post
will rank the top-10 drivers most likely to win the Indianapolis
Drivers can typically be lumped into three groups entering the month of May:
1.) The top-10 drivers that have the easiest path towards winning the Borg-Warner Trophy.
2.) The group of 10 that will need some help or a little bit of luck.
3.) The final 13 that are best described as a long shot.
Conceivably any of the 33 drivers have a shot after 500-miles, as
fuel strategy has generated some surprise winners over the last
century. That’s one of the many reasons the Greatest Spectacle in Racing
is still the greatest race in the world – it’s still the 500-mile
And yet, there is still a clear hierarchy led by traditional
powers Andretti Autosport, Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing. Our
top-10 picks to win the 2013 Indianapolis 500 can be found below, with
an explanation for each of the top contenders. For reference’s sake,
we’ve also included a complete ranking to the last driver.
1. Marco Andretti
The entire month of May seemingly has been dedicated to Andretti
Autosport, the Andretti Curse and Marco Andretti’s career resurgence.
While just a little off the pole speed on Saturday, the number 25 team
appears fastest in traffic, picking up a toe [TOW] and several other
deciding factors in traffic.
He’s also number 1 on the power rankings list because he’s shown the
most consistent speed at Indianapolis since teams unloaded the DW12
oval model last May, leading the most laps of the 2012 race and
dominating the practice sessions leading up to the 2013 race.
2. Ed Carpenter
One of the biggest misconceptions about the buildup to this year’s
Indianapolis 500 is that Ed Carpenter is some sort of heartwarming
underdog victory after capturing the pole on Saturday afternoon. Sure,
Ed Carpenter Racing doesn’t have the same budget as Penske or Ganassi,
but he is the most prolific oval racer of the post-split era.
3. Carlos Muñoz
With reservation, a 21-year-old rookie makes the podium in the most-likely to win the Indianapolis 500 power rankings post.
Only Marco Andretti has shown quicker pace in practice, and Muñoz
has looked confident running in a pack with his Andretti Autosport
teammates. He’s looking to do what JR Hildebrand couldn’t do in 2011,
and that is winning this race in just his very first attempt — so don’t
be surprised if it actually happens.
4. Hélio Castroneves
If youthful disregard could win on Sunday for Muñoz, experience and
patience will do it for Hélio Castroneves. There is more than one way to
win this race, and it will be interesting to see how Castroneves
approaches another attempt to win his fourth Borg-Warner.
5. Dario Franchitti
Repeat everything that was said about Hélio Castroneves in regards
to Dario Franchitti. The only thing placing Castroneves over Franchitti
is his Chevy turbocharger which appears much-stronger at Indianapolis.
Dario is also looking for his fourth win at the Speedway.
6. Will Power
Based on his championship finishes over the past three seasons, Will
Power has inherited the title of Team Penske’s number 1 driver. With
that title comes a lot of responsibility at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
but not a lot of success thus far.
Will Power can absolutely win this race. And in a season where he
has somehow gone winless through four-consecutive road and street course
events, wouldn’t a victory in the Indianapolis 500 just make sense?
7. James Hinchcliffe
The Go Daddy Andretti driver has been sneaky competitive at
Indianapolis, qualifying 13th for Newman/Haas in 2011 and finishing
sixth in last year’s race. Brimming with the confidence off two wins to
start the 2013 season and the powerful Andretti Autosport backing his
entry in 2013, Hinchcliffe could finally and completely break out of her
shadow with a win in the Indianapolis 500.
8. EJ Viso
Andretti Autosport has seemingly concentrated the raw potential of
EJ Viso, and that could again show itself with a surprise victory in the
9. AJ Allmendinger
Casual observers were quick to point out that AJ Allmendinger’s lack
of results in his first two races back in Indy car was a sign of his
inability to drive these cars after six seasons or the result of his
mixed commitments to both IndyCar and NASCAR.
Like any Penske car, the No. 2 has speed the driver has shown the
ability to wield it for brief practice or qualifying spurts, but can he
do it for 500 miles? That’s the only question separating AJ Allmendinger
from the Borg-Warner trophy.
10. Scott Dixon
In a repeat of last season, Honda and Target Chip Ganassi Racing
look to be just off the pace set by their Chevrolet rivals. But like
last season, Honda and Ganassi will rise to the occasion and will be a
constant threat for the lead in the late stages of the race.
Autosport drivers Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe take to the
‘Brickyard’ for set-ups. Marco sets a speed of 225 on the first day of
practice laps leading all cars that ran on the first day of May practice
at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Image Credit: IZOD IndyCar Series
Lost in the shuffle between the legendary Dario Franchitti/Takuma
Sato duel last year was that Scott Dixon was leading the Indianapolis
500 up until three laps to go. That isn’t likely to change on Sunday.
11. Ryan Hunter-Reay
12. Tony Kanaan
13. Takuma Sato
14. JR Hildebrand
15. Ryan Briscoe
16. Alex Tagliani
17. Charlie Kimball
18. Graham Rahal
19. Justin Wilson
20. Oriol Servia
21. Townsend Bell
22. Simon Pagenaud
23. Simona de Silvestro
24. Josef Newgarden
25. Sebastien Bourdais
26. James Jakes
27. Sebastian Saavedra
28. Conor Daly
29. Tristan Vautier
30. Pippa Mann
31. Buddy Lazier
32. Ana Beatriz
33. Katherine Legge
The Borg-Warner Trophy – this image never gets old. Image Credit: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Predictions are a funny thing because when the race is run, the story
always takes on an edge that can never be calculated for. This is why
we race, and watch American open wheel races – F1 has nothing like this.
The Memorial Day weekend tradition returns with the 97th running of
the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26, beginning at 12pm ET from famed
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
ABC airs the race for the 49th straight year, beginning with a
one-hour preview show Sunday at 11am ET. The production will use 84
cameras, including three on-board cameras each on 12 of the 33 cars.
Viewers can also choose a live streaming video feed from the on-board
cameras on ESPN3. Marty Reid calls the race with analysts Scott Goodyear
and Eddie Cheever. Lindsay Czarniak hosts, with Rick DeBruhl, Jamie
Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch reporting from pit row.
… notes from The EDJE
** Article originally posted as "Will The 97th INDY 500 Become An Andretti Autosport Shootout?" at Motorsports Unplugged**