Indycar 500 Live: The Indy 500 in 2020 was going to award the winner more money than ever from a record $15 million purse. This was the promise of Roger Penske, the super-rich race team owner who purchased Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year.
Eight drivers are previous Indy 500 winners led by Helio Castroneves with three victories (2001, ’02 and ’09). Scott Dixon (2008), Tony Kanaan (’13), Ryan Hunter-Reay (’14), Alexander Rossi (’16), Takuma Sato (’17), Will Power (’18) and Simon Pagenaud (’19) also have their faces etched on the Borg-Warner Trophy.
Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso also is making his second start in the Brickyard, trying to join Graham Hill as only the second driver to win the “Triple Crown” of the Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Monaco Grand Prix.
n addition to the eight Indy 500 winners, there are eight drivers who have victories in the NTT IndyCar Series: Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, James Hinchcliffe, Colton Herta, Charlie Kimball, Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal and Felix Rosenqvist.
There are also six past IndyCar champions: Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Kanaan, Newgarden, Pagenaud, and Power.
Here is the Indy 500 starting lineup by row for Sunday’s race (1 p.m. ET on NBC, 2:30 p.m. green flag):
Bill Auberlen became the all-time winner in IMSA victories Saturday, setting the record in a GTD class victory with teammate Robby Foley during the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway.
Taking the checkered flag in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, Auberlen scored his 61st victory and broke a tie with Scott Pruett.
“It’s amazing,” Auberlen told the IMSA Wire Service. “I said my best career win was Petit Le Mans last year (win No. 60); I think this one has to top it. … It is probably the best win of my career. To do it with Robby, Turner, BMW, everybody, I’m super happy.”
Auberlen led the final 53 minutes of the two-hour, 40-minute race, fending off an aggressive move by class runner-up Mario Farnbacher in the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 of Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing,” Chilton told BBC Sport. “I honestly believe if a few things had changed that day and I had different people helping me I could have won that race, no problem.
“I did a great job, led for 50 laps, defended pretty well and made one slight mistake where I lost the front end and had to do a lift, and Helio Castroneves just got around the outside of me.
“If I hadn’t had to do that lift I would have probably been champion that day, but that’s the way it is.
“The hardest thing in motorsport is to get to the front. I’d love to be in that position again. I enjoyed leading and the good thing is it has given me the expertise to know what to do next time in that position.”
A ‘very odd’ Indy 500
The Indy 500 is normally held in May with more than 200,000 fans packing the grandstands at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This time, though, as has happened in all the F1 races this season, no spectators will be in attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chilton spent lockdown in the UK after just managing to get back from the United States in time, and said he spent “12 weeks not doing anything”, unable to race on a track between March and July.
“I was just running and eating too much food, then trying to burn it off going on my bike,” he added. “There was some naughtiness, some chocolate brownies and ice cream.
“The first race back was a shock to the system fitness-wise, but you soon adapt again.”
The race begins at 18:00 BST on Sunday, with Marco Andretti, grandson of 1969 winner Mario, on pole position, Sato third, last year’s winner Simon Pagenaud 25th and two-time F1 world champion Alonso 26th.
Chilton expects a thrilling, if unusual, race weekend and said: “IndyCar is massive here. You normally have 200,000 people and lots of things to do.
“On Saturday you have the parade downtown with 100,000 people, but now there is none of that and the next hive of activity will be the green flag on Sunday.
“On Sunday morning it will be very odd and feel like a practice session. When you are barrelling down to turn one the grandstands are normally full.
“But everyone will be racing as hard as ever with no crowd and the winning team and the driver will still celebrate but not get the full sensation of winning it.
“We will mix the strategy up a bit and hopefully it gets us up in the action. It’s going to be different this year but it will still be an exciting finish.”
The victory came 27 years after Auberlen’s inaugural win at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
“This was the most nerve-racking hour of my life,” Auberlen said. “When I got to about 35 minutes, every little calculated mistake or whatever I was making, I would talk to myself: ‘Don’t blow this!’ This time it was all in my head, trying not to screw up, get this monkey off my back. Now we can put our head down for the season and try to win this championship.”
Said Foley: “To have a guy like Bill as my teammate to lean on a little bit and just watch how he does things and performs and learn off him is just an amazing opportunity. To be a very small part of his historic career is a humbling experience but also fun to be a part of.”