The most intriguing global auto race of the year takes place on Sunday with the Indianapolis 500. While the Daytona 500 is dominated by American drivers and the Formula One is dominating by Europeans, one could argue that the IndyCar Circuit has a unique worldwide flavor as in the starting grid for Sunday’s race there is representation from 11 different countries and five continents. There are 15 Americans, four British drivers, three Brazilians, two Frenchmen, two Australians, two Swedes, and one each from Japan, Canada, Spain, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.
Simon Pagenaud of France will be in the pole position followed by Americans Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot on the front row. Josef Newgarden of the United States, who will be starting eighth, is the current leader on the IndyCar circuit with 184 points. He has found the winner’s circle once in 2019 as he won the opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida. The other winners in 2019 so far are American rookie Colton Herta (Texas), Takuma Sato of Japan (Alabama), Alexander Rossi of the United States (Long Beach) and Pagenaud (IndyCar Grand Prix).
Pagenaud will try to also continue the excellence of Penske racing. Last year, Pagenaud’s teammate Will Power became the first Australian ever to win the Indianapolis 500 and is back in the race this year starting sixth. In fact, of the seven former winners of the Indianapolis 500, Power will be starting from the best position. The other six former champions are Rossi, who won as a rookie in 2016, is part of Andretti Autosport and is starting ninth; Helio Castroneves of Brazil, who won in 2001, 2002 and 2009, is part of Penske, and is starting 12th; Sato, who won in 2017, is part of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and is starting 14th; Tony Kanaan of Brazil, who won in 2004, is part of A.J. Foyt Enterprises and is starting 16th; Scott Dixon of New Zealand, who won in 2008, is part of Chip Ganassi Racing and is starting 18th and Ryan Hunter-Reay of the United States, who won in 2014, represents Andretti Autosport and is starting 22nd.
In addition to Herta, there are five other rookies. They are Marcus Ericsson of Sweden (starting 13th for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), Santino Ferrucci of the United States (starting 23rd for Dale Coyne Racing), Jordan King of Great Britain (starting 26th for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), Ben Hanley of Great Britain (starting 27th for DragonSpeed Racing) and Felix Rosenqvist of Sweden (starting 29th for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports).
Others in the top ten starting grid to watch out for are Ed Jones of the United Arab Emirates (starting fourth, representing Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa), Sebastian Bourdais of France (starting seventh, representing Dale Coyne Racing) and Marco Andretti of the United States (starting 10th, representing Andretti Herta Autosport).
There will also be one woman competing in the Indianapolis 500. She is Pippa Mann of Great Britain, who will start 30th on the grid. Mann represents Clauson-Marshall Racing.