Indy 500 driver profiles
The Associated Press | May 25,2013
Profiles of the 33 drivers in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, in starting order with car number in parentheses, age, hometown, engine, race team, and biographical information (w-former winner; r-rookie):
1. (20) Ed Carpenter, 32, Indianapolis; Chevrolet, Ed Carpenter Racing. Stepson of former speedway executive Tony George became first member of track-owning family to win Indianapolis 500 pole. Has two career wins. Started own team last season and was in contention for 500 victory late in last year’s race. Is only owner-driver in series. Ed Carpenter Racing dubbed itself as “the little team that could” and carries the decals from Carpenter’s alma mater, Butler, the little school that reached back-to-back NCAA championship games as proof. Has 32 top-10 finishes in 132 career starts but highest finish this season is 14th at St. Petersburg. Regular attendee of Indiana Pacers games. Close friends with Butler coach Brad Stevens.
2. (26) r-Carlos Munoz, 21, Bogota, Colombia; Chevrolet, Andretti Autosport. Firestone Indy Lights points leader will make IndyCar debut at 500. Youngest driver in race, born three months later than Conor Daly. Finished twice with day’s fastest practice lap, consistently near top of speed charts all month. First rookie to start on front row since Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000. Montoya also is from Colombia and won race that year. Won twice last season in Lights Series, at Edmonton and Fontana. Ran previously in Italian Formula Renault 2.0 and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championships, Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup.
3. (25) Marco Andretti, 26, Nazareth, Pa.; Chevrolet, Andretti Autosport. Consistently fast for second straight May at Indy. Comes into race second in points and off to best start of career despite running first four races on road and street courses. Exudes confidence heading back to his favorite courses, ovals. Finished as Indy runner-up in 2006 in second-closest finish in race’s history. Still chasing family’s first win at Brickyard since grandfather, Mario, won in 1969. Father, Michael, has been to Indy’s Victory Lane twice as team owner with the late Dan Wheldon in 2005 and Dario Franchitti in 2007. Also finished third in 2008 and 2010 and fourth last year at Indy. Has two IndyCar wins in 118 starts. Has changed to No. 25 after spending last seven seasons in No. 26 car.
4. (5) E.J. Viso, 28, Caracas, Venezuela; Chevrolet, Andretti Autosport. Taking advantage of first shot with one of IndyCar’s big-name teams, delivering impressive qualifying run. Led 110 laps in season opener at St. Petersburg but finished seventh. Following finishes of 12th and 22nd in next two races, qualified career-best second at Brazil then finished with season-best sixth. Only Venezuelan starting this year’s race. Has three top-fives in 86 IndyCar starts. Produced career-best finish of third at Iowa in 2010. Was Formula One test driver in 2006. Competed in European GP 2 Series, winning twice. Best finish at Indy was 18th last year.
5. (2) r-AJ Allmendinger, 31, Los Gatos, Calif., Chevrolet, Team Penske. Named after first four-time Indy winner, A.J. Foyt. Former Cup driver for Roger Penske made IndyCar debut for Penske at Barber, starting 10th and finishing 19th. Also raced at Long Beach. Lost job with Penske’s NASCAR team last summer after failing random drug test. Penske gave Allmendinger second chance in series where his team has had its greatest success. Ran fast enough this month that teammate Will Power used Allmendinger’s setup in qualifying. Penske has added Detroit race to Allmendinger’s post-Indy schedule. Won five times in 40 career starts in now defunct Champ Car.
6. (12) Will Power, 32, Toowoomba, Australia; Chevrolet, Team Penske. Comes to Indy after three straight runner-up finishes in series championship. Bad luck at Indy continued on Pole Day when No. 12 car posted 228.884 mph more, more than 0.5 mph faster than next best qualifier but lost pole in nine-car shootout late in day. Been extremely successful on road and street courses, winning Mario Andretti Road Trophy last three years. Got first career oval win at Texas in 2011. Has won 15 races since joining Team Penske as part-time driver in 2009 but has only top-10 finish in 2013 -- fifth place at Barber. Completed 799 of 800 possible laps in first four Indy starts finishing career best fifth in 2009.
7. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, 32, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Chevrolet, Andretti Autosport. Defending series champion and last year’s A.J. Foyt Trophy as best driver on ovals. Won season’s second race, at Barber. Other three finishes are 18th at St. Pete, 24th at Long Beach and 11th at Brazil. Won four times last season. Has seven wins since moving to IndyCars from Champ Car in 2007. Competed in Indy’s nine-car pole shootout for second straight year after starting last in 33-car field in 2011 when switched from Michael Andretti’s non-qualified car to one that A.J. Foyt’s team qualified. Making sixth career Indy start but hasn’t finished higher than 18th since rookie season when sixth-place finish gave him 500 rookie of the year honors. Was IndyCar series rookie of year in 2007. Became first-time father in 2012. Is fan of Miami Heat.
8. (3) w-Helio Castroneves, 38, Sao Paulo; Chevrolet, Team Penske. One of series’ best-known drivers has been one of most successful in speedway history. One of two foreign-born three-time 500 winners (2001, 2002 and 2009). Other is Dario Franchitti. Also was Indy runner-up in 2003. Has 10 top-10s in 12 starts at 500. Tied with Rex Mays and A.J. Foyt for second-most career Indy poles (four), trailing only Rick Mears (six). Comes to Indianapolis second in points this year and still seeking first points title in either CART or IndyCars. Won two races last season after failing to win a race in 2011 for first time in career. Former “Dancing with the Stars” winner has 21 IndyCar wins since 2001, though Team Penske still looking for first win of season.
9. (27) James Hinchcliffe, 26, Toronto; Chevrolet, Andretti Autosport. Season’s only two-time race winner comes to Indy with momentum after making last-turn pass to beat Takuma Sato at Brazil. Fourth in points this season after finishing eighth last year. Two other finishes this season were 26th. Took over Andretti’s GoDaddy car after Danica Patrick left for NASCAR in 2012. Was IndyCar rookie of year in 2011. Writes words “Go” and “Stop” on racing shoes, something he did before making jump to IndyCars. Attempting to join Jacques Villeneuve (1995) as only Canadians to win 500. Worked as radio broadcaster for speedway’s network at 2010 Indy 500. Self-appointed Mayor of Hinchtown, an online community created by himself.
10. (4) JR Hildebrand, 25, Sausalito, Calif.; Chevrolet, Panther Racing. Has five top-five finishes in 38 career starts, including season-best fifth at Long Beach this season. Just missed qualifying for last weekend’s pole shootout. Best-known as hard-luck 500 runner-up, crashing on last turn of last lap in 2011 while trying to pass Charlie Kimball’s slower car. Skidded across finish line in second to the late Dan Wheldon. Hasn’t finished higher than fourth since crash that prevented him from being first American rookie to win 500 since Louis Meyer in 1928. Panther Racing’s streak of four straight second-place finishes ended last year. Won 2009 Indy Lights title with four victories. Was national merit scholar, graduating from high school with 4.12 GPA.
11. (98) Alex Tagliani, 39, Quebec, Canada; Honda, Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian. Driving for Bryan Herta, who owned Wheldon’s winning car (No. 98) in 2011. Top Honda qualifier in field. Recorded 100th career top-10 with season-best 10th at season opener in St. Pete. Starting from same position, middle of Row 4, for second consecutive season. Surprise 2011 Indy pole winner and remains only Canadian to start on inside of Row 1 at Indy. Has one career win in 191 career starts between Champ Car and IndyCar. Win came at Road America in 2004. Comes into race 19th in points with finishes of 10th, 19th, 11th and 12th. Does altitude training and has started his own brand of “TAG on the GO” peanut-free cookies because of severe allergy to all nuts.
12. (11) Tony Kanaan, 38, Sao Paulo; Chevrolet, KV Racing Technology. Calls Indianapolis a “second home” and says fans have always made him feel like a winner at one of few places he’s never won. Trips to Indy have been filled with hard knocks -- other than winning 2005 Indy pole. Only driver in Indy history to lead laps in each of first seven starts. Has led 225 laps at Indy, more than any non-winner other than his former boss, Michael Andretti (431), and Rex Mays (266). Finished 28th, third, second, eighth, fifth, 12th, 29th, 27th, 11th, fourth and third in 11 Indy starts. Streak of eight straight top-six finishes in points ended last year when finished ninth. Won 2004 series title by completing every lap of every race. Season-best finish was fourth in season opener at St. Pete. Was 21st in Brazil, disappointing hometown fans by running out of fuel. Competed and completed ironman competition in Hawaii in October 2011.
13. (22) Oriol Servia, 38, Pals, Spain; Chevrolet, Panther-Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. IndyCar regular preparing for final race with DRR as longtime IndyCar disbands after 500. Also lost job with Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing after 2011 season when that team disbanded. Has finished fourth and sixth in last two Indy starts and finished on lead lap in 2008, 211 and 2012. Dropped out of 2009 race with mechanical problem after 98 laps. Finished sixth at Long Beach and fourth at Brazil, after qualifying 13th. Has 51 top-five finishes in 183 career starts dating to 2000. Won Indy Lights title in 1999 and was 2005 Champ Car runner-up. Father was two-time Spanish rally champ.
14. (18) Justin Wilson, 34, Sheffield, England; Honda, Dale Coyne Racing. English driver got off to quick start with finishes of ninth, eight and third before running into trouble at Brazil and finishing 20th. Still seventh in points chase. Making sixth Indy 500 start with best finish of seventh in 2010 and 2012. Has completed all but one lap at 500 over past three years. Earned third IndyCar win last season Texas. At 6-foot-3 1/2 (1.92 meters), is tallest driver in series. Younger brother, Stefan, is race-car driver who has also is broadcaster. Funded early racing career by selling 900 shares of himself to shareholders. Portion of winnings are paid back to those original investors. Diagnosed with dyslexia as child and will carry decal of local Dyslexia Institute of Indiana on car.
15. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, 34, Le Mans, France; Chevrolet, Dragon Racing. One of three race starters trying to become first Frenchman to reach Indy’s Victory Lane. Making just third career Indy start. Previous finishes of 12th and 20th. Had five top-10s in last six starts in 2011, then moved to Dragon Racing last year and struggled with Lotus engine. Has shown improvement this season with three top-15s in first four races. Won 31 of 73 races during five-year Champ Car career including series crown each of last four years. Also competed in F1 and SuperLeague Formula before moving to IndyCars. Avid cyclist and runner who indulges in crepes with vanilla ice cream, bananas and hot fudge.
16. (9) w-Scott Dixon,32, Auckland, New Zealand; Honda, Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Winner of 2008 Indy 500 finished second to teammate Dario Franchitti last year at Indy. Also was Indy pole-sitter in 2008. Has six straight top-six finishes on world-famous 2.5-mile oval and has led 314 laps in last four Indy races. Joined Ganassi’s team during 2002 CART season and is team’s longest-tenured driver. Finished fifth and second in first two races. Is fifth in points. Has 29 career wins and 100 top-fives in 205 career CART-IndyCar starts. Two-time series points champ (2003 and 2008). Would have three if not for running out of fuel on last turn of last lap in 2007 season finale.
17. (10) w-Dario Franchitti, 40, Edinburgh, Scotland; Honda, Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Defending 500 champion started 16th last year. Second foreign-born Indy three-time winner (2007, 2010 and 2012). All three wins ended under caution. Marks first time since 1987 two three-time winners have started at Indy. Opened season with back-to-back 25th-place finishes at St. Petersburg and Barber before winning Long Beach pole. Finished fourth and seventh last two races. Enters weekend 15th in points. Has won four series titles including three straight from 2009-11 after ending ill-fated NASCAR experiment in 2008. One win last season was lowest IndyCar total since 2006 when he had no wins in 13 starts. Franchitti and actress Ashley Judd announced in January they would divorce.
18. (14) Takuma Sato, 36, Tokyo; Honda, A.J. Foyt Enterprises. Former Formula One driver became first Japanese native to win IndyCar race when he took checkered flag at Long Beach. Gave Foyt’s team its first trip to Victory Lane since Iowa in 2002. Nearly duplicated feat at Brazil but was passed by Hinchcliffe on last turn and wound up second. Still leading points heading to Indy. Looked like might win 500 last year as he made last lap move to pass Franchitti but tires appeared to touch and Sato wound up in wall. Wound up 17th. Ironically, starts one spot behind Franchitti on Sunday. Career-best finish at Indy was third at Formula One’s 2004 U.S. Grand Prix. Was high school cycling champion in Japan and cycling remains his primary training regimen for racing.
19. (83) Charlie Kimball, 28, Camarillo, Calif.; Honda, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing. Became first licensed diabetic driver to start 500 by making 2011 grid. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2007 and wears device that monitors blood-glucose level during races. Finished 13th as rookie and eighth last year after leading three laps. Was prominent part of finish when Hildebrand tried to avoid Kimball’s slowing car in final turn of last lap, starting memorable crash. Had career-best fourth at Barber last month. Son of former race-car design engineer. Received prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service last year. Helped Ganassi team capture Rolex 24 at Daytona in first Grand-Am start.
20. (19) James Jakes, 25, Leeds, England; Honda, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. One of four English drivers to qualify for this year’s race. Made IndyCar debut in 2011 after growing up on European racing circuits. Made 500 debut last season, starting 17th and finishing 15th. Finished career-best eighth at Toronto last season. This season has been struggle with best showing at Long Beach (12th). Now lives in Orlando, Fla. and has done some professional modeling. If wasn’t racing, Jakes says he’d like to be clothing designer.
21. (77) Simon Pagenaud, 29, Montmorillion, France; Honda, Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports. Last year’s IndyCar rookie of year hopes to improve on 16th place finish at 500. Rebounded from 24th place finish at St. Pete to finish sixth, eighth and ninth in last three races, moving up to 12th in points. Like Bourdais and Tristan Vautier, trying to end French drought by reaching Indy’s Victory Lane. Nicknamed “Jean Gerrard” after French driver portrayed in movie “Talladega Nights.” In 2011, finished second at 12 Hours of Sebring and Le Mans 24 Hours. Had six top-fives in 14 starts in only Champ Car season (2007) and was eighth in points that year.
22. (60) Townsend Bell, 38, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Chevrolet, Panther Racing. Taking temporary break from broadcast booth to make fifth straight IndyCar season debut at Indianapolis. Normally works as race analyst for NBC Sports Network’s IndyCar coverage. Is making seventh career 500 start. Top finish in race was fourth in 2009 after starting 24th. Notable this year because of colorful hat he wears on pit row. Was Indy Lights rookie of year in 2000 and series champion in 2001. Drove in former CART series in 2002 and Formula 3000 in 2003 before joining IndyCar in 2004. Had three top-10 finishes in 2008.
23. (8) Ryan Briscoe, 31, Sydney; Honda, Chip Ganassi Racing. Winner of 2012 Indy pole switched from Roger Penske’s heavyweight team to drive part-time for Penske’s biggest rival. Pole win was narrowest margin in Indy history (9.168 inches, 23.29 centimeters). Driven for Ganassi, Penske and Jay Penske at Indy. Had five straight top-six finishes in points with Penske’s team. Has finished fifth at Indy twice (2007 and 2012). Wife, Nicole, works with ESPN on NASCAR coverage. Has home in Lake Norman, N.C., and is trying to teach two dogs manners.
24. (78) Simona de Silvestro, 24, Mont-sur-Rolle, Switzerland; Chevrolet, KV Racing Technology. Minus Lotus engine, got off to best start of career with finishes of sixth, ninth and eighth in first four races. Enters 500 ninth in points. Looking for third straight top-10 finish for first time in IndyCar career. Became fan favorite at Indy in 2011 with courageous qualifying run, driving with burned hands sustained in frightening, fiery practice crash two days earlier. Career-best finish was fourth at St. Pete in 2011 season-opener. Second woman to win in Atlantics and five career wins are most by woman in Atlantics history. Calls seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher racing hero.
25. (21) Josef Newgarden, 22, Hendersonville, Tenn.; Honda, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Top youngster bumped out of starting field on Pole Day, requalified Bump Day as fastest second-day qualifier. Put Fisher’s team in pole shootout last year as IndyCar rookie. Coming off season-best fifth at Brazil after starting 25th. Has two top-10s this year in four races after none in 14 starts last season. Won Firestone Indy Lights race in 2011, Freedom 100, at Indy. First American to win International Formula Ford Festival (Kent Class) in 2008. Also has raced in GP3, Formula Ford and Skip Barber National Series for Racer of Tomorrow LTD. Enjoys rock climbing and cooking.
26. (15) Graham Rahal, 24, New Albany, Ohio; Honda, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Son of 1986 race winner Bobby Rahal making sixth career start at Brickyard -- second for his dad but first as full-time driver for his father. Best finish at Indy was third in 2011. Has no other Indy 500 top-10s. Became youngest winner in IndyCar history (19 years, 93 days) when won IndyCar debut in 2008 at St. Pete. Has not won since then, a span of 79 races. Nearly ended drought last month at Long Beach with second-place finish. Won two poles in 2009, none since. Avid fan of Ohio State Buckeyes and Columbus Blue Jackets. Restored 1964 Mini Cooper as high school senior class project.
27. (6) Sebastian Saavedra, 22, Bogota, Colombia; Chevrolet, Dragon Racing. First driver born in 1990s to compete in 500 is now making move from part-time IndyCar driver to full-timer with Dragon Racing. Was third Colombian to start race, joining Roberto Guerrero and Juan Pablo Montoya. Only top-20 finish this season was 19th at Brazil. Dropped out of two 2013 races because of contact. Making third career Indy start with finishes of 23rd in 2010 and 26th last year. Firestone Indy Lights rookie of year in 2009 after finishing third in points.
28. (55) r-Tristan Vautier, 23, Corenc, France; Honda, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Last year’s Firestone Indy Lights champ is one of four rookies to qualify for 500. Qualified sixth at St. Pete and third at Barber in first career IndyCar starts. Earned first top-10 in season’s second race (Barber). First driver to win back-to-back Indy Mazda Road To Indy scholarships. Started racing karts at age 4. Raced in several European developmental series’ before moving to U.S. in 2010. Father helped establish French race course at Laquais. Drove for Sam Schmidt’s team in Lights series before graduating to IndyCars.
29. (18) Ana Beatriz, 28, Sao Paulo; Honda, Dale Coyne Racing. One of eight drivers bumped out of top 24 starting spots on Pole Day. Returned on Bump Day and easily qualified for fourth straight Indy start. Finished 21st,21st and 23rd in previous appearances. Running fifth straight race for Coyne’s team but only finished one (14th at Long Beach) with car still running. Spent 2008 and 2009 competing on Indy Lights circuit, becoming first woman to win in series -- at Nashville in 2008. Won Indy Lights Rising Star Award in 2008. Finished fifth in South American Formula 3 points in 2006 and won three times in Brazilian Formula Renault Series from 2003-05.
30. (63) Pippa Mann, 29, Ipswich, England; Honda, Dale Coyne Racing. Making first IndyCar start since sustaining injuries in 2011 crash that killed two-time 500 winner Dan Wheldon. Mann and Beatriz are first female teammates to start at Indy. Started 31st and 20th in only other 500 starts. Began career in European developmental series and was first woman to compete in Formula Renault 3.5. Moved to IndyCars in 2009. Big fan of Twitter and Instagram.
31. (41) r-Conor Daly, 21, Noblesville, Ind.; Honda, A.J. Foyt Enterprises. Local racer with strong racing ties will be youngest American rookie to start race since Graham Rahal in 2008. Spent opening weekend of practice racing in Spain. Airline lost HANS device on way back from Spain. Only driver to hit wall in first week of practice or two qualifying days. Father, Derek, started six 500s and has been race analyst on TV. Stepfather, Doug Boles, is speedway’s spokesman. Made five starts and won one race in 2011 in Firestone Indy Lights. Moved to European GP3 Series in 2012. Won seven races and was Formula Star Mazda champion in 2010. In 2008 was detained along with Josef Newgarden by British border patrol, who Daly says “didn’t believe anything we had to say.” First job was being supermarket bag boy. Enjoys snowboarding when not racing.
32. (91) w-Buddy Lazier, 45, Vail, Colo.; Chevrolet, Lazier Partners Racing Inc. Fourth former 500 winner to make race. Won in 1996, first year of CART-IndyCar (then Indy Racing League) split. At 45, oldest driver in starting field. Despite 16 career starts and five top-five finishes at Indy, took refresher course before qualifying because last start came in 2008. Failed to qualify at Indy in 2009. Hasn’t driven in any races since 2009. Competing for father, Bob, gives race three-father son teams. Others are Michael and Marco Andretti and Bobby and Graham Rahal. Race organizers believe that’s race record. Father started 500 in 1981. Brother, Jacques, has started six 500s.
33. (81) Katherine Legge, 32, Guildford, England; Honda, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Late hire by Sam Schmidt put car in field after almost no track time this month. Made it in, thanks in part, to Michel Jourdain Jr.’s inability to get his car up to speed. Started 10 races last year and posted one top-10 with Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing. First woman to win major open-wheel race in North America, driving in Toyota Atlantics in 2005. Was first woman to compete in Champ Car. Following merger between Champ Car and IndyCar, returned to Europe as factory driver in DTM touring-car series. Had six top-10 finishes in 28 Champ Car starts from 2006-07.