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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Rick Mears
Tony Kanaan gave his nose a little scratch on the tip, then a quick kiss.
Juan Pablo Montoya turned his first laps in an Indy car in 13 years Monday during his first test with new team Penske Racing.
Traditionalists balked and some were downright outraged at the mere suggestion stock cars dare set their fenders on the sacred ground of Indianapolis.
The 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 is Sunday with a wide-open field and a pair of drivers trying to join the elite list of four-time winners. Two Americans start on the front row, along with Carlos Munoz, an unknown Indy 500 newcomer who grew up idolizing Juan Pablo Montoya _ a fellow Colombian who won "The Greatest Spectacle In Racing" as a rookie.
Dario Franchitti's disappointment in failing to join the exclusive club of four-time Indianapolis 500 champions was somewhat assuaged when he realized who had won.
Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti charged to the front during a wild first half of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, both trying to win at a place that has caused plenty of heartache.
Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti swapped the lead in the early laps of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, both of them trying to win at a place that has caused them plenty of heartache.
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):
Dario Franchitti says he doesn't look at the numbers or concern himself with where he stacks up on the list of all-time greats.
They raced 1-2-3 in line, trading the lead a whopping 15 times over the final, frantic 75 laps. All three drivers had a last-lap plan in mind when they zipped past the white flag, and it was Takuma Sato who acted first with a bold move for the win.
They have dinner together. They chat it up on Twitter. They offer congratulations on jobs well done, solace when things don't go so well.
He's the hometown hope, the Butler University alum and die-hard Indiana Pacers fan who has put his modest, one-car program on the pole for the Indianapolis 500 ahead of powerhouse programs from Penske Racing and Andretti Autosport.
AJ Allmendinger's parents attended their first Indianapolis 500 in 1979, when they camped in a grassy lot and watched Rick Mears win his first 500.
Helio Castroneves figures plenty of today's fans have never seen a driver win the Indianapolis 500 for a record-tying fourth time.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti topped the speed chart Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, turning a lap at an average of 224.236 mph in the fifth practice session for the May 26 race.
"A lot of things have changed," Mears said. "But a lot of things haven't. I think a good line then is a good line today."
"Rick Mears and I were talking once. He said `If you think you belong in the company of your heroes, there's something wrong with you,'" Franchitti said. "I can't argue with that. The numbers could be wherever they are on the list. But those guys are my heroes, and I just don't think of myself as one of them."