Chevrolet bid to claim Honda’s Indy 500 crown

2013 Indianapolis 500 preview

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For fans of open-wheel racing this Sunday has to be one of the best days of the year. The blue riband races of the Formula One world championship and the IndyCar series fall on the same day.

Once the 22 F1 drivers have done their thing in Monaco it’ll be time for 33 IndyCar racers to take the start of the 97th Indianapolis 500.

The last two runnings of this great race have taken almost three hours to complete – and on both occasions they ended in drama.

Last year Dario Franchitti and Takuma Sato began the final lap side-by-side. But as they hurtled into the first corner Sato lost control and crashed out, leaving Franchitti to win.

That wasn’t a patch on the stunning twist at the end of the previous year’s race. Rookie JR Hildebrand was comfortably in the lead as he began his final tour, only to hit the wall at the last corner. While his three-wheeled car coasted to the line Dan Wheldon, making his first start of the year, nipped past to score a shock second Indy 500 victory.

Will the 2013 race serve up another classic? We’ll find out on Sunday as this classic race begins just a few hours after the end of another historic event – the Monaco Grand Prix.

Chevrolet versus Honda

Not since Gil de Ferran’s victory for Toyota ten years ago has a car powered by anything other than a Honda won the Indianapolis 500. And you have to go back another year to find the last American manufacturer to power the winner of America’s great race.

Honda have had it all their own way in the intervening years. For a while they powered every car in the race but that changed last year with Chevrolet’s return. Although Chevrolet’s Ryan Hunter-Reay claimed the IndyCar championship last year, victory at the Indianapolis 500 is considered by many to be an even greater prize.

Chevrolet began this year strongly with James Hinchcliffe winning twice for them and Hunter-Reay scoring another. But former F1 star Sato gave Honda a win in the Long Beach Grand Prix and lead the points standings ahead of the biggest race weekend of the year.

2013 Indianapolis 500 qualifying

There were plenty of surprises in qualifying for this year’s race – and a dream result for Chevrolet in their battle with Honda. Every car in the top ten places is powered by the American carmaker.

Pole position went to the only driver in the field who runs his own team. Ed Carpenter claimed first place with a lap almost 4kph faster than last year’s pole position.

He may not drive for one of the top teams but he is a serious candidate for victory. Carpenter and won the last oval race at the end of 2012, another gruelling 500-miler at Fontana.

The identity of the next driver on the grid is an even bigger surprise. Colombian Carlos Munoz is making his first ever start in an IndyCar race for Andretti. He’s also racing in today’s Indy Lights support race where he also starts second. Team mate Marco Andretti joins him on the three-car front row.

Series returnee AJ Allmendinger put his car fifth on the grid ahead of Penske team mate Will Power. Hunter-Reay, who beat Power to the title last year in that thrilling Fontana finale, is seventh on row three.

Alex Tagliani is the first Honda-powered driver on the grid. Sato and Franchitti will resume their battle from last year on row six. The other two former F1 drivers in the field are on the row in front of Sato: Justin Wilson 14th and Sebastien Bourdais 15th.

2013 Indianapolis 500 grid

Row 11. Ed Carpenter 228.762
Ed Carpenter Dallara-Chevrolet
2. Carlos Munoz 228.342
Andretti Dallara-Chevrolet
3. Marco Andretti 228.261
Andretti Dallara-Chevrolet
Row 24. EJ Viso 228.15
Andretti Dallara-Chevrolet
5. AJ Allmendinger 228.099
Penske Dallara-Chevrolet
6. Will Power 228.087
Penske Dallara-Chevrolet
Row 37. Ryan Hunter-Reay 227.904
Andretti Dallara-Chevrolet
8. Helio Castroneves 227.762
Penske Dallara-Chevrolet
9. James Hinchcliffe 227.07
Andretti Dallara-Chevrolet
Row 410. JR Hildebrand 227.441
Panther Dallara-Chevrolet
11. Alex Tagliani 227.386
Bryan Herta Dallara-Honda
12. Tony Kanaan 226.949
KV Dallara-Chevrolet
Row 513. Oriol Servia 226.814
Panther DRR Dallara-Chevrolet
14. Justin Wilson 226.37
Dale Coyne Dallara-Honda
15. Sebastien Bourdais 226.196
Dragon Dallara-Chevrolet
Row 616. Scott Dixon 226.158
Ganassi Dallara-Honda
17. Dario Franchitti 226.069
Ganassi Dallara-Honda
18. Takuma Sato 225.892
AJ Foyt Dallara-Honda
Row 719. Charlie Kimball 225.88
Ganassi Dallara-Honda
20. James Jakes 225.809
RLL Dallara-Honda
21. Simon Pagenaud 225.674
Schmidt Hamilton Dallara-Honda
Row 822. Townsend Bell 225.643
Panther Dallara-Chevrolet
23. Ryan Briscoe 225.265
Ganassi Dallara-Honda
24. Simona de Silvestro 225.226
KV Dallara-Chevrolet
Row 925. Josef Newgarden 225.731
Fisher Dallara-Honda
26. Graham Rahal 225.007
RLL Dallara-Honda
27. Sebastian Saavedra 224.929
Dragon Dallara-Chevrolet
Row 1028. Tristan Vautier 224.873
Schmidt Peterson Dallara-Honda
29. Ana Beatriz 224.184
Dale Coyne Dallara-Honda
30. Pippa Mann 224.005
Dale Coyne Dallara-Honda
Row 1131. Conor Daly 223.582
AJ Foyt Dallara-Honda
32. Buddy Lazier 223.442
Lazier Dallara-Chevrolet
33. Katherine Legge 223.176
Schmidt Peterson Dallara-Honda

Did not qualify: Michel Jourdain Jnr, RLL Dallara-Honda

2012 Indianapolis 500 highlights

2013 Indianapolis 500 on F1 Fanatic Live

F1 Fanatic Live will be running throughout the Indianapolis 500. Join us after the Monaco Grand Prix for every lap of the race which is due to start at 5pm UK time and is broadcast live on ESPN UK.


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Images © IndyCar, Chevrolet, Honda/LAT

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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36 comments on “Chevrolet bid to claim Honda’s Indy 500 crown”

  1. Not my thing, but I try not to miss the 500.

    You got to watch everything to have arguments, like it or not….

  2. This weekend is pretty much a religious holiday for me.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      24th May 2013, 14:14

      hahaha… yep, but as an atheist I am, it looks much the same as a religious holiday to me too… boring (I don’t like both Monaco or Indy 500)

      1. you must like soap opera.

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          25th May 2013, 13:57

          @peartree which means?

      2. @omarr-pepper despite my atheism I consider this weekend to be a sporting Christmas: I don’t like the Indy 500 particularly, but Monaco and the champion’s league final is a pretty good weekend for me!

  3. I love and watch Indycar as much as I can. I enjoy both street and road course but ovals are way too dangerous and boring. Anyway, Indy 500 is a must-see.

    1. I don’t understand the double standard of the F1 race-fan hivemind. Now, @Jeff1s this is not an accusation because I don’t know you, but it just made me feel compelled to respond to a commn train of thought:

      If you browse the comments section of this site you’ll see a split, pretty much right down the middle, of F1 fans at the current state of the sport: Are the tires too much, is DRS good for F1, is the racing too artificial? But what we can’t deny is that we’re here because of the outcry of fans at a lack of close, wheel to wheel racing and overtaking.

      Ignoring, for a minute, that F1 may or may not have gone too far, all the things the fans are looking for from a race are a part of IndyCar racing, and yes, that includes ovals. We fall all over ourselves when the calendar rolls around to Monza, a circuit where high top speeds and daring overtakes on very high speed, open corners are the highlight. We talk up a storm about how slip streaming is crucial and about the thrill of watching F1 cars drive around with next to no downforce. Why then should we deride the Indianapolis 500? Or Oval racing in general?

      Maybe people think that every oval is the same, and you just fly around in a circle at full throttle? has track maps and as you’ll notice, none of the ovals are big lazy circules. Pocono is a triangle, Dallas and Iowa are asymetrical ovals of different sizes, Indy and Milwaulkie are drastically different squared-ovals.

      Is it because Monza is the exception? I’ll grand you that 1 race in 19 is more rare than 6 in 19, but still; most Indycar racing is done on incredible road circuits, and the street courses tend to generate better racing than most of the F1 street racing venues.

      It would seem to be that if the current form of F1 is up someone’s alley, than Indycar oval racing should be on that same person’s radar; it’s everything you want out of F1 and nothing you don’t. If it’s just a matter of the course having 3 or 4 corners, or if it’s the atmosphere, well… That’s just snobbery.

      1. @hwkii

        Yo man, good you had COTD, but illegitimatly.

        First off I’m not a “F1 race-fan” only.

        I watch F1, GP2 Series , Formule Renault 3.5 Series , GP3 Series, IndyCar & Moto GP. So I have a very clear mind of what I’m saying.

        I saw Greg Moore dying in 1999 at Fontana to Dan Wheldon death in 2011 at Las Vegas. So it is dangerous, too much dangerous!

        If you’ve ever attended a Nascar race, you’d agree. When a pack crashes in the corner you sit you can feel that spectators safety is a bit just, a bit unconscious.

        Anyway, I like Indy races on ovals but 200 laps mate! It’s long.

        1. Like I said, @jeff1s, I was absolutely not wanting to criticize you. I just read a lot of ‘nose in the air’ type comments about Indy/Oval racing and wanted to talk about why that might be. Your post just happened to be the thing that triggered it in my mind.

          I don’t disagree that Oval racing is dangerous, but that wasn’t what I was talking about.

          Anyway, cheers.

  4. Would be great to have another tense finish this year, I really enjoyed last year.

  5. Indy 500 is the Biggest race of the year for me. Despite Indycar’s various attempts at self implosion, I still love the Indy 500 more than anything else.

    I remember watching the 1992 race on ScreenSport as an 8 year old kid & getting hyped up over this odd American event I’d heard talked about many times where they only went left, It lasted a month with practice/qualifying & there was all this build-up on race day with balloons, jet planes, Parades, Jim Nabours singing back home again in Indiana, The US anthem & a command to start the engine’s.
    All this massive build-up & hype unlike anything i’d seen in F1 & I just fell in love with it. Then there was that brilliant finish, 2 drivers on the edge for the final laps with less than a car length separating them at the flag & all this emotion post race from Little Al, I’d never seen anything like it & it all just sucked me in. I’ve never missed a 500 since.

    Now if ESPN would suddenly decide to have a freeview weekend that would be great, Make watching a bit more simple!

  6. Allmendinger was the best open wheel driver in North America by the time he left for NASCAR, and he’ll prove it again this weekend – having Penske support helps, too.

  7. @KeithCollantine Nice of you to report on the Indy 500. It is going to be a one heck of a weekend. I am having a busy Sunday Monaco in the morning , Indy 500 and Charlotte 600 later during the day.

    1. Boogity Boogity, AMEN!

  8. What are the odds that either Carpenter, Muñoz or Andretti will win on Sunday?
    As always I enjoy this race but only the last half hour, too many cautions and commercials (I get the US feed unfortunately).

  9. Hi, I haven’t been watching Indy car for very long but I do find it interesting.
    This may seem like a stupid question, but is there any difference at all between the cars?

    I imagine there’s difference in mechanical set up and balance, but do the engineers go beyond this?
    I heard in the highlights that they were changing fuel mixtures, are there other things you can change in race?

  10. Marco to break the Andretti curse, surely he’s going to win it at some point.

  11. Even as an American, I’ve never been much of a fan of US style oval racing. That said, I usually try to catch the last 50 or so laps of the Indy 500. The end of this race is often quite gripping.

  12. 3 hours of waiting for ridiculous looking hot wheels type cars and their sketchy drivers to crash into the wall followed by what may or may not be an exciting finish.


    1. @spawinte I don’t get why people scoff at IndyCar like this. They have some excellent drivers and great racing. They don’t have DRS and every race doesn’t end with a row about whether the tyres were too soft. And I’ll take tracks like Barber and Indianapolis over Bahrain and Yas Marina any day. It’s not perfect, but nor is F1, and I enjoy both.

      I think some people just like having something they can turn their nose up at, especially when IndyCar proves you can create racing every bit as good as F1 for a fraction of the price.

      1. I really truly honestly gave it a chance but it just seems like such a second rate series. The racing only seems good because the drivers are all accidents waiting to happen. Most of the tracks they go to are shockingly bad considering the wealth of choice they have in the North America (and without FIA track constraints). The cars look silly.

        It’s nice that they’re trying but they could do so much better. The fact that it has never reclaimed its former glory as a legitimate F1 rival says it all. Last time I watched an Indy 500 huge sections of the stands were empty. It’s dying on its behind.

        1. FOM makes sure you don’t see F1’s empty seats… Which are plenty.

          If you ask teens now, driving fast is uncool and bad for ‘The climat’.

          Enjoy your motorsport while it lasts! – I do

        2. @spawinte If you’ve drawn the conclusion that drivers of the calibre of Dario Franchitti or Scott Dixon or are “accidents waiting to happen” then I don’t believe you “really truly honestly” have given it a chance. And it’s certainly harder to look flawless in a series where the circuits aren’t wide enough for cars to go ten abreast in places and bordered by flat kerbs and miles of tarmac.

          And as for race attendance I have to say – as an F1 fan as well as an IndyCar fan – that’s a bit of a “people in glass houses” remark. The crowd figures at some grands prix are pathetic.

        3. @spawinte

          The cars look silly.

          The cars look unusual but I’ve really grown to
          love them; the simple front wing, clean body, those fins that curl up around the rear wheels and the wide and low rear wing look far better to me than current F1 cars with their snow plow front wings and high rear wings.

      2. If it makes you feel better Keith this IndyCar season has converted at least one friend of mine from F1 fans to F1/IndyCar fans. I just hope he’ll try ovals out for viewing. What better race to be someone’s intro to ovals though

  13. Never discount those Ganessi cars..last year they also started outside top 10 (15th & 16th) and went on to finish 1st & 2nd..Franchitti and Dixion are masters of Indy..I guess they are the biggest contenders with Andretti,Sato and Kanaan also having a great chance to make it to top step..Its going to be a fascinating race!

    1. I’d also not count out 3 time winner Helio Castroneves.

  14. the management of the Indycar series turned it into a FORMULA Honda series for many years and that is why we quit watching it after a life time as a fan. I am glad to see some engine competition making it more interesting. Raycernorriski

  15. Well, if the finish is anywhere near as close as the Indy Lights race today was, it will be a shocker! 4 wide over the line, winning by a couple of centimeters!

    1. I was about to post the same thing! Absolutely mental finish!! Puts the GP2 drivers to shame!

  16. Last year the Chevrolet car out qualified the Honda cars, but in the end the Honda cars fought for the win because of better fuel consumption. I wouldn’t be surprised if this would also be the case this year.

  17. muz (@murray1964)
    25th May 2013, 6:13

    I must have some strange disease, I love plenty of different types of motor sports. If it has an engine and wheels I will probably watch it. Although F1 is my first love Im equally happy to watch Indy, NASCA, Aussie V8s, MOTO GP, WRC. Well you get the picture whatever I have, I have it bad.
    Big weekend this weekend so Im sure I will get my fix and not much sleep.
    I suppose its a bit too much to ask for a Webber, Power and Ambrose show.
    I hope you all have a great weekend.

  18. “The blue riband races …”? I think you meant “blue ribbon”.

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