INDY 500: Indianapolis 500 driver profiles
Profiles of the 33 drivers in Sunday's Indianapolis 500, in starting order with car number in parentheses, age, hometown, chassis, race team, four-lap qualification average and biographical information (w-former winner; r-rookie; all engines Honda):
1. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., 26, Defiance, Ohio; Dallara, Team Penske; 228.985 mph. Two-time IRL series champion, moved from Panther Racing to Penske in place of retired 2003 Indy winner Gil de Ferran in 2004. Two wins and third in IRL points last year. Started second but finished 23rd after crash at Indy. Third in points this season, with best finish third in opener at Homestead, Fla. Best finish 14th in six starts at Indianapolis. Holds IRL record with 14 career wins.
2. (3) w-Helio Castroneves, 31, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Dallara, Team Penske; 228.008 mph. Won Indianapolis 500 as rookie in 2001 and again in 2002, the first to repeat since Al Unser in 1970-71. Finished second to former teammate Gil de Ferran in 2003 and ninth the past two years. Has won at least one race each season since 2001, including two of the first three this year, at St. Petersburg and Japan. Leads IRL in points this season.
3. (10) w-Dan Wheldon, 27, Emberton, England; Dallara, Ganassi Racing; 227.338 mph. Won 2005 race after passing Danica Patrick with six laps to go and went on to IRL series championship. Left Andretti Green Racing for Ganassi this season, and is second to Helio Castroneves in points with victory in opener at Homestead and second place at Japan. Third at Indy in 2004 and runner-up to Tony Kanaan for IRL championship.
4. (9) Scott Dixon, 25, Auckland, New Zealand; Dallara, Ganassi Racing; 226.921 mph. CART rookie of the year in 2001, when victory at Nazareth, Pa., made him at 20 the youngest winner in major open-wheel racing. Moved to IRL with Ganassi and was series champion with three wins in 2003. Only other win was at Watkins Glen in 2005. Fourth in series points this season, with best finish second at St. Petersburg.
5. (11) Tony Kanaan, 31, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Dallara, Andretti Green Racing; 226.776 mph. The 2004 IRL series champion is fifth after three races this season. Best finishes third at St. Petersburg, Fla., and Japan. Started on pole and led 54 laps at Indy last year, but finished eighth. Was 2004 Indy 500 runner-up to Buddy Rice. Won 1997 Indy Lights championship, made CART debut in 1998 with 10 top-10 finishes and series rookie of the year. Only CART victory came in 1999 at Michigan.
6. (4) Vitor Meira, 29, Brasilia, Brazil; Dallara, Panther Racing; 226.156 mph. Indy runner-up in 2005, best finish in 48 IRL career starts. Eighth in series points this season, with best of fifth at St. Petersburg. Joined IRL in 2002 after two seasons in European F3000 series. Won the South American F3 championship with eight wins in 2000. Completed all but one of possible 580 laps in three previous starts at Indy.
7. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, 26, Aichi, Japan; Dallara, Super Aguri Fernandez Racing; 225.503 mph. Sixth in IRL points after top-10 finishes in all three races this season. Fastest Indy rookie qualifier in 2004 and Indy and series rookie of the year. Career-best fourth at Kentucky in 2004. German F3 runner-up in 2002 and third in Formula Renault V6 Eurocup series with three wins in 2003.
8. (8) Scott Sharp, 38, Norwalk, Conn.; Dallara, Fernandez Racing; 225.321 mph. Holds IRL record with 118 career starts. Series co-champion in 1996, is 11th in points this season with best finish seventh in opener at Homestead. Started from pole at Indy in 2001, but finished 33rd after first-lap crash. Best finish in 11 starts at Indy was seventh last year. Has started every IRL race since the start of the 1998 season.
9. (26) r-Marco Andretti, 19, Nazareth, Pa.; Dallara, Andretti Green Racing; 224.918 mph. Son of driver-owner Michael Andretti, grandson of 1969 Indy winner Mario Andretti. Youngest driver in the lineup. Drove in developmental Indy Pro Series last year, including a win on Indy's road course during U.S. Grand Prix. Fifteenth in IRL season points, with best finish 12th at Japan.
10. (16) Danica Patrick, 24, Roscoe, Ill.; Panoz, Rahal Letterman Racing; 224.674 mph. The 2005 Indy 500 and IRL series rookie of the year. Started and finished fourth at Indianapolis, the best among four women who have driven in the race. First woman to lead the 500. Drove in developmental Toyota Atlantic series before moving to IndyCar series last year. Finished sixth and eighth in two races this season and is 12th in IRL points.
11. (2) Tomas Scheckter, 25, Cape Town, South Africa; Dallara, Vision Racing; 224.659 mph. Son of 1979 F1 champion Jody Scheckter. Led 85 laps and was co-rookie of the year at Indianapolis in 2002 and fourth in 2003. Moved to Panther Racing and finished 18th and 20th past two years. Best finish this season ninth in opener at Homestead. Only wins in 64 IRL starts at Michigan in 2002 and Texas in 2005.
12. (20) Ed Carpenter, 25, Indianapolis; Dallara, Vision Racing; 224.548 mph. Driving for team owned by his stepfather, Speedway boss Tony George. Finished third in Indy Pro Series in 2002 and '03, including win at Indianapolis in 2003. Was 31st as Indy rookie and 11th last year. Career-best 10th at Nashville in 2005. Was 20th in both starts this season at Homestead and Japan. Butler University graduate.
13. (1) Michael Andretti, 43, Nazareth, Pa., Dallara, Andretti Green Racing; 224.508 mph. Team co-owner, came out of retirement to drive in son Marco's rookie race. Father, Mario Andretti, won 1969 Indy. Had CART record 42 career victories. CART champion in 1991, when he was runner-up at Indianapolis. Twenty-seventh in last Indy start in 2003. Has led 426 laps at Indy, the most by a non-winner.
14. (15) w-Buddy Rice, 30, Phoenix; Panoz, Rahal Letterman Racing; 224.393 mph. Won the Indy 500 in 2004, but unable to compete last year after he was injured in a crash during practice. Missed season-opener this year after death of teammate Paul Dana. Coming off fifth place at Japan. Drove Formula 2000 in 1996-97 and Toyota Atlantic in 1998-00. Toyota Atlantic champion in 2000.
15. (90) r-Townsend Bell, 31, San Francisco; Dallara, Vision Racing; 224.374 mph. Qualified 16th, withdrew and requalified, one spot better. Indy Lights champion in 2001, drove in 10 CART races in 2001-02 and 11 IRL races in 2004-05. Fifteenth in only IRL start last year at Michigan for Panther Racing. Career bests were fourth at Portland (CART) in 2002 and fifth at Nashville (IRL) in 2004.
16. (7) Bryan Herta, 36, Valencia, Calif.; Dallara, Andretti Green Racing; 224.179 mph. Joined Andretti Green in 2003 in place of injured Dario Franchitti and had six top-five finishes. Best finish in four starts at Indy was third last year. Seventh in IRL points this season, with best finish fourth at St. Petersburg for second year in a row. Only IRL wins at Kansas in 2003 and Michigan in 2005.
17. (27) Dario Franchitti, 33, Edinburgh, Scotland; Dallara, Andretti Green Racing; 223.345 mph. CART series runner-up to Juan Montoya in 1999. Was 19th as Indy rookie in 2002. Missed race in 2003 after breaking his back in motorcycle accident, was 14th in 2004 and sixth last year. Ninth in IRL points this season, with best finish fourth in opener at Homestead. Married to actress Ashley Judd.
18. (52) Max Papis, 36, Como, Italy; Dallara, Cheever Racing; 222.058. Only previous Indy start was for Cheever in 2002, when he finished 23rd. Drove Italian Formula Three series in 1989 and Formula 3000 in 1993. Made F1 debut in 1995. Had three wins in CART in 2000-01. Won 24 Hours of Daytona in 2002 and Grand American Rolex sports car series championship in 2004.
19. (51) w-Eddie Cheever, 48, Orlando, Fla.; Dallara, Cheever Racing; 222.028 mph. Oldest driver in the lineup. Returning to driving for his own team for first time since 2002. Thirteenth in IRL points this season, with best finish 10th in opener at Homestead. Thirteen previous starts at Indy, including victory in 1998. Indy 500 and CART rookie of the year in 1990. Has won five IRL races.
20. (91) r-P.J. Chesson, 27, Far Hills, N.J.; Dallara, Carmelo Hemelgarn Racing; 221.576 mph. Drove in developmental Indy Pro Series the past two years. Finished fourth in the series in 2004. Made IndyCar debut this season with 12th place in opener at Homestead. Finished 17th in the past two races. Team co-owned by NBA star Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets.
21. (14) Felipe Giaffone, 31, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Dallara, A.J. Foyt Racing; 221.542 mph. Tenth in IRL points, with two top-10 finishes this season. Fifteenth at Indy last year, when he was hired by Foyt on final day of qualifications and bumped Arie Luyendyk Jr. with less than 20 minutes remaining. Best finish in five previous starts at Indy was third in 2002. Only win in 56 IRL starts was at Kentucky in 2002.
22. (92) Jeff Bucknum, 39, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; Dallara, Hemelgarn Racing; 221.461 mph. Son of former Indy and Formula One driver Ronnie Bucknum. Drove in American Le Mans series in 2000-04, finishing eighth in P2 class points in 2004. Made IRL debut last year with Dreyer & Reinbold, finishing 22nd in Japan. Also 22nd as rookie at Indianapolis; best finish in four starts was 10th at Infineon with Foyt team.
23. (41) Larry Foyt, 29, Houston; Dallara, A.J. Foyt Racing; 221.332 mph. Son of team owner and four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt. Finished 32nd and 33rd in first two Indy starts, crashing both years. Competed in NASCAR Busch series in 2001-02 and Nextel Cup series in 2003. Only IRL career starts were at Indianapolis.
24. (21) Jaques Lazier, 35, Vail, Colo.; Panoz, Playa Del Racing; 221.151 mph. Younger brother of 1996 winner Buddy Lazier. Best finish in four Indy starts 13th as rookie in 2000. Also, finished 29th in 2004 in relief of Robby Gordon, who left early to get to NASCAR race in North Carolina. Sixteenth at Indy last year. Drove in five other IRL races, with best finish 15th at Kentucky.
25. (5) w-Buddy Lazier, 38, Vail, Colo.; Dallara, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing; 220.922 mph. Indy 500 winner in 1996 and IRL series champion in 2000, when he was runner-up at Indy for the second time. Also runner-up in 1998. Finished 14th in all three races this season and making 14th start at Indy. Older brother of driver Jaques Lazier; father, Bob Lazier, was 19th in only start at Indy in 1981.
26. (17) Jeff Simmons, 29, Hartford, Conn.; Panoz, Rahal Letterman Racing; 220.347 mph. Hired in March after death of rookie Paul Dana at Homestead, and 18th in only start at Japan. Made IRL debut with 16th place at Indy in 2004. Also finished second in the Indy Pro Series race at Indianapolis in 2004 and was series runner-up in 2003 and 2005.
27. (31) w-Al Unser Jr., 44, Albuquerque, N.M.; Dallara, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing; 219.388 mph. Two-time Indy winner, making first start since he retired in 2004. Ninth place in 2003 was best finish at Indy since he won in 1994. Also won in 1992. Son of four-time Indy winner Al Unser Sr. and nephew of three-time winner Bobby Unser. Making 18th start at Indianapolis, where he is second in career winnings with $5.6 million.
28. (12) Roger Yasukawa, 28, Los Angeles; Panoz, Playa Del Racing; 218.793 mph. Took over car originally entered for team co-owner Jon Herb. Tenth in first two starts at Indianapolis and 18th last year. Drove for Dreyer & Reinbold last year, with best finishes 11th at St. Petersburg and Infineon. Came to Indy series after driving in developmental Toyota Atlantic series in 2002.
29. (88) Airton Dare, 28, Bauru, Brazil; Panoz, Sam Schmidt Motorsports; 218.170 mph. Was 24th at Indianapolis in last IRL start in 2003 but broke right arm and right leg the next week at Texas. IRL series rookie of the year in 2000, including runner-up at Pikes Peak and 25th at Indianapolis. Best finish at Indy was eighth in 2001.
30. (97) Stephan Gregoire, 37, Neufchateau, France; Panoz, Team Leader; 217.428 mph. Fastest rookie qualifier in 1993, when he led one lap and finished 19th. Best finish in six Indy starts was eighth in 2000, one of five top-10 finishes for the season; 28th in last start at Indy in 2001. Best IRL finish was second at Pikes Peak in 1997.
31. (61) r-Arie Luyendyk Jr., 24, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Panoz, Luyendyk Racing; 216.352 mph. Son of two-time Indy winner Arie Sr. Qualified for rookie race in 2005 but was bumped by Felipe Giaffone with less than 20 minutes left in qualifications. Drove in Indy Pro Series the past four years; second in series points in 2002 and third in 2004.
32. (98) PJ Jones, 37, Torrance, Calif.; Panoz, Team Leader; 215.816 mph. Son of 1963 Indy winner Parnelli Jones. Passed Indy rookie test in 2002 but broke his neck in a crash in practice and did not compete. Drove in CART in 1996-99. Only IRL career start was at Indy in 2004, when he started 31st and finished 28th after crashing. Drove in 10 NASCAR Nextel Cup races in 2003-05.
33. (18) r-Thiago Medeiros, 23, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Panoz, PDM Racing; 215.729. Qualified for first IndyCar start with less than an hour remaining in replacement car after crashing in practice. Drove in Indy Pro Series in 2003-04. Dominated developmental series in 2004, winning six races and eight poles. Victories included Freedom 100 at Indianapolis.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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