Skip to content

A look at the Americans in the Indy 500 field

May 20, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

Indianapolis 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

It’s been six years since an American has claimed victory at the Indianapolis 500. Back in 2006, Team Penske’s Sam Hornish Jr. beat Marco Andretti to the checkered flag by .0635 of a second in the second-closest finish in Indy history.

Since then, two Brits (Dario Franchitti – 2007, 2010, 2012; the late Dan Wheldon – 2011), a New Zealander (Scott Dixon – 2008), and a Brazilian (Helio Castroneves – 2009) have drank the milk at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

But in 2013, the Stars and Stripes may be flying high once more. There are 11 American drivers in the field of 33 for this year’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing, and four of them – including pole sitter and Indianapolis native Ed Carpenter (pictured) – are within the first three rows of the grid.

Let’s take a look at the homegrown talent that will be out for racing immortality this coming weekend at Indy:

20-Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing/Chevrolet/Pole Sitter)

One of the best oval racers in the IZOD IndyCar Series, Carpenter was third with 20 laps to go in last year’s race before a spin ruined his chances for an upset. Now, with his hometown fans cheering him on, the down-to-Earth Hoosier is aiming for a storybook win.

25-Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport/Chevrolet/Starting 3rd)

Last year’s “500” ended in frustration for Andretti, who led 59 laps but crashed out late while in the Top 10. But 2013 has been a renaissance season so far for him, and he stands a good chance of carrying over that momentum to the track that has both delighted and bedeviled his family.

2-A.J. Allmendinger (Team Penske/Chevrolet/Starting 5th)

The former Champ Car and NASCAR full-timer has the speed to contend for a win. But it’s still his first Indy 500 and whether you’re with the almighty Team Penske or a low-money operation, it’s a lot to handle. Still, if ‘Dinger stays out of trouble, you never know…

1-Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport/Chevrolet/Starting 7th)

He’s the series champion and he’s with a great team, so you can’t count out Hunter-Reay. But his track record hasn’t been all that great at Indy. He’s never finished higher than sixth (2008) and in his five career starts, he’s had DNFs in three of them – the most recent of those came in last year’s event.

4-J.R. Hildebrand (Panther Racing/Chevrolet/Starting 10th)

After losing the “500” in dramatic fashion in 2011, Hildebrand was set to contend once more last year before an ill-timed caution following a pit stop ended his hopes. With four runner-up finishes in the last five years at Indy, Panther knows how to get around the Brickyard. Hildebrand can definitely have a say in the outcome.

83-Charlie Kimball (Chip Ganassi Racing/Honda/Starting 19th)

The third-year driver may need a break or two to get up to the front, but he does have something to build off of after his Top-10 run at Indy last year. It’s also been clear that Kimball has improved significantly over his time in the series. Results are now expected, not just hoped for, from him.

60-Townsend Bell (Panther Racing/Chevrolet/Starting 22nd)

NBC Sports Network’s very own had a tough time in qualifying this past weekend, but he’s a veteran around the Brickyard and has done well there in the past (Best finish: 4th, 2009). Last year, he claimed a Top-10 finish at IMS and he would appear to be one of those drivers that can sneak up and make an impact.

21-Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing/Honda/Starting 25th)

The Tennessee native was the fastest second-day qualifier on Sunday, and if his team can give him a good car in traffic, he might be able to break into the lead pack.

15-Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing/Honda/Starting 26th)

The son of team owner and 1986 Indy winner Bobby Rahal is setting his sights on joining his Dad as a winner of the biggest race in the world. That would make the Rahals the second father-son combo to pull it off (Al Unser and Al Unser Jr. combined for six Indy wins in their respective careers).

41-Conor Daly (A.J. Foyt Racing/Honda/Starting 31st)

Daly has been along the path to Formula One recently, but has appeared to consider an IndyCar career as well. He’s had to overcome a practice crash and other issues to earn a spot on the grid, and you’d have to think that a steady Top 15 finish would be a great result in his first “500.”

91-Buddy Lazier (Lazier Partners Racing/Chevrolet/Starting 32nd)

In his 17th Indy start, Lazier may be the longest of long-shots. But the diehards know that he won’t give up and he’ll use every bit of knowledge he has about Indy to try and make some noise.

Latest Posts
  1. Roger Penske defends Keselowski, says other drivers “jealous” of his success

    Oct 19, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Sprint All-Star Race - Qualifying Getty Images

    The Captain doesn’t mind some emotion and edge from his veteran driver.

  2. What now if your favorite driver is eliminated from Chase?

    Oct 19, 2014, 8:19 PM EDT

    (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

    If you’re a hardcore NASCAR fan, even if your favorite driver has been eliminated for the remainder of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, you’re probably asking a very poignant question: Now what?

  3. Ryan Newman’s car found to be too low in rear, could lead to penalties

    Oct 19, 2014, 7:43 PM EDT

    GEICO 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Newman finished fifth in today’s race at Talladega and entered the Eliminator Round of the Chase with a 27-point cushion over the cutoff.

  4. Winless wonders: Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth break into Eliminator Round

    Oct 19, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    Hollywood Casino 400 - Practice Getty Images

    While they’re still missing a checkered flag, Newman and Kenseth are doing what they have to do.

  5. Uncanny: Powerful Hendrick Motorsports goes from four to just one team left in Chase

    Oct 19, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/John Bazemore) AP

    Hendrick Motorsports began Sunday at Talladega with four teams still in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But its race day ended with three of those four eliminated from advancing to the next round, and veteran Jeff Gordon left as the lone HMS to move on.

  6. Dale Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne eliminated from Chase

    Oct 19, 2014, 6:01 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) AP

    Defending Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne, and Kyle Busch were all eliminated from advancing in the Chase Sunday at Talladega.

  7. Brad Keselowski wins at Talladega on 2nd G-W-C attempt, advances in Chase

    Oct 19, 2014, 5:46 PM EDT

    Geico 500 Getty Images

    One week after being part of the post-race controversy in Charlotte, Keselowski gets the victory he needed to keep his season going.

  8. Late wreck knocks Dale Jr. out of Chase advancement

    Oct 19, 2014, 5:35 PM EDT

    (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s dream of his first Sprint Cup championship this season ended in a nightmare two laps from the end of Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

  9. UPDATED: Chase contender Kyle Busch back on track after Lap 102 crash (VIDEO)

    Oct 19, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT

    (Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Busch had been up 26 points over the Chase cutoff going into today’s race.

  10. Faced with must-win scenarios, Earnhardt, Johnson lead halfway at Talladega

    Oct 19, 2014, 3:55 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) AP

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson – in must-win situations – have been among the top performers in Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

  11. Keselowski falls back after taking side damage in Lap 60 incident

    Oct 19, 2014, 3:27 PM EDT

    GEICO 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Keselowski one of several drivers needing a win today at Talladega.

  12. New book celebrates 50-year history of NHRA’s World Finals

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy NHRA) (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    When it comes to the NHRA, there’s only one Pomona. And now there’s a new book to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the season-ending NHRA World Finals.

  13. Surprising revelation: Dale Jr. admits he coasted earlier in his career — ‘I just rested on my legacy and last name’

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    (Brian Lawdermilk, Getty Images) Getty Images

    In one of the most candid interviews of his career, Dale Earnhardt Jr. admitted that he hasn’t always been as determined and focused on success as he is now.

  14. WSR and DTM paddocks send their support to Jules Bianchi

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    © Renault Sport © Renault Sport

    The motorsport world continues to send its support to Bianchi and his family two weeks on from his accident in Japan.

  15. Richard Petty Motorsports returning to former home base

    Oct 19, 2014, 1:12 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Mel Evans) AP

    One day after it was revealed that Richard Petty Motorsports will have to find a new base for its racing operations, the legendary Hall of Famer’s teams are going home in a sense.

  16. Button thankful for support amid uncertain F1 future

    Oct 19, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Previews Getty Images

    McLaren driver takes to Twitter to thanks his fans for their support.

  17. With nothing left to do but win, Dale Earnhardt Jr. faces Talladega with optimism

    Oct 19, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

    GEICO 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Junior: “We’re going to go out there and try to accomplish that goal and give it all we’ve got.”

  18. Max Verstappen finishes FIA F3 season in third place

    Oct 19, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Belgium F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Esteban Ocon champion as the FIA F3 European Championship season comes to an end at Hockenheim in Germany.

  19. Report: Kubica still dreaming of Formula 1 comeback

    Oct 19, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-RALLY-WORLD-WRC Getty Images

    Former F1 driver will consider his options for 2015 over the winter.

  20. Leaving Red Bull could be the making of Sebastian Vettel

    Oct 19, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-RUS Getty Images

    They named him “Baby Schumi” back in 2008, and the moniker is becoming all the more relevant as he prepares for life with Ferrari in 2015.

Video from NASCAR America

Terry Labonte's milestone race
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Keselowski (2018)
  2. K. Busch (1785)
  3. J. McMurray (1415)
  4. T. Stewart (1273)
  5. J. Gordon (1236)