A wide variety of drivers dot field
Begin with the number one and then the fraction one-third.
One woman will take the green flag when the 98th Indy 500 hits the starting line at noon Sunday.
Pippa Mann will start in her third 500 and looks to improve her best 20th place finish in 2011. She is also one of four British drivers in the starting lineup.
The race will be broadcast live on ABC TV beginning at 11 a.m.
One also represents the number of drivers from three different countries, the number of current NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers qualified, and the number of high school seniors in the field.
Kurt Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champ, is the fastest rookie and had an eventful week after being introduced to the Turn 2 wall on Monday.
Takumo Sato is the only driver from Japan and showed his brilliance at the Speedway last year. He is behind A.J. Foyt’s No.14 and will start 23rd.
Then there is the one driver from Russia – Mikhail Aleshin. He’s another rookie and will start his first Indy 500 from 15th in car No. 7.
Also Oriol Servia, the only Spaniard, will be starting his sixth Indy 500 from the 18th position driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Aside from Busch and Aleshin, problably the most watched rookie is Sage Karam who turned 19 in March.
He is from Nazareth, Pa., the same hometown as the famed Andretti family, and he won the Indy Lights title last year.
Karam was going to attend his Nazareth Area High School prom (his crew threw a prom for him in the garage area Wednesday) with Ana de Ferran (daughter of 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran) but instead will wheel a car fielded jointly by Chip Ganassi Racing and Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing.
It’s got the No. 22 painted on the side which happens to be Troy Ruttman’s age when he won the 1952 race when he was 22 years and 80 days old.
He is still the youngest winner 62 years later.
The lineup includes two drivers from Brazil, defending champ Tony Kanaan and three-time champ Helio Castroneves; two French drivers, Sebastien Bourdais and Simon Pagenaud; three Canadians, Alex Tagliani, Jacque Villeneuve and middle of the front row starter James Hinchcliffe.
There are four British drivers, Mann, Justin Wilson, Jack Hawksworth and rookie Martin Plowman; four Columbian drivers, Juan Pablo Montoya, last year’s sensation Carlos Munoz, Carlos Huertas and Sebastian Saavedra; four Australian drivers, Ryan Briscoe, James Davison, previous winner Scott Dixon and Will Power, who sits on the outside of row one.
Now for the one-third.
There are 11 American drivers in the 33-car field including back-to-back polesitter Ed Carpenter, Marco Andretti (outside of row 2), Josef Newgarden, J.R. Hildebrand, Busch, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal, Townsend Bell, Charlie Kimball, Karam and 1996 winner Buddy Lazier.
The Indy 500 is still the largest single-day sporting event anywhere, but moving that one-third number north will help with pre-race day events like today’s Carb Day action where you can get live streaming at: racecontrol.indycar.com/.