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2020 Indianapolis 500 – Row-by-row race preview

This Sunday, when the green flag flies over the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, there’s a pretty good chance that someone will have the race on a TV in your house. We’re giving you the chance to impress your family and friends with your knowledge of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, even if you don’t know the difference between a wicker bill and an electric bill. Just print out our row-by-row, easy-to-learn preview of the 33-car field, packed with eight former Indy 500 winners and five rookies, and feel free to shout out these facts as if you already knew them.

How to watch
When: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday
TV: NBC

Macro Andretti will try to break the “Andretti Curse” from the pole position on Sunday. AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Row 1

Marco Andretti
No. 98

Hometown: Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Team: Andretti-Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti & Curb-Agajanian
Engine: Honda
Car color: White with red-and-gray trim, American-flag red stripes on sidepod
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: Because we’re all sick of hearing about the Andretti Curse, even if Marco continues to have a great attitude about the endless curse questions. Since granddad Mario’s Indy 500 victory in 1969, five members of the Andretti family are a combined 0-for-73.

Scott Dixon
No. 9
Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Car color: Burnt orange and blue
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: Because he’s the greatest IndyCar racer of his generation, with 49 wins and five championships. A second Indy 500 victory would further bolster his case as the GOAT of American open-wheel racing.

2 Related

Takuma Sato
No. 30
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Engine: Honda
Car color: White up the middle, dark-blue sidepods
Milk choice if he wins: 2%
Why you should care about him: Sato has a traveling platoon of Japanese media members who follow his every move, a group that has developed its own bit of fame in the IndyCar community. When Sato won the 2017 Indy 500 in thrilling fashion, the media were given a pass on the sacred “no cheering in the press box” rule, as some were thrilled that their years on the road had finally paid off with the big story.

Row 2

Rinus VeeKay
No. 21
Hometown: Hoofddorp, Netherlands
Team: Ed Carpenter Racing
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Black up the middle, white sides
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: First of all, his full name is Rinus van Kalmthout. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that when this year’s fastest rookie got to Indy, he immediately made a beeline for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum to have his photo taken with the cars of two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.

Ryan Hunter-Reay
No. 28
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Honda
Car color: Dark yellow with red trim
Milk choice if he wins: 2%
Why you should care about him: In 2012, he won the Indy 500 and the IndyCar title but has struggled to repeat either since. If you’re one those folks who is nostalgic for the 1990s, his brother-in-law is former Indy and NASCAR bad boy Robby Gordon.

James Hinchcliffe
No. 5
Hometown: Toronto
Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Honda
Car color: Dark orange with white up the middle and gray trim
Milk choice if he wins: Whole (he wants buttermilk — the first milk gulped in Victory Lane by Louis Meyer in 1936 — but that isn’t a choice)
Why you should care about him: The fun-loving guy they call “Hinchtown” should be dead after a brutal Indy crash in 2015. Last year, he bared his soul and his scars — not to mention his skin — in talking about that crash in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue.

Row 3

Alex Palou
No. 55
Hometown: Sant Antoni de Vilamajor, Spain
Team: Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh
Engine: Honda
Car color: Gray with pink trim
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: The Spanish-born rookie had a helmet designed especially for this race that features a super-spangly red, white and blue paint job because “I have always dreamed of running this race here in America.”

Graham Rahal
No. 15
Hometown: New Albany, Ohio
Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan
Racing Engine: Honda
Car color: White spine with blue sides and scattered white stars
Milk choice if he wins: 2%
Why you should care about him: The son of 1986 Indy winner Bobby Rahal is also a super-intense Ohio State Buckeyes fan. If you want to get him worked up, ask about the importance of his family name. If you want to get him really worked up, ask about the Big Ten not playing football this fall.

Alexander Rossi
No. 27
Hometown: Nevada City, California
Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Honda
Car color: Royal blue and gold
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: One year ago, the 2016 Indy 500 champ provided us with one of the most thrilling second-place runs in Indy’s 111-year history. This year, he has provided us with one of the great mysteries of 2020: Who stole the tires off his Gasoline Alley golf cart?

Possibly the “most Swedish dude ever,” Marcus Ericsson will be in Row Four for his second Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Row 4

Colton Herta
No. 88
Hometown: Valencia, California
Team: Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport
Engine: Honda
Car color: White, gold and teal — think the Jacksonville Jaguars
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: Herta’s team owner is George Michael Steinbrenner IV, grandson of the volatile, late owner of the New York Yankees and son of Hank Steinbrenner, who died earlier this year.

Marcus Ericsson
No. 7
Hometown: Kumla, Sweden
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Car color: Top half very red, bottom half very white
Milk choice if he wins: 2%
Why you should care about him: He might be the most Swedish dude ever, with his chiseled jaw, his white blonde hair and his sponsor. He carries the colors of Huski Chocolate, a hot chocolate company known for its sales in ski resorts.

Spencer Pigot
No. 21
Hometown: Orlando, Florida
Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Very red, with white cockpit
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: Because his team co-owner is David Letterman, and even though Letterman now looks like some sort of Biblical mountain man, he’s still funny — and no one loves Indy more than he does.

Row 5

Josef Newgarden
No. 1
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Team: Team Penske
Engine: Chevy
Car color: White with day-glo red/orange trim
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: Because admit it: You thought that with that name, the 2017 IndyCar champion had to be from some tiny village in Austria. Nope. He’s from Music City and grew up near Reba’s house.

Felix Rosenqvist
No. 10
Hometown: Vamamo, Sweden
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Car color: Light black … or do we call it dark gray? … with light-blue ribbon trim
Milk choice if he wins: 2%
Why you should care about him: When he earned his first IndyCar victory at Road American on July 12, he cut short the celebration and drove five more hours, south to Indianapolis. Why? Because his girlfriend, Caroline, had finally arrived from Sweden after the couple had been separated for three months because of pandemic travel restrictions.

Pato O’Ward
No. 5
Hometown: Monterrey, Mexico
Team: Arrow McLaren SP
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Classic McLaren Orange and black
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: His name sounds Irish, but he’s from Mexico, with the full name of Patricio O’Ward. When he’s home, he says he is recognized in public — but not because of his racing fame. He’s frequently mistaken for boxer Canelo Alvarez.

Row 6

Ed Carpenter
No. 20
Hometown: Indianapolis
Team: Ed Carpenter Racing
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Black with silver roof trim
Milk choice if he wins: Whole (also wishes he could go with buttermilk)
Why you should care about him: The beloved hometown hero is a three-time Indy 500 pole winner and stepson of Tony George, which makes him the step-grandson of Tony Hulman, the man who saved Indianapolis Motor Speedway from ruin after World War II.

Zach Veach
No. 26
Hometown: Stockdale, Ohio
Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Honda
Car color: Black with royal blue and yellow trim
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: In 2011, at the age of 17, he wrote a book, “99 Things Teens Wish They Knew Before Turning 16,” and made appearances on “The Today Show” to promote his book and on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to warn teens about the danger of distracted driving.

Conor Daly
No. 25
Hometown: Noblesville, Indiana
Team: Ed Carpenter Racing
Engine: Honda
Car color: Dark orange with U.S. Air Force National Star Insignia on sidepod
Milk choice if he wins: Fat-free
Why you should care about him: Race fans know Daly because of his father, former F1 racer and broadcaster Derek. But non-race fans know him from when he competed on “The Amazing Race” with then-teammate Alexander Rossi.

Row 7

Santino Ferucci
No. 19
Hometown: Woodbury, Connecticut
Team: Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan
Engine: Honda
Car color: Black with yellow center trim and black-and-yellow stripes — totally looks like a bumblebee
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: While racing in Europe, Ferucci routinely got into trouble, including when he received a fine for texting while driving his racecar. Perhaps he should have a talk with Zach Veach.

Jack Harvey
No. 60
Hometown: Bassingham, England
Team: Meyer Shank Racing with Andretti Technologies
Engine: Honda
Car color: Hot pink with black sidepods
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: He’s a massive Star Wars fan who spends every May The Fourth playing Star Wars: Battlefront on Xbox while giving out his ID so fans can watch. Several hundred logged on in May.

Oliver Askew
No. 7
Hometown: Melbourne, Florida
Team: Arrow McLaren SP
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Classic McLaren Orange and black
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: This week, he tweeted “awkward moment in the grocery store” when he stopped in to grab some food and ran across a huge display from his tortilla chip sponsor: a mountain of chip bags topped by a cardboard cutout of himself.

Will Power will be looking for his second Indianapolis 500 crown in three years on Sunday. Darron Cummings/AP

Row 8

Will Power
No. 12
Hometown: Toowoomba, Australia
Team: Team Penske
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Really, really black with red stripe down the middle
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: Yes, his name is Will Power. Yes, he knows that funny. No, he doesn’t mind if you ask about it. Just don’t carry on about it for too long because after 39 years of “Is that really your name?” the 2018 Indy 500 champ loses his will to carry on that conversation.

Tony Kanaan
No. 14
Hometown: Salvador, Brazil
Team: A.J. Foyt Enterprises
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Red, white and blue
Milk choice if he wins: 2% (specifically, “ice cold”)
Why you should care about him: IndyCar’s most popular current driver was supposed to be hanging up his helmet after this season, but the 2004 Indy 500 winner says he doesn’t want to go out on COVID-19’s terms and wants to add some races for a real goodbye to the fans in 2021.

Dalton Kellett
No. 41
Hometown: Stouffville, Ontario
Team: A.J. Foyt Enterprises
Engine: Chevy
Car color: White with sea-green front sides and black stripe across the back
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: One of only two Canadians in the field (with James Hinchcliffe), Kellett started his racing career not behind the wheel of a car but at the handlebars of a racing-modified snowmobile … at the age of 3.

Row 9

Simon Pagenaud
No. 22
Hometown: Montmorillon, France
Team: Team Penske
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Really, really yellow
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: When he won last year’s Indy 500 in dramatic fashion, he reached for the wreath, the milk and then his prized terrier, Norman, the first pet to take part in a Winner’s Circle celebration.

Fernando Alonso
No. 66
Hometown: Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
Team: Arrow McLaren SP
Engine: Chevy
Car color: White with navy-blue top half and teal cockpit trim
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: After his much-hyped Indy debut in 2017, the two-time F1 world champ suffered a humiliating failed qualifying attempt one year ago. Now he’s back — for a limited time. His new F1 bosses at Renault have already said he won’t be running Indy for at least the next two years.

James Davison
No. 33
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Team: Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing and Byrd Belardi
Engine: Honda
Car color: Purple with white nose and red spine
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: Davison is trying his best to be an old-school, cross-discipline racer like the Indy 500 heroes of old. In June, he made his NASCAR Cup Series debut at Pocono. Just last week, he qualified his IndyCar one day and raced a Cup car at Daytona the next.

Row 10

Helio Castroneves
No. 3
Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Team: Team Penske
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Yellow — super yellow. They even call it the Yellow Submarine.
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: Yes, he’s still stuck on “only” three Indy 500 wins. It once seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners, but it has been 11 years since Castroneves’ most recent win, and he’s 45 years old. Tick-tock.

Charlie Kimball
No. 23
Hometown:
Camarillo, California
Team: A.J. Foyt Enterprises
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Pea green and black
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: He’s a Type 1 diabetic who uses his racing to show fellow diabetics that they shouldn’t let their condition be an excuse to sit on the sideline.

Max Chilton
No. 59
Hometown: Redhill, Surrey, England
Team: Carlin
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Carolina Blue with Duke Blue streaks
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: His helmet might very well be the coolest-looking lid ever worn at Indy, a silver 3D tribute to the Borg-Warner Trophy featuring the sculpted faces of former winners from Dario Franchitti to 1911’s inaugural 500 champ, Ray Harroun.

Row 11

Sage Karam
No. 24
Hometown: Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Team: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Black and dark yellow
Milk choice if he wins: 2%
Why you should care about him: You might recognize him bot from Indy but from the front door of your favorite clothing store or magazine ad. He has modeled for the likes of Saks and Express.

JR Hlidebrand
No. 67

Hometown: Sausalito, California
Team: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Dark blue with sky blue highlights. Literally sky blue, with clouds and everything.
Milk choice if he wins: Whole
Why you should care about him: Do a video search for “2011 Indianapolis 500 finish,” and tell me you aren’t rooting for this guy for the rest of his life.

Ben Hanley
No. 81
Hometown: Manchester, England
Team: DragonSpeed
Engine: Chevy
Car color: Totally American, white with flowing red-and-blue stripes
Milk choice if he wins: 2%
Why you should care about him: DragonSpeed are the rag-tag fugitive team of IndyCar. One year ago, they couldn’t get their crew into the United States because of a visa issue, and they ended up recruiting old-school mechanics from around Indianapolis. This year, they made a late entry into the field and missed the few days of practice while getting a car put together. Did you like UMBC beating Virginia in 2018? Then you’ll like Hanley’s team.

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