5 things to watch during the Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 18: Graham Rahal drives the #15 Honda IndyCar during practice at the Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 18, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 18: Graham Rahal drives the #15 Honda IndyCar during practice at the Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 18, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images)

Sunday's running of the Indianapolis 500 - scheduled to begin shortly after noon Eastern Time - marks the first time in the event's history that the grandstands and the infield have sold out.

Subsequently, it also marks the first time since 1950 that the TV blackout in the state of Indiana has been lifted. Around 350,000-450,000 people are expected to be in attendance for the race.

It is no understatement to say that the world will be watching Sunday's historic event, but what exactly will we be watching? Who will be up front? Who will the cameras be on?

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While we won't know the answer to those questions until the drop of the green flag, here are five things that are sure to play prominent stories during the event:

Team Penske

Roger Penske has seen his drivers drink the milk 16 times at the Indy 500. This year, Team Penske will be fielding four out of the 33 cars in Sunday's race, and you have probably heard of all four of their drivers - Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud.

Juan Pablo Montoya is the defending Indy 500 race winner, and has two wins and a fifth here in all three of his starts. Helio Castroneves, meanwhile, will be looking for his fourth Indianapolis 500 win, and should have fast pit stops during the race considering his team won the pit stop challenge on Friday. 2015 Indy 500 runner-up Will Power has never won the historic event, despite finishing in the top four in the IndyCar Series points for the past six seasons. Simon Pagenaud, meanwhile, leads the current Verizon IndyCar Series points, having won the past three races.

James Hinchcliffe

Just one year after a near-fatal crash during practice for the 2015 Indianapolis 500, James Hinchcliffe is back and on pole position for Sunday's historic race. Last Sunday, he turned four laps of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with an average speed of 230.760 mph to take pole over Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay. In his return to the sport this season, Hinchcliffe has already scored one top-five and three top-10 finishes.

Honda vs. Chevy

Honda and Chevrolet are the only two engine and Aero Kit manufacturers currently in the Verizon IndyCar Series and - at the start of practice for the event - it looked like Honda had the edge over the bowtie. However, while Honda driver James Hinchcliffe was fastest in qualifying, Chevrolet has bounced back in the later stages of the week. Chevrolet driver Tony Kanaan topped the timing sheets in Friday's Carb Day, but Honda driver Carlos Munoz was close behind him in second on the sheets. It remains to be seen if which, if either, manufacturer proves itself best after 500 miles.


The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 has a stout rookie class - and one driver will walk away with the title of Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. Among them, you have former Formula One drivers Max Chilton and Alexander Rossi; Matthew Brabham, the grandson of three-time F1 champion Sir Jack Brabham; 2015 Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot; and last, but definitely not least, Stefan Wilson, brother of the late IndyCar and Formula One driver Justin Wilson.

100th running

While we expect the drivers to put on a great show on Sunday, the race will be worth watching even if it is without drama. While IndyCar has been through some turbulent times over the past couple of decades, at least one thing has remained the same: The Indianapolis 500 has always been remarkable. Racing wheel-to-wheel at 240 mph, the Indianapolis 500 is not only a demonstration of what man is capable of, but also of our technology. There have been some incredible innovations over the past 100 years, and it remains to be seen what is yet to comeā€¦