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10 things to know about the Indianapolis 500
HONDA vs CHEVY: It seems to be deja vu for engine manufacturer Chevrolet, which dominated all the practice sessions for a second consecutive year. But it was Honda who claimed the big prize last season, with signs that it had some more speed on Carburation Day. It happened again this year as Honda driver Simon Pagenaud shot to the top of the speed chart in the final practice session, and Honda drivers claimed six of the top 10 spots.
PRIDE OF JAPAN: Among the Honda drivers who has a chance to win Sunday is Sato, the current IndyCar points leader. He became the first Japanese-born driver to win an IndyCar race last month at Long Beach, and he nearly won Brazil until James Hinchcliffe snatched the victory away with a pass in the final turn. Sato is trying to overcome last year’s nightmare finish in which he went for the win on the final lap but spun as he tried to pass Franchitti.
GIRL POWER: There are a series-tying four women in Sunday’s field after Katherine Legge arrived last week, pieced together a deal to drive a third car for Sam Schmidt and qualified it in the field on her first day back in an Indy car since last September’s season finale. It remains to be seen just how competitive the women are on race day. Legge was eighth fastest on Carb Day, but it’s Simona de Silvestro who may have the best chance to run up front. Driving for KV Racing this year, she’s shown speed with a Chevrolet engine and nearly scored a podium finish at St. Pete. Ana Beatriz and Pippa Mann are the other two women in the field. The stakes were raised by Danica Patrick, who qualified fourth in her 2005 debut and became the first woman to lead laps at Indy.
HOME SWEET HOME: There’s a familiar feel to the Indy 500 this year as Jim Nabors returns to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” a year after missing the race because of heart surgery. A video was shown of him performing the song at his home in Hawaii was aired instead. Florence Henderson, an Indiana native who played Carol Brady on TV’s “Brady Bunch,” traditionally sings “God Bless America” is skipping the race because of illness. Indiana singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin will perform instead. Christian music singer Sandi Patty will perform the national anthem for a record sixth time, and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, a former Colts quarterback who is part-time owner of Panther Racing, will drive the pace car.
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