2012 Indy 500 Starting Grid (Driver Pool Slips)

 

Are you doing a drivers pool for this year’s 500-mile race?  Do you want to?  Here is our starting grid with a bit about each driver.  Print this out, cut ’em apart, put ’em in a hat, and draw ’em out.  We usually reward the top-3 finishers as well as the first driver out of the race.  It makes the race even better.

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

1

2

Ryan Briscoe

Chevy

Team Penske

226.484

Sponsor

Skinny:  For being a Penske driver, this Aussie has not fared well at Indy in his six career starts:  One top-5 finish.  He will lead the field into the first lap, but Andretti cars will be surrounding him.  Cheers, mate.

IZOD

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

2

27

James Hinchliffe

Chevy

Andretti Autosport

226.481

 

Sponsor

Skinny: The Mayor of Hinchtown has quickly become a fan favorite.  This Canadien finished 29th after a wreck in his 2011 rookie Indy campaign.  He loves flannel shirts, maple syrup, and dog-sled racing.

GoDaddy.com

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

3

28

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Chevy

Andretti Autosport

226.240

Sponsor

Skinny:  Andretti’s top qualifier.  Hasn’t finished higher than 18th since his 6th place finish as a rookie.  He drove for Foyt last year because Andretti didn’t have a race-worthy car for him.  With those frustrations behind him, he is a legitimate threat to win this year.

DHL/Sun Drop

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

4

26

Marco Andretti

Chevy

Andretti Autosport

225.456

Sponsor

Skinny:  Indy is always feast or famine for this third-generation driver:  Three top-3 finishes in six career starts.  He has been fast all month and continues to show increased maturity here.  With the Andretti luck in Indy, one never knows what to expect on race day.

RC Cola

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

5

12

Will Power

Chevy

Team Penske

225.422

Sponsor

Skinny: Power comes in as the series points leader with one win and two 2nd place finishes this year.  Penske’s Chevy engines have been strong all month.  Loves to play touch rugby in free time and is currently learning to speak Spanish.

Verizon

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

6

3

Helio Castroneves

Chevy

Team Penske

225.172

 

Sponsor

Skinny:  Spiderman is looking for win #4 @ Indy.  He “danced” around IRS charges to capture his last Indy win.  Some say Helio’s becoming the forgotten man @ Penske, but no one overlooks him at Indy.

Shell

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

7

67

Josef Newgarden

Honda

Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing

224.037

 

Sponsor

Skinny:  Newgarden stands out for many reasons.  He is the only rookie, the only Honda engine, and the only Indy Lights champion in the top nine.  Without the qualifying boost, Hondas are expected to compete with Chevys on race day.  Inside scoop:  Josef’s team was frustrated with its car late on Sunday (Source:  Tim Clauson)

Dollar General

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

8

11

Tony Kanaan

Chevy

KV Racing Technology

Waved

Sponsor

Skinny:  A long, illustrious career at Indy is missing one thing:  A victory.  He will be the fan favorite.  Though he has passed the window in which he drove for the top teams, but KV Racing gave him a 4th place car last year.  He can win this thing.

Geico

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

9

5

E.J. Viso

Chevy

KV Racing Technology

Waved

 

Sponsor

Skinny:  Viso leads this year’s class in braking system fines, accumulating $40k in two separate actions.  He’s shown enough speed this month, but can he maneuver in a 500-mile race?  Maybe the CITGO car will fare better than when Milka Duno drove it.

Citgo

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

10

8

Rubens Barrichello

Chevy

KV Racing Technology

224.264

 

Sponsor

Skinny:  Very interesting driver to have in a pool.  The most experienced driver in F-1 history, but in his first Indy 500.  Used more practice laps than any other driver this month (526).  Surprising top-10 speed on pole day.  Two KVRT teammates joining him in the top 10 with Chevy engines.

BMC

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

11

98

Alex Tagliani

Honda

Bryan Herta Autosport

224.000

 

Sponsor

Skinny: Fluent in 3 languages and married to an Australian model, Tags is an avid in-line skater.  Driving for 2011 Indy winner Bryan Herta Autosport, Tags is looking to get them back to victory lane.  Some people already forget he had the pole last year.

Barracude Networks

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

12

38

Graham Rahal

Honda

Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing

223.959

 

Sponsor

Skinny:  Driving an offshoot program for Ganassi, this young American driver hopes to capture his 1st 500 win.  Look for the 1st Budweiser logo at Indy since Montoya’s 2000 victory on Rahal’s ride.

National Tire and Battery

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

13

25

Ana Beatriz

Chevy

Andretti Autosport/ Conquest Racing

223.920

Sponsor

Skinny:  Ana Beatriz Caselato Gomes de Figueiredo, the racecar driver, should not be confused with Ana Beatriz Barros, the Brazilian supermodel.  As an Andretti driver she could be a threat for a top-5 finish.  Unfortunately she got no practice time either on Bump Day or on Carb Day.  That’s first-out material.

Ipiranga

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

14

83

Charlie Kimball

Honda

Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing

223.868

 

Sponsor

Skinny: In 2011, he was the first Type 1 diabetic to legally complete the 500.  Chuck looks to improve on last year’s 13th place finish. Huge Stanford football fan.  He would love to see A. Luck be the next great QB in Indy.

NovoLog Flexpen

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

15

9

Scott Dixon

Honda

Target Chip Ganassi Racing

223.684

 

Sponsor

Skinny:  The New Zealander last won here in 2008.  Scott has driven for Ganassi for 11 years.  Always steady @ Indy, Scott would be a good sleeper pick.  Carb Day update:  Ganassi had the two fastest cars.  Look out!

Target

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

16

50

Dario Franchitti

Honda

Target Chip Ganassi Racing

223.582

Sponsor

Skinny:  Dario is a Ganassi driver who also dabbled in the other racing league.  He is rumored to get annoyed that the only press clippings he gets usually involve his wife, Ashley Judd.  I wonder what Ashley Judd will be wearing at the race this year.

Target

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

17

19

James Jakes

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing

223.482

 

Sponsor

Skinny:  The Brit was able to improve on his 2011 showing by actually Qualifying for the race.  Currently 21st in series standings….this one looks like a SOLID first-out candidate.

Boy Scouts of America

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

18

4

J.R. Hildebrand

Chevy

Panther Racing

223.422

 

Sponsor

Skinny:  This 2011 Rookie of the Year’s hard luck collapse gave Panther Racing four straight 2nd Place finishes @ Indy.  Last year’s spotter is gone and prospects are good with Chevy power.

National Guard

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

19

15

Takuma Sato

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

223.392

Sponsor

Skinny:  Last year Sato earned his pool owners some first-out cash for his early contact with the wall.  Accidents seem to find this driver often.  He hasn’t cracked the top 15 in his 2 Indy 500s, but perhaps this year will be different for this rising sun.

Mi-Jack

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

20

99

Townsend Bell

Honda

Sam Schmidt Motorsports

223.134

 

Sponsor

Skinny: T. Bell has spent the month not only driving for Sam Schmidt but also serving as a reporter for the TV coverage.  Doesn’t have full-time ride, so it’s Victory Lane or bust for this Cali native.  Indy is really the only thing that matters to Townsend.

Braun Ability

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

21

18

Justin Wilson

Honda

Dale Coyne

222.929

Sponsor

Skinny:  This former F1 driver for the Minardi team missed the last 3 races of the 2011 season.  A road course specialist with Champ Car and IRL wins on his resume; look for him to continue his oval track struggles.  Sonny’s BBQ sponsorship.

Sonny’s BBQ

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

22

30

Michel Jourdain, Jr.

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

222.893

Sponsor

Skinny:  Jourdain’s first (and last) Indy 500 was in 1996 when he was part of a record 7-car team.  Five drivers on that team were rookies.  He has dabbled in CHAMP, NASCAR, and European circuits since then, with not much success.  One has to wonder why Bobby Rahal hired him.  Look for Michel (pronounced “Michelle”) in the colors of Mexico on Sunday.

Office Depot

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

23

77

Simon Pagenaud

Honda

Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports

222.891

 

Sponsor

Skinny: The full-time driver for Schmidt motorsports.  Finished in Top-6 in the first 3 races of the year (which were on road courses).  The Frenchman is looking for a good points day at Indy.

Hewlett Packard

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

24

17

Sebastian Saavedra

Chevy

AFS Racing/

Andretti Autosport

222.811

Sponsor

Skinny:  The 1st driver born in the 90s to compete in the Indy 500.  He was the 1st Chevy driver to blow an engine this year.  This driver from Colombia (born of Korean & Spanish parents) is bringing up the rear for a strong Andretti team.

Automatic Fire Sprinklers (AFS Racing)

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

25

7

Sebastian Bourdais

Chevy

Dragon Racing

223.760

Sponsor

Skinny:  The CHAMP series dynasty is coming to Indianapolis for his second try at the Big One.  His team fixed its Lotus problem late in the month, thus giving him a total of 1.5 hours of practice in his car prior to Carb Day.  As the anchor of the Dragon team, he will counted on to produce results for owner Jay Penske.

McAfee

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

26

41

Wade Cunningham

Honda

A.J. Foyt Racing

223.258

 

Sponsor

Skinny:  Rookie at the Speedway.  Owns 3 Freedom 100 victories at the track, so he’s got that going for him….There is a more serious problem for him though, he’s Lactose Intolerant!

ABC

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

27

22

Oriol Servia

Chevy

Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

222.393

Sponsor

Skinny:  Touched the wall while practicing on Pole Day…had to get in the show on Bump Day.  This Spaniard possesses a Mechanical Engineering degree.  This front row qualifier for the 2011 Indy 500 will likely move up quickly through the field with Chevy power.  Look for him to down a double espresso right before starting the race.

The Mecum Auction Company

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

28

20

Ed Carpenter

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

222.324

Sponsor

Skinny:  This new team owner was a Bump Day qualifier after a hard crash on Pole Day.  Driving his backup car on Race Day, let’s hope the hometown boy can figure out his handling woes.  Keep an eye on him…rumor has it that he has been hard on the SFHR rookies. (Source: Tim Clauson)

Fuzzy’s Vodka

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

29

14

Mike Conway

Honda

A.J. Foyt Racing

222.319

 

Sponsor

Skinny: Other half of the Foyt contingent this year.  Actually led 15 laps at Indy in 2010.  Unless he catches SEVERAL breaks, might be a long shot for the Milk Chug.  Decent first-out possibility….

ABC

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

30

6

Katherine Legge

Chevy

Dragon Racing

221.624

Sponsor

Skinny:  Jay Penske was able to wrestle her away from Lotus just in time to qualify for the Indy 500.  This hard-bodied Brit hopes to turn eyes with her driving skill for a change.  Prospects shaky after limited track time with the Chevy engine.

TRUE Car

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

31

39

Bryan Clauson

Honda

Sarah Fisher Hartman/ Curb Agajanian

214.455

Sponsor

Skinny:  A dream come true for Bryan and a dream come true for me.  Growing up I always told him he’d be better of trying IndyCar than NASCAR.  It took him a few years but he made the switch and has quickly made it to an Indy 500.  The race will no doubt be a nervous one for Bryan and us fans.  Let’s hope he can avoid trouble early and find some SFHR Honda speed as the race drags on.

Angie’s List

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

32

78

Simona de Silvestro

Lotus

Lotus – HVM Racing

214.393

Sponsor

Skinny: How long with Indycar let the Lotus’ run in this race?  Will they be within 15-20 mph of the leaders?  Disappointing showing with the Lotus engines has taken any excitement away from this fan favorite in 2011.

Lotus/Nuclear Clean Air Energy

POS

NUM

DRIVER

ENGINE

TEAM

SPEED

33

64

Jean Alesi

Lotus

Lotus – FP Journe – Fan Force United

210.094

Sponsor

Skinny:  Former F1 driver from France.  May be the smallest male in the race.  The Indy 500 version of Mr. Irrelevant is trying to salvage Lotus’s reputation in IndyCar.  A 48-year-old rookie with power limitations smells like a solid 1st out candidate.

Lotus/Fan Force United

 

About Zach Haselhorst

Social Studies teacher at a Catholic High School. Recent graduate of Purdue University. Degrees in political science and social studies education. My fanhood and bias rests with the Pacers, Colts, Cubs, and Boilers. I also enjoy following politics and reading about American history.
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One Response to 2012 Indy 500 Starting Grid (Driver Pool Slips)

  1. Charlie "Jumbo" Copeland says:

    Reblogged this on THE SPORTS DUMP and commented:
    Everything you need to know about the 33 drivers running in the 2012 Indy 500. Amke your picks and get ready for racing. I am going with J.R. Hildebrand to avenge his finish last year.

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