As I've become more familiar with the Indy 500 and learning about this year's drivers, I have a few picks, hopes, and sentimental outside favorites.
- I'm a big Justin Wilson fan. He's always been gracious and willing to talk to me. He's also a hell of a driver, making the switch from Formula 1 a few years ago to IndyCar. If there is anyone outside the 3 big race teams (Penske, Target Ganassi, Andretti Green) who could win this thing, he's my pick. He's also the one I'm hoping wins this whole thing.
- I think it's more likely that it will be one of the racers from the Big 3 who are most likely to win. They have the most money, the best resources, and their drivers are full-time drivers. Most of these people are one-off drivers who make this the only race of the year. Townsend Bell races in exactly one race a year: this one. The other 364 days he spends thinking about the 500. If I had to pick one to win it, I would say Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti, or Scott Dixon have the best chance. They've all won before, and their teams are the best out here.
- I'm now a Simona de Silvestro fan. People cannot stop talking about her. Last Thursday, about 10 days ago, Simona was in a horrible crash that resulted in second degree burns on her hands. She took Friday off, and got back in the car and qualified 24th. The last time I got in a car accident, I was scared shitless for a week, and drove carefully and timidly. Simona kicked her fear in the balls, and went 224.392 miles per hour less than 48 hours after she flipped her car and nearly caught fire. If anyone has a chance of replacing Danica Patrick as IndyCar's sweetheart, it's Simona. She could become even more important to the sport if Danica really does go to NASCAR (the taxi cab circuit) next year.
- I'm also a Bertrand Baguette fan. This is his 2nd 500, and I think he may be the only Belgian to drive in back-to-back 500.s Everyone's going on and on about how we have 4 women in the race again this year — Ana Beatriz, Pippa Mann, de Silvestro, and Danica Patrick. But no one is talking about this historic event. I'd love to see him do well, finishing the race and getting a high place.