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What to watch out for in the 105th Indianapolis 500

What to watch out for in the 105th Indianapolis 500

F1 News

What to watch out for in the 105th Indianapolis 500

What to watch out for in the 105th Indianapolis 500

The 2021 Indianapolis 500 takes place on Sunday as 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing' welcomes back fans to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 'Month of May' became the 'Month of August' in 2020, but has returned to its rightful slot in the calendar as 33 of the bravest drivers on the planet duel it out to drink the winner's milk.

Two-time race winner and six-time series champion Scott Dixon set the timesheet alight in qualifying to take pole with Colton Herta and Rinus Veekay alongside.

What can we expect from the second leg of motorsport's triple crown this year?

Sato to defend his crown?

Former F1 driver Takuma Sato has found a home in IndyCar. The Japanese driver took his first 500 win in 2017 and repeated the feat last year.

Helio Castroneves was the last driver to win two Indy 500s in consecutive years in 2001 and 2002.

Sato has qualified only 15th for Rahal Letterman Lanigan so he will have to fight for his place in the history books, but anything can happen over 200 laps.

What other history can be made?

Plenty of drivers in the field can create a small piece of history by coming out victorious on Sunday.

Marco Andretti will look to emulate his grandfather's achievement from 1969 by taking the chequered flag. Father and team owner Michael never tasted victory during his career, so an Andretti win this weekend will no doubt prove popular. He starts 25th.

Castroneves is already a three-time Indy 500 winner. A win in the #06 Meyer Shank Racing car in a one-off appearance would draw him level with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears for the most Indy 500 victories on four. The Brazilian will start eighth on the grid.

Juan Pablo Montoya is aiming to add a third Indy 500 triumph to his name as he lines up 24th for Arrow McLaren SP.

Finally, the lowest starting position for a winner is 28th, when Louis Meyer won the 1936 event. History will be made if any of Max Chilton, Dalton Kellett, Sage Karam, former race winner Will Power or Simona de Silvestro emerge victorious.

Cautions breed cautions...

When 33 cars are on track at the same time doing over 200 miles per hour, accidents happen, especially when the field is this competitive.

So look out for when the drivers start fighting for track position towards the end of the race as things get dicey and trouble often comes in waves.

When you get one caution period, you tend to see another follow swiftly. This is because, theoretically, the easiest time to get past a competitor is in the opening two laps of a restart.

Drivers tend to go three-wide or move higher up the banking more often than usual, especially towards the end of the race.

Cautions can also hugely affect strategy, so pit-stop timing could be key to deciding the victor.

It's never over until it is over

Two reasons why you should never turn off before the final lap. Firstly, oval races - especially Indy - are like games of chess. You need to be in the perfect position entering the final 20 laps in order to make a winning move.

In fact, an unwritten rule is to wait until the final lap to make your move, such is the slipstream effect at the superspeedway.

It didn't quite work for Alexander Rossi in 2019 as he fell just short of beating Simon Pagenaud but the pair swapped positions like trading cards during the final stages. More of the same this year and we will be in for an exciting race.

Secondly, JR Hildebrand. Exactly 10 years ago [May 29 2011], the then-rookie, unfortunately, wrote himself into Indianapolis folklore for all the wrong reasons.

The American was leading his first 500 with one corner to go in 2011, but instead of hanging back from a backmarker, he attempted to overtake at turn four and slid into the outside wall. His Panther Racing car slid over the line but the late Dan Wheldon stole the win.

Last year, Sato won under yellow after a heavy incident for Spencer Pigot with five laps to go. The moral of the story, never take your eyes off the racing.

The return of fans

It may not be a capacity crowd at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there may not have been the plethora of concerts so far throughout the month or the barbeque parties but my goodness will it be good to see fans in the grandstands.

The race had to go ahead behind closed doors, like so many other events last year, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, so when the starting orders are given the cheers will be as much relief as for the famed event about to get underway.

Hopefully, the racing will live up to expectations and provide plenty of action to root for.

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