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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.


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