Grand Prix of Indianapolis Preview

The modified Indy road course

Today starts practice for Saturday's inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course built inside the famous 2.5-mile Indy Motor Speedway oval. Who will join the famed names of Harroun, Gordon and Rossi as the first winners of an inaugural race at IMS? This story highlights some of the stories to follow this weekend as well as provide the entry list, and weekend schedule.

Power looks to continue hot streak

With three-straight top-five finishes to start the 2014 season, Team Penske's Will Power leads the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings as the series heads to Indianapolis for the Month of May. Can he continue his strong start to the 2014 season by scoring another win at Barber?

Who will be the first?

The Grand Prix of Indianapolis is the first event on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Who will join the famed names of Harroun, Gordon and Rossi as the first winners of an inaugural race at IMS?

Hunter-Reay aims for back-to-back victories

Ryan Hunter-Reay rides the momentum of another win at Barber Motorsports Park into the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Hunter-Reay trails Will Power by 18 points heading into the inaugural race. Can Hunter-Reay make it two-in-a-row at IMS?

Dixon off to strong start in title defense

Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon has shown he's a contender to repeat as Verizon IndyCar Series champion. The New Zealand native won the Indianapolis 500 in 2008. Can Dixon continue his strong start to 2014 and claim his first victory on the IMS Road Course?

Conway aims for second win of 2014 at Indy

Mike Conway was a surprise winner at Long Beach, inheriting the lead with three laps remaining and returning Ed Carpenter Racing to the winner's circle. Now, the Englishman looks for another milestone – helping the team win its first entrant championship. Can Conway win again and help the team stay near the top of the standings?

Team Penske looks to continue Indy domination

Team Penske has won 15 Indianapolis 500s and team owner Roger Penske will look to add another trophy to his team's collection during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis with three strong cars. Helio Castroneves won the inaugural race at Barber Motorsports Park in 2010. Can he, Will Power or Juan Pablo Montoya score another win in Indy?

Andretti looking to move up

After finishing a career-best fifth in the 2013 standings, Marco Andretti is looking to finish with a championship for the first time in his career. Driving for his father Michael's team, Marco, who won on the Road Course in Indy Lights in 2005, hopes to add to his family's storied racing history in 2014.

Montoya looks to pick up where he left off

Juan Pablo Montoya is still adapting to his return to Indy car racing, but a fourth-place finish at the streets of Long Beach shows the former champion doesn't have that much more rust to shake off. Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner, made six starts in F1 on the road course, but never finished on the podium. Can he achieve another Indy milestone and get back to winner's circle?

Familiar to some

The new 14-turn, 2.434-mile road course took 70 local construction crew members 35,400 hours to transform the old IMS road course for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. But the track is still familiar to Verizon IndyCar Series drivers who have raced and won on the course. Sebastien Bourdais won the first sports car race on the track in 2012, while Marco Andretti won the first Indy Lights race on the course in 2005. Takuma Sato earned his first Formula One podium on the track in 2004.

The Ganassi-Andretti engine swap

Chip Ganassi has a habit of shaking things up for his team on a regular basis. This year, his Verizon IndyCar Series team switched to the Chevrolet engine. Meanwhile, Andretti Autosport, which won the 2012 championship with Chevrolet power and driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, has made the move to Honda. Although Honda and Chevy ended up nearly equal in terms of race wins in 2013 (Will Power's victory in the season finale tipped the balance in favor of Chevy, 10-9), Scott Dixon won the championship with Honda. For the first time since INDYCAR's 2.2-liter turbo V-6 specification was introduced, Honda will utilize twin turbochargers.

Generation Next

James Hinchcliffe, Simon Pagenaud and Charlie Kimball all scored their first win in 2013, finished top 10 in the championship standings and established themselves as the next stars of the sport. Will 2014 be the year a new, young star becomes a champion?

Home-grown heroes

The Verizon IndyCar Series features a group of home-grown drivers who represent the stars and stripes in the most diverse series in motorsports. Former series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, race winners Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Charlie Kimball and Graham Rahal and rising star Josef Newgarden all worked their way up the American open-wheel ladder to reach the Verizon IndyCar Series.

All-American effort

Second-generation driver Graham Rahal will look to return Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to victory lane sporting the colors of the Army National Guard. Can he fulfill the promise he showed early in his career with a strong performance at Indianapolis?

Briscoe returns to Chip Ganassi Racing stable

Ryan Briscoe returns to the team where he started in Verizon IndyCar Series career – Chip Ganassi Racing. The Australian, who has seven wins to his credit, will drive the No. 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, renewing the relationship that began at the Indianapolis 500 in 2013. How will Briscoe fare in his second go-around with Chip Ganassi Racing?

Race Notes:

• The Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be the first Verizon IndyCar Series event conducted on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.

• Firestone, a brand known for performance and innovation, recognizes teamwork at the highest level with the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award. For each Verizon IndyCar Series event this year, with the exception of the Indianapolis 500-mile race, the team with the shortest amount of accumulated time on pit lane will be awarded $10,000. During doubleheader events, the winning teams will be awarded $5,000 per race. INDYCAR shall determine the recipient following the conclusion of each race. The No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet crew won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama with a total pit lane time of 56.52 seconds, as driver Scott Dixon finished third in the race. Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who won the inaugural Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg earlier this season, will receive their second award during pre-race festivities at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Season to Date:

Will Power won the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. It was the 22nd win of his Indy car career, tying Tony Bettenhausen and Emerson Fittipaldi for 19th all time.

Mike Conway won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the second time in his career. It was his third Indy car win.

Ryan Hunter-Reay won the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for the second consecutive season.

Mikhail Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth and Carlos Huertas started their first career Verizon IndyCar Series race at St. Petersburg.

There were six race leaders and seven lead changes in the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.

Milestones & Records:

• Should Scott Dixon win the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship, he will join A.J. Foyt, Dario Franchitti, Sebastien Bourdais and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win four Indy car titles in his career. Foyt won seven championships in his career, while Andretti, Bourdais and Franchitti each won four titles.

• With his next victory, Scott Dixon will tie Al Unser Jr., for sixth on the all-time wins list. Dixon, the active leader for wins, won his 33rd race at Houston's Reliant Park in October 2013.

• With a victory in 2014, Scott Dixon will extend his streak of consecutive seasons with a win to 10.

• Will Power's win at St. Petersburg extended his streak of consecutive seasons with a win to eight.

• With his next victory, Sebastien Bourdais will move into sole possession of eighth place on the all-time wins list. Bourdais is tied with Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy with 31 wins.

• With his next victory, Helio Castroneves will tie Rick Mears for 11th place on the all-time wins list. Castroneves won his 28th race at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8, 2013.

• Helio Castroneves needs two earned poles to reach 40 career poles in his Indy car career. Castroneves is the active leader with 38 pole positions.

• With one pole in 2014, Scott Dixon will extend his Verizon IndyCar Series streak to eight consecutive seasons.

• Tony Kanaan will attempt to make his 219th consecutive start, which would extend his all-time record. Scott Dixon with 160 straight starts (sixth all time), Marco Andretti with 136 straight starts (13th all time) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (19th all time) with 110 straight starts are the only active drivers with a streak of more than 100 consecutive starts.

• Helio Castroneves is the active leader in starts with 280, which is eighth on the all-time list.

• Tony Kanaan has 279 starts, which is ninth on the all-time list.

• Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves are the active leader in top-five finishes with 112, which is tied with Bobby Unser for eighth on the all-time list.

Entry List

Car Driver Hometown Car Name Engine Entrant
2 Juan Pablo Montoya Bogota, Colombia Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Penske Motorsports
3 Helio Castroneves Sao Paulo, Brazil Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Team Penske
7 Mikhail Aleshin (R) Moscow, Russia SMP Racing Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
8 Ryan Briscoe Sydney, Australia NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing
9 Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Target Chip Ganassi Racing
10 Tony Kanaan Salvador, Brazil Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Target Chip Ganassi Racing
11 Sebastien Bourdais Le Mans, France Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet KVSH Racing
12 Will Power Toowoomba, Australia Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Team Penske
14 Takuma Sato Tokyo, Japan ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises
15 Graham Rahal New Albany, Ohio National Guard Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
16 Oriol Servia Pals, Spain Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
17 Sebastian Saavedra Bogota, Colombia AFS KVAFS Racing Chevrolet KVAFS Racing
18 Carlos Huertas (R) Bogota, Colombia Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dale Coyne Racing
19 Justin Wilson Sheffield, England Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dale Coyne Racing
20 Mike Conway Bromley, England Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet Ed Carpenter Racing
25 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. Snapple Honda Andretti Autosport
26 Franck Montagny Feurs, France Suretone Honda Andretti Autosport
27 James Hinchcliffe Toronto, Canada United Fiber & Data Honda Andretti Autosport
28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Fort Lauderdale, Fla. DHL Honda Andretti Autosport
34 Carlos Munoz (R) Bogota, Colombia Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda Andretti – HVM
41 Martin Plowman (R) Tamworth, England Alfe/ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises
67 Josef Newgarden Hendersonville, Tenn. Klipsch/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
77 Simon Pagenaud Montmorillon, France Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports
83 Charlie Kimball Camarillo, Calif. Novo Nordisk Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
98 Jack Hawksworth (R) Bradford, England Charter / Castrol Edge Honda BHA/BBM with Curb Agajanian

At-Track Schedule (all times local):

Thursday, May 8

9 am – Gates Open – IMS
10 am – 10:45 am – Verizon IndyCar Series Practice – Track
11 am – 11:45 am – USF2000 Practice – Track
12 pm – 12:45 pm – Pro Mazda Practice – Track
1 pm – 1:45 pm – Indy Lights Practice – Track
2 pm – 2:45 pm – Verizon IndyCar Series Practice – Track
3 pm – 3:30 pm – USF2000 Practice – Track
3:45 pm – 4:15 pm – Pro Mazda Practice – Track
4:30 pm – 5:15 pm – Indy Lights Practice – Track
5:30 pm – Celebration of Automobiles Track Laps – Track
6:30 pm – Gates Close – IMS

Friday, May 9

9 am – Gates Open – IMS
9 am – 6:30 pm – IMS Midway – IMS Infield
10 am – 10:45 am – Verizon IndyCar Series Practice – Track
11 am – 11:45 am – USF2000 Qualifying – Track
12 pm – 12:45 pm – Pro Mazda Qualifying – Track
1 pm – 1:45 pm – Indy Lights Qualifying – Track
2 pm – 3:10 pm – Verizon IndyCar Series Qualifying – Track
3:30 pm – USF2000 Race #1 – Track
4:30 pm – Pro Mazda Race #1 – Track
5:30 pm – Indy Lights Race #1 – Track
6:30 pm – Gates Close – IMS
6:45 pm – Rev Indy – IMS

Saturday, May 10

7 am – Gates Open – IMS
7 am – 6:00 pm – Celebration of Automobiles – Pagoda Plaza
7 am – 6:00 pm – IMS Midway – IMS Infield
10 am – Indy Lights Warm Up – Track
10 am – 10:45 am – Firestone "Race Car" Pin Distribution – Pagoda Plaza
10 am – 5:00 pm – IMS Kids Zone Open – IMS
11 am – USF2000 Race #2 – Track
12:10 pm – Pro Mazda Race #2 – Track
1:30 pm – Indy Lights Race #2 – Track
3 pm – Bronze Badge Grid Walk – Pit Lane
3:30 pm – Pre-Race Ceremonies – Track
3:50 pm – Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis (82 Laps Live ABC) – Track
6 pm – Gates Close – IMS

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