Last year cars with Chevrolet engines qualified in the top ten positions on the starting grid for the Indianapolis 500. When the checkered flag fell, the top four finishing positions were held by cars with Chevy engines. Tony Kanaan, rookie Carlos Munoz and the Andretti Autosport teammates of Ryan Hunter Reay and Marco Andretti held those spots respectively.
Things could be different this year however. Andretti Autosport switched to Honda engines meaning that the cars of James Hinchcliffe (starting front row, middle), Marco Andretti (starting row 2, outside), Carlos Munoz (starting row 3, inside), Indy rookie Kurt Busch (starting row 4, outside), and Ryan Hunter Reay (starting row 7, inside) will not be in the bowtie camp this year.
Replacing the Andretti Autosport drivers in the chevrolet engine competitors is the Chip Ganassi Racing team of Scott Dixon (starting row 4, middle), last year’s winner Tony Kanaan (starting row 6, inside), Charlie Kimball (starting row 9, middle) and Ryan Briscoe (starting row 10, outside).
Breaking It Down
There are several things that we can assume based on the history of the great race. Firstly, no one has won the Indianapolis 500 starting beyond the 28th position going back to 1911, which means that the last two rows on the starting grid probably will not win. Five of those six cars are Chevrolet powered.
Since 1980, no car has won the Indianapolis 500 from further back in the starting field than the 20th starting position. Which means that we can probably eliminate rows 8 and 9 as well.
The last two years have seen the eventual winner coming from the 16th and 12th starting position respectively, which places rows 4 through 6 in the prime spots to compete for the win.
The most-successful car owner in Indy history is Roger Penske, owner of Team Penske, which has 15 total wins and 17 poles. Team Penske has a long relationship at Indy with Chevrolet engines and this year Team Penske is continuing that legacy. Will Power (starting row 1, outside), Helio Castroneves (starting row 2, inside), and past Indy Champion Juan Pablo Montoya (starting row 4, inside) give Roger Penske a great chance of collecting his 16th Indy win.
Armed with a handful of stats and a little bit of “gut-feel,” we can honestly say that chances are very good that the 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner will be powered by a Chevrolet engine. If past history is any indication, Juan Pablo Montoya will give Roger Penske win #16 and lead the Team Penske cars across the yard of bricks at the finish of the race.
Our second best guess would have Tony Kanaan in the Chip Ganassi Chevrolet powered entry, winning the race for back-to-back wins by a driver. Winning consecutive Indy 500 races will put Kanaan into a select group of drivers that includes Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, Bill Vukovich, Al Unser and Helio Castroneves.
Our longshot and sentimental pick for the win is Ed Carpenter who won the race’s pole position for the second consecutive year. In the last ten year’s of Indy 500 competition, the car starting the race from the pole position has won four times, so this may not be a huge longshot. Carpenter is also using a Chevrolet engine giving even more hope to the bowtie fans.
Whatever the case, let’s hope for an injury free race that is run to completion without any stops for weather or crashes. May the winner make a last corner pass on the last lap and take the win by the closest margin ever witnessed at the brickyard. Happy Memorial Day!
2014 Indy 500 Starting Grid
- #20 Ed Carpenter/Ed Carpenter Racing/ Chevrolet
- #27 James Hinchcliffe/Andretti Autosport/Honda
- #12 Will Power/Team Penske/Chevrolet
- #3 Helio Castroneves/Team Penske/Chevrolet
- #77 Simon Pagenaud/Sam Schmidt Motorsports/Honda
- #25 Marco Andretti/Andretti Autosport/Honda
- #34 Carlos Munoz/Andretti Autosport-HVM Racing/Honda
- #67 Josef Newgarden/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing/Honda
- #21 J.R. Hildebrand/Ed Carpenter Racing/Chevrolet
- #2 Juan Pablo Montoya/Team Penske/Chevrolet
- #9 Scott Dixon/Chip Ganassi Racing/Chevrolet
- #26 Kurt Busch (R)/Andretti Autosport/Honda
- #98 Jack Hawskworth (R)/Bryan Herta Autosport/Honda
- #19 Justin Wilson/Dale Coyne Racing/Honda
- #7 Mikhail Aleshin (R)/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports/Honda
- #10 Tony Kanaan/Chip Ganassi Racing/Chevrolet
- #11 Sebastien Bourdais/KVSH Racing/Chevrolet
- #16 Oriol Servia/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing/Honda
- #28 Ryan Hunter Reay/Andretti Autosport/Honda
- #15 Graham Rahal/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing/Honda
- #18 Carlos Huertas (R)/Dale Coyne Racing/Honda
- #63 Pippa Mann/Dale Coyne Racing/Honda
- #14 Takuma Sato/ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Ent. Honda
- #68 Alex Tagliani/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing/Honda
- #6 Townsend Bell/KV Racing Technology/Chevrolet
- #83 Charlie Kimball/Chip Ganassi Racing/Chevrolet
- #5 Jacques Villeneuve/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports/Honda
- #33 James Davidson (R)/KV Racing Technology/Chevrolet
- #41 Martin Plowman (R)/ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Ent/Honda
- #8 Ryan Briscoe/Chip Ganassi Racing/Chevrolet
- #22 Sage Karam (R)/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports/Chevrolet
- #17 Sabastian Saaverda/KV AFS Racing/Chevrolet
- #91 Buddy Lazier/Lazier Partners Racing/Chevrolet