|IndyCar is back heading clockwise on Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
Time: Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday May 12th with green flag scheduled for 3:50 p.m. ET.
TV Channel: ABC
Announcers: Allen Bestwick, Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever will be in the booth. Jon Beekhuis and Rick DeBruhl will work pit lane.
IndyCar Weekend Schedule
First Practice: 9:15 a.m. ET (45-minute session)
Second Practice: 12:30 p.m. ET (45-minute session)
Qualifying: 4:30 p.m. ET
Warm-Up: 11:15 a.m. ET (30-minute session)
Race: 3:50 p.m. ET (85 laps)
Team Penske's Shot at 200
It should come to no one's surprise that Team Penske has another milestone its plate but this one is a big one. Team Penske is already the most successful team in IndyCar history but now the team could reach the 200th victory milestone.
Josef Newgarden's Barber victory two weeks ago was the team's 199th victory and it was his second this season. Newgarden heads to the Grand Prix of Indianapolis as the championship leader on 158 points. Newgarden has been on a roll since the series was last at Indianapolis. In the last fifteen races, he has won five times, has four runner-up finishes and 13 top ten finishes. He has also led the most laps in five of the last 15 races and has five fastest laps in that time.
What stands in Newgarden's way of becoming the man responsible for Team Penske's 200th victory are the only two men to win the Grand Prix of Indianapolis: Simon Pagenaud and Will Power. Pagenaud won the inaugural edition of this race in 2014 driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports but he became the first multi-time winner of this race two years later in 2016 driving for Team Penske. Power won in 2015 and last year's victory came in a caution-free race. Both of Power's victories in this race have come from pole position while Pagenaud won from pole position in 2016.
Unsurprisingly, Power and Pagenaud are the top two drivers in laps led in the history of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis with Power having led 126 laps and Pagenaud having led 63 laps. However, when Power is off, he is off in this race with his other finishes being eighth and 19th. Pagenaud finished fourth last year but retired in the 2015 race after a gearbox failure. Power is one of five drivers to have completed every one of the 331 laps in the history of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
One of the other drivers to have completed all 331 laps in the history of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis is Hélio Castroneves and he is back in the #3 Chevrolet for this race and the Indianapolis 500. Castroneves is the only driver to have finished in the top ten in every Grand Prix of Indianapolis with his track record being third, sixth, second and fifth. Those results give Castroneves the best all-time average finish in the history of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis at 4.0. He has led 46 laps in this event, the third most all-time. Castroneves has not won on a natural-terrain road course since Barber 2010.
Can Honda Keep It Up?
Honda has not won the Grand Prix of Indianapolis since the inaugural edition with Pagenaud in 2014. Honda has led only 31 laps in the last three editions of this race and the manufacture did not lead a lap in last year's race. The good news for Honda is it enters in control of the manufactures' championship. Honda has had at least two cars on the podium in every race this season while Chevrolet has only had one car in the top five each of the last three races and its best finishing car at St. Petersburg was seventh.
Alexander Rossi is the top Honda driver in the championship and he leads Andretti Autosport into the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Rossi trails Newgarden by 13 points after four races and Rossi is coming off his worst finish of the season, an 11th at Barber. Rossi has finished tenth and eighth in his two Grand Prix of Indianapolis starts.
Rossi's teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay has had strong results in this race. He has completed all 331 laps and he picked up his second podium finish in this event last year when he finished third. His worst finish came in the second edition of this race when he finished 11th, the third-best Honda in that race out of 12. Despite never having won this race, Hunter-Reay has the second-best average finish among active drivers in this race at 6.2.
The Andretti curse seems to apply for Marco Andretti on the road course, as his four finishes in this race have been 14th, 16th, 15th and 16th and his best starting position is 11th. Zach Veach will make his Grand Prix of Indianapolis debut. Veach has made four starts on the IMS road course in Indy Lights but his best finish was fifth.
Sébastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal are tied for third in the championship on 119 points. Bourdais started seventh and finished fourth in the first two editions of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis but in the last two races he has completed a combined 23 laps and has an average finish of 23rd. Rahal has never qualified well in this race with his best starting position being 12th but he has three consecutive top ten finishes. He was runner-up to Power in 2015 and finished fourth from 24th on the grid in 2015 after he lost his qualifying time. Last year, he finished sixth after starting 20th. Despite his good results, Rahal has only led 11 laps in this race.
Rahal's teammate Takuma Sato is one of the five drivers to have completed 331 laps in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Sato finished ninth in his first two starts in this race but his best finish in the last two races was 12th last year.
Zachary Claman De Melo will drive the #19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda after Pietro Fittipaldi broke both his legs in an accident suffered at the FIA World Endurance Championship round at Spa-Francorchamps qualifying the #10 DragonSpeed BR Engineering BR1-Gibson. Claman De Melo finished second in the first Indy Lights race last year on the IMS road course but he finished outside the top ten in his other three starts on that track.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has two Canadians hoping to get the team back on the top step of the podium in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. James Hinchcliffe enters off the back of four consecutive top ten finishes and he looks to start a season with five consecutive top ten finishes for the second time in his career. He started and finished third in the 2016 Grand Prix of Indianapolis and that is his only top ten finish in the event. Robert Wickens is looking for his first ever back-to-back top ten finishes and not only he has raced on the IMS road course, albeit on a different configuration, but he won on the track in 2006 in a Formula BMW race.
Chip Ganassi Racing picked up its first podium in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis last year when Scott Dixon finished second. Dixon has completed 331 of 331 laps in four editions of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Ganassi has had at least one car finish in the top five in every Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Charlie Kimball had finished fifth in the first three editions of this race. Dixon has led only one lap in four Grand Prix of Indianapolis starts. Ed Jones started 13th and finished 19th in his Grand Prix of Indianapolis debut last year and he finished one lap down.
Who Can Turn It Around Before Indianapolis 500 Practice Begins?
This is the final race before the Indianapolis 500 and nobody wants to head into the Indianapolis 500 on a slump. This is the last chance for teams to get their heads right before a week of practice and qualifying weekend.
Ed Carpenter is responsible for Ed Carpenter Racing's only top ten finish this season and the team has not had a top ten finish on a road/street course in the last nine races. Spencer Pigot and Jordan King each have a 14th-place finish this season while Pigot has finished 15th in three races this season. King has had an accident in every third practice session this season. The good news for King is there is no third practice for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Pigot finished ninth in last year's Grand Prix of Indianapolis and it was Ed Carpenter Racing's first top ten in this event.
While Tony Kanaan has finished eighth twice in the first four races, Matheus Leist is still looking for his first top ten finish of his IndyCar career. Leist has been trending in the right direction and his results have improved over each race. He has finished on the lead lap in the last two races and he finished fifth and third in the Indy Lights races last year on the IMS road course.
Harding Racing is looking for its first top ten finish on a road/street course and Gabby Chaves' best finish this season was 14th in the season opener at St. Petersburg. Chaves has made two Grand Prix of Indianapolis starts with finishes of 15th and 17th in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Chaves has never finished in the top ten on a natural-terrain road course. He finished ninth in the second Belle Isle in 2015.
Carlin has a top ten finish this season but Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton are 19th and 20th in the championship respectively. The team suffered a double retirement in the last race at Barber. The results had been improving for each driver before Barber. Kimball had finishes of 20th, 17th and tenth through the first three races while Chilton improved by one position from 19th to 18th to 17th. Kimball's run of three consecutive fifth place finishes in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis ended last year when he lost power and finished 21st. Chilton finished seventh in last year's race.
Road to Indy
All three Road to Indy series are back on track with IndyCar for the first time since the season opening weekend at St. Petersburg.
Indy Lights is back with eight cars on the entry list. Andretti Autosport's Patricio O'Ward swept the Barber weekend and he leads the championship in 110 points. O'Ward swept the Pro Mazda races on the IMS road course in 2016. Belardi Auto Racing's Santiago Urrutia trails O'Ward by 16 points. Urrutia has finished in the top five of all four races this season. Colton Herta is third in the championship on 83 points after three podium finishes through the first four races. Juncos Racing's Victor Franzoni is a point behind Herta in the championship and he swept the Pro Mazda races last year at this track.
Andretti teammates Ryan Norman and Dalton Kellett sit fifth and sixth in the championship on 67 points and 58 points respectively. Kellett has finished third in the last three races. Aaron Telitz finally completed a lap and finished fourth in the second Barber race. He has scored 51 points. Alfonso Celis, Jr. is back for his second race weekend. He finished seventh and eighth at Barber and has 27 points.
Indy Lights will race at 1:30 p.m. ET on Friday May 11th and at 1:15 p.m. ET on Saturday May 12th.
Parker Thompson took the Pro Mazda championship lead after a victory and a runner-up finish at Barber. The Canadian has 102 points and the Exclusive Autosport driver is four points ahead of Juncos Racing's Rinus VeeKay. David Malukas has two podium finishes and three consecutive top five finishes, good enough to have him third in the championship on 79 points. RP Motorsport picked up its first Pro Mazda victory in its fourth race with Harrison Scott and the British driver is two points behind Malukas.
Carlos Cunha makes it two Juncos Racing drivers in the top five of the championship with the Brazilian on 75 points after having finished third in the second race at St. Petersburg and Barber and he finished fourth in the first race at St. Petersburg. Sting Ray Robb is the top Team Pelfrey driver on 58 points with his best finish being fourth with reigning U.S. F2000 champion Oliver Askew down in seventh on 56 points with his best finish being fifth for Cape Motorsports.
The first Pro Mazda race will take place on Friday May 11th at 3:35 p.m. ET. The second race will be Saturday May 12th at 10:10 a.m. ET.
U.S. F2000 has had two months off since the series last raced. Cape Motorsports driver Kyle Kirkwood leads the championship with 48 points after finishes of first and fifth at St. Petersburg. Cape Motorsports has won six consecutive U.S. F2000 races on the IMS road course. DEForce Racing's José Sierra is second in the championship on 41 points after a second and sixth while Exclusive Autosport's Igor Fraga finished eighth and second at St. Petersburg and has 38 points.
Alexandre Baron won the second race at St. Petersburg after a retirement in race one and the Swan-RJB Motorsports driver sits on 35 points. Pabst Racing Services driver Calvin Ming rounds out the top five on 32 points with Newman Wachs Racing's Darren Keane on 31 points and Ming's teammate Lucas Kohl on 30 points. Team Pelfrey's Julien van der Watt sits on 27 points with Pabst's Kaylen Frederick on 22 points and Pelfrey's Bruna Tomaselli rounding on the top ten on 21 points.
U.S. F2000 will race at 2:45 p.m. ET on Friday May 11th and 9:15 a.m. ET on Saturday May 12th.
This will be the first IndyCar race on May 12th.
Two drivers have lost their lives on May 12th from accidents at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Tony Bettenhausen perished in 1961 and Art Pollard in 1973.
Only three drivers have won the oval and road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Those drivers are Alex Lloyd, Jack Harvey and Dean Stoneman. All three of these drivers won on the oval and road course in Indy Lights.
Hélio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato, Gabby Chaves, Ed Jones, Kyle Kaiser and Matheus Leist are the driver that could become the fourth to win on both the oval and road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Newgarden, Chaves, Jones, Kaiser and Leist could all become the first driver to win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in IndyCar and Indy Lights.
Max Chilton will be making his 38th career start and he has yet to finish on the podium in his IndyCar career. Three drivers have scored their first career podium finish in their 38th career start (Larry Grant, James Jakes and Takuma Sato).
Spencer Pigot will be making his 27th career start and he has yet to finish on the podium in his IndyCar career. Three drivers have scored their first career podium finish in their 27th career start (Dick Rathmann, Roberto Moreno and Charlie Kimball).
The last time there was more than one driver with multiple victories entering the Indianapolis 500 was 1979 when A.J. Foyt won the first two races of the USAC season and Johnny Rutherford swept the Atlanta Twin 125s, the second round of the CART season.
The last time there was more than one driver with multiple victories entering the Indianapolis 500 in one series was 1978 when Gordon Johncock won the first and fourth rounds of the USAC season at Phoenix and Trenton while Danny Ongais won the second and third rounds of the season at Ontario and Texas World.
The average starting position for a Grand Prix of Indianapolis winner is 1.75 with a median of one.
The only time the pole-sitter did not win the Grand Prix of Indianapolis was the inaugural edition in 2014 where Simon Pagenaud won from fourth on the grid.
Will Power set the track record last year with a lap of 67.7044 seconds.
Every Grand Prix of Indianapolis has had a top ten finisher that started 20th or worse.
The average number of lead changes in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis is 8.5 with a median of nine.
Last year's Grand Prix of Indianapolis had four lead changes, the fewest in the history of the event.
The first two editions of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis had 12 lead changes and 11 lead changes respectively.
The average number of cautions in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis is 1.75 with a median of 1.5. The average number of caution laps is 7.75 with a median of six.
The Grand Prix of Indianapolis has had caution laps in the double figures twice but has also had races with two caution laps and zero caution laps.
Three out of four editions of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis have had an incident in turn one on lap one.
While Team Penske is looking for its 200th IndyCar victory, here are some of the other IndyCar milestone victories for the team:
1st: Mark Donohue, 1971 Pocono 500, Pocono Raceway, July 3rd 1971.
25th: Bobby Unser, 1980 California 500, Ontario Motor Speedway, August 31, 1980.
50th: Rick Mears, 1988 Indianapolis 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 29, 1988.
75th: Paul Tracy, 1993 Budweiser Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Dairy Mart, Burke Lakefront Airport, July 11th, 1993.
100th: Gil de Ferran, 2000 Bosch Sparks Plug Grand Prix presented by Toyota, Nazareth Raceway, May 14, 2000.
125th: Hélio Castroneves, 2006 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Streets of St. Petersburg, April 2, 2006.
150th: Will Power, 2010 Firestone Indy Toronto, Exhibition Place, July 18, 2010.
175th: Juan Pablo Montoya, 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Streets of St. Petersburg, March 29, 2015.
Hélio Castroneves is one top five finish away from moving into sole possession of fourth-most top five finish all-time.
Graham Rahal needs to lead 43 laps to reach the 400 laps led milestone.
Alexander Rossi needs to lead one lap to reach the 200 laps led milestone.
Alexander Rossi makes it two victories this season and five different teams will be represented in the top five finishers. Graham Rahal does not qualify outside the top ten. At least two drivers get their first top ten finish this season. There will be more lead changes than last year's race but less than average. Robert Wickens will be the top finishing rookie. Kyle Kaiser will be the second best rookie. There will not be an incident in turn one on lap one. Sleeper: Spencer Pigot.