2010 Indianapolis 500

2011 Indianapolis 500 preview

IndyCarPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

2010 Indianapolis 500
2010 Indianapolis 500

A special edition of F1 Fanatic Live will follow the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

Here’s a preview of the race complete with a run-down of the grid and a spotters’ guide for all the cars.

The race

In simple terms, the Indianapolis 500 is the fifth race of the IndyCar season and the first oval race after four events on street and road courses.

But it’s much more than that – the 500-mile oval race is one of the world’s greatest and fastest motor races. This year is the 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500, and the 95th running of the race.

Among the F1 drivers to have tasted success at the Brickyard are Emerson Fittipaldi, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Mario Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya.

The grid

Alex Tagliani, Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Alex Tagliani starts from pole position

Alex Tagliani is the surprise pole sitter for the race, beating the Penske and Ganassi cars after a rare error by the latter meant both their cars were sent out with too little fuel.

That consigned Scott Dixon to second and last year’s winner Dario Franchitti to ninth on the grid.

Oriol Servia completes the front row for Newman/Haas with no Penske among them for the first time since 2004. Will Power, who’s the only driver to have led every race this year, is fifth.

Either side of him are two drivers making their first starts this year: Townsend Bell and Dan Wheldon. The latter was champion in 2005 but found himself without a full-time seat this year.

Takuma Sato, KV Racing Technology - Lotus
Takuma Sato drives the Lotus-sponsored KV Racing entry

The first of two former F1 drivers on the grid is Takuma Sato, in one of the three KV Racing entries sponsored by (Group) Lotus.

Those with keen memories will recall JR Hildebrand, 12th, tested for Force India at the end of 2009. He’s the highest rookie on the grid. Another first-timer, James Hinchcliffe, has made an impressive start to his IndyCar career this year and will start 13th.

Three-times Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was one of several top drivers who missed out on the shootout for the front three rows. He starts 16th.

Former Minardi and Jaguar pilot Justin Wilson is 19th on the grid, sharing row seven with Tomas Scheckter, the son of 1979 F1 champion Jody Scheckter.

Andretti Autosport, formerly one of Indycar’s power house teams, failed to get all of their cars into the race. John Andretti starts 17th, Danica Patrick is 25th and Marco Andretti 27th.

Both Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway – the latter a winner at Long Beach just six weeks ago – failed to make the cut. Hunter-Reay later reached a deal to take over Bruno Junquiera’s entry and will start last.

Patrick is one of four women on the grid, the others being Simona de Silvestro (23rd), Pippa Mann (31st) and Ana Beatriz (32nd).

The five formers winners on the grid are Castroneves (three wins), Franchitti (two), Rice, Dixon and Wheldon (one each).

# Driver Nat Team Speed mph (kph)
1 77 Alex Tagliani CAN Sam Schmidt Motorsports 227.472 (366.081)
2 9 Scott Dixon NZL Target Chip Ganassi Racing 227.34 (365.868)
3 2 Oriol Servia ESP Newman/Haas Racing 227.168 (365.591)
4 99 Townsend Bell USA Sam Schmidt Motorsports 226.887 (365.139)
5 12 Will Power AUS Team Penske 226.773 (364.956)
6 98 Dan Wheldon GBR Bryan Herta Autosport 226.49 (364.5)
7 44 Buddy Rice USA Panther Racing 225.786 (363.367)
8 67 Ed Carpenter USA Sarah Fisher Racing 225.121 (362.297)
9 10 Dario Franchitti GBR Target Chip Ganassi Racing 226.379 (364.322)
10 5 Takuma Sato JPN KV Racing Technology – Lotus 225.736 (363.287)
11 14 Vitor Meira BRA A.J. Foyt Enterprises 225.59 (363.052)
12 4 JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing 225.579 (363.034)
13 6 James Hinchcliffe CAN Newman/Haas Racing 225.572 (363.023)
14 30 Bertrand Baguette BEL Rahal Letterman Lanigan LLC 225.285 (362.561)
15 11 Davey Hamilton USA Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 225.25 (362.505)
16 3 Helio Castroneves BRA Team Penske 225.216 (362.45)
17 43 John Andretti USA Andretti Autosport 224.981 (362.072)
18 59 Ernesto Viso VEN KV Racing Technology – Lotus 224.732 (361.671)
19 22 Justin Wilson GBR Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 224.511 (361.315)
20 88 Jay Howard GBR Sam Schmidt – RLL Racing 224.483 (361.27)
21 7 Tomas Scheckter ZAF KV Racing Technology – SH Racing 224.433 (361.19)
22 82 Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology – Lotus 224.417 (361.164)
23 78 Simona de Silvestro SWZ HVM Racing 224.392 (361.124)
24 23 Paul Tracy CAN Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 224.939 (362.004)
25 7 Danica Patrick USA Andretti Autosport 224.861 (361.879)
26 6 Ryan Briscoe AUS Team Penske 224.639 (361.521)
27 26 Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport 224.628 (361.504)
28 83 Charlie Kimball USA Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 224.499 (361.296)
29 38 Graham Rahal USA Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing 224.38 (361.105)
30 19 Alex Lloyd GBR Dale Coyne Racing 223.957 (360.424)
31 36 Pippa Mann GBR Conquest Racing 223.936 (360.39)
32 24 Ana Beatriz BRA Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 223.879 (360.298)
33 41 Ryan Hunter-Reay* USA A.J. Foyt Enterprises

*Having failed to qualify in his original entry for Andretti Autosport, Hunter-Reay has taken over the car that was qualified 19th by Bruno Junquiera.

The drivers and cars

The track

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Built in 1909, the surface of the 2.5-mile (4.02km) oval was originally formed of 3.2 million bricks. These were later replaced with asphalt, though a line of bricks remains at the starting line.

The banking is fairly shallow by the standard of most American tracks.

Arie Luyendyk set the record for the fastest ever lap of the course in practice for the 1996 race. He covered it in 37.616s, an average speed of 239.260 mph (385.052 kph).

Today’s speed are slightly lower but even so their average speeds around the track in qualifying are around 30kph higher than the maximum speed seen at the fastest track on the F1 calendar, Monza.

The race distance is 200 laps and drivers will have to stop for fuel several times to complete the distance. They do not race in the rain on oval circuits, so wet weather could cause a postponement, which last happened in 2007.

From 1950-1960 the Indianapolis 500 counted towards the F1 world championship. More recently, the United States Grand Prix was held on the infield circuit at the track from 2000-2007. Unlike the oval circuit, this track ran clockwise.

The track has been changed since then in order to hold motorcycle racing and the infield circuit now also runs anti-clockwise.

Watching the race

The race starts at 12pm Eastern Time which is 5pm in the UK.

Live coverage starts at 4:30pm on Sky Sports 4.

You can also follow live timing and scoring on the IndyCar website.

And of course you can join us for F1 Fanatic Live during the session – look out for the link on the home page.

If you’re going to be watching, let us know who’ll you’ll be supporting in the comments.