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2012 Indianapolis 500 Driver Profiles
Profiles of the 33 drivers in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, in starting order with car number in parentheses, age, hometown, engine, race team, four-lap qualification average and biographical information (w-former winner; r-rookie; all chassis Dallara):
1. (2) Ryan Briscoe, 30, Sydney, Australia; Chevrolet, Team Penske, 226.484 mph. Won first pole of season by narrowest margin in 500 history _ 9.168 inches. Has fared much better at odd-numbered races than even-numbered ones this season, finishing fifth, 14th, seventh and 25th. Has been among top six in points each of past four years but never won title. Career-best finish at Indy was fifth in 2007 driving for Roger Penske’s son, Jay. Best Indy finish since moving to better known Team Penske was 15th in 2009. Started 26th, finished 27th at Indy in 2012.
2. (27) James Hinchcliffe, 25, Toronto; Chevrolet, Andretti Autosport; 226.481. IndyCar’s reigning Rookie of Year replaced Danica Patrick at Andretti in January and is off to fast start. Finished fourth at St. Pete, sixth at Birmingham, third at Long Beach and sixth at Brazil despite leading only two total laps in those races. Third in points behind Penske’s power pack (Will Power and Helio Castroneves). Had seven top-10s last season including fourths at Long Beach, New Hampshire and Kentucky. Started 13th and finished 29th as Indy rookie. Worked as radio broadcaster for speedway’s network at 2010 Indy 500.
3. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, 31, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Chevrolet, Andretti Autosport; 226.240. Moved from back row to front row at Indy. Started in No. 41 car and from 33rd spot in last year’s Indy 500 after failing to qualify in his No. 28 car. Got into race when Michael Andretti and A.J. Foyt buried the family rivalry and cut deal to put Hunter-Reay in Foyt’s qualified car. IndyCar series Rookie of Year in 2007. Sixth-place finish at 2008 Indy earned him 500 Rookie of Year honors. Has five career wins and is one of three Americans to win IndyCar race since April 2008 (Marco Andretti, Iowa, 2011; Ed Carpenter, Kentucky, 2011). Hunter-Reay has won three races in that span including New Hampshire last year. Fourth in points after finishes of third, 12th, sixth and second in 2012.
4. (26) Marco Andretti, 24, Nazareth, Pa.; Chevrolet, Andretti Autosport; 225.456. Consistently been one of fastest cars on track in May. Hard-luck runner-up of 2006 Indy 500 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. Made last year’s race with gutsy four-lap qualifying run on last attempt of Bump Day, knocking out teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay. Has finished second, third and third in three even-year races at Indy (2006, 2008, 2010). Ended 77-race winless streak last year by winning at Iowa for second career IndyCar win.
5. (12) Will Power, 31, Toowoomba, Australia; Chevrolet, Team Penske; 225.422. Two-time series runner-up off to another strong start with wins at Birmingham, Long Beach and Brazil after seventh-place finish in opener at St. Pete. Usually stronger on road and street courses, winning 2010 and 2011 Mario Andretti Road Trophy, but showed improvement on ovals last season including first career win at Texas. Won six times in 2011 and tied series single-season record for most poles (eight). Making fourth straight start from front three rows at Indy, but hasn’t finished higher than eighth.
6. (3) w-Helio Castroneves, 37, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Chevrolet, Team Penske; 225.172. One of series’ most popular drivers also has been one of most successful drivers in speedway history. Only foreign-born three-time 500 winner (2001, 2002 and 2009) and 2003 runner-up. Has nine top-10s in 11 career Indy starts. Tied with Rex Mays and A.J. Foyt for second-most career Indy poles (four), trailing only Rick Mears (six). Did not win race last season, first time that happened since 1999. Ended 18-race winless streak by taking season-opener at St. Pete. Former “Dancing with the Stars” winner has won 19 races since moving to IndyCar in 2001 and is second in points in 2012, 45 behind teammate Will Power.
7. (67) r-Josef Newgarden, 21, Hendersonville, Tenn.; Honda, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, 224.037. Primary driver for Fisher’s team and youngest starter at Indy. Won’t turn 22 until December. Finished all 190 laps of season’s first two races, finishing 11th and 17th. But after starting second at Long Beach, failed to complete any laps thanks to collision with four-time IndyCar winner Dario Franchitti. Finished 61 of 75 laps at Brazil before another crash forced him to settle for 23rd. Was 2011 Indy Lights champ after winning five of 14 races and finishing on podium 10 times. Also has raced in GP3, Formula Ford and Skip Barber National Series for Racer of Tomorrow LTD.
8. (11) Tony Kanaan, 37, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Chevrolet, KV Racing Technology, 224.751. Took original qualifying speed rather making complete attempt in Saturday’s pole shootout. Driving in familiar No. 11 car this year and hoping it produces better results. Finished in top six in points every year since 2003 including 2004 when he completed every lap of every race and won series title. Has been unlucky at Indy with finishes of 28th, third, second, eighth, fifth, 12th, 29th, 27th, 11th and fourth. Won Indy pole in 2005. Only driver to lead laps in each of first seven starts at Indy. Completed ironman competition in Hawaii in October.
9. (5) E.J. Viso, 27, Caracas, Venezuela; Chevrolet, KV Racing Technology; 224.422. Like Kanaan, stood on original qualifying time without completing full four-lap attempt in Indy’s unique pole shootout for top nine cars. Only Venezuelan starting this year’s 500. Finished season-best eighth at St. Pete and has two top-10s this year (ninth at Brazil). Has two top-fives in 69 career IndyCar starts with career-best finish of third at Iowa in 2010. Was Formula One test driver in 2006. Competed in European GP 2 Series, winning twice. Making fourth career start at Brickyard. Previously, hadn’t qualified better than 18th and still hasn’t finished higher than 24th.
10. (8) r-Rubens Barrichello, 40, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Chevrolet, KV Racing Technology, 224.264. Second highest rookie qualifier in 33-car field behind Newgarden. Two-time Formula One runner-up. Made jump to IndyCar this season and has joined his pal, Kanaan, as teammate. Started record 322 F1 races, winning 11 times. Has eighth-highest points total in F1 history and is most popular driver in home country (Brazil). Americans remember him as man who let teammate Michael Schumacher move past him in final straightaway at 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, per team orders. One of seven drivers in field who have won at Indy _ his win coming at 2002 U.S. Grand Prix with Ferrari.
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