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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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