Stats & Info: Bobby Unser
May, 25, 2012
By Tom McKean, Chris Lees and Matthew Willis, ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
Andrew Weber/US Presswire Dan Wheldon earned his second Indianapolis 500 victory last year after a thrilling finish.
Rookie JR Hildebrand looked poised to claim the victory as he led on the final lap. But after attempting to overtake lapped traffic in the final corner, he ran too high and into the wall, allowing Wheldon to earn his second Indy 500 win and join an exclusive club of drivers with multiple wins.
Hildebrand, himself, is seeking to join an exclusive club. In the long, rich history of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, only three drivers which finished second in their Indy 500 debut came back and won the very next year.
They are Jacques Villeneuve (1995), Johnnie Parsons (1950), and Dario Resta (1916). One sign of bad luck for Hildebrand is his starting position of 18th, which has never produced a winner. In fact, it’s the only starting position inside the top 20 never to have a winner.
Overall, the Indianapolis 500 boasts some impressive numbers. Along with the 95 Indy 500s held, there have been 63 bottles of milk consumed by the winners. A total of 737 drivers have participated in the famed event, and the winners have driven a collective 46,432.5 miles.
This year, Ryan Briscoe will be looking to convert his pole position into victory. He has a good chance if history is any indication, as four of the last eight Indy 500 events have been won from the pole position.
Last year was not one of them, however, as Alex Tagliani finished 28th after starting up front. Briscoe has not faired well at this prestigious event recently, posting just a 22.3 average finish in four Indy 500 starts with Team Penske.
Teammate Will Power enters this year's race with huge momentum. He's won the last three IndyCar events, and is the first driver with a three-race win streak entering the Indianapolis 500 since Bobby Unser in 1968 (Unser would go on to win that year's edition). Power has four starts in the Indy 500, and has never finished better than fifth. He's led a mere five laps in those four starts.
A major storyline could also revolve around Helio Castroneves. He has three career Indianapolis 500 wins, and with a fourth, he would become just the fourth driver in history to claim four victories. Castroneves finished 17th in this event last year, his second-worst result of his career at Indianapolis (finished 25th in 2006).
This year’s edition will not feature Danica Patrick for the first time since 2004. Patrick was the first woman to lead a lap in Indianapolis 500 history, and owns the best finish by a female in history (third in 2009). Three women are in the field this year: Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge and Simona De Silvestro.
Pick your Indianapolis 500 winner and contribute to the conversation on our Facebook page.
May, 18, 2012
By Chris Lees, ESPN Stats & Info | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Tom StricklandOwner Roger Penske has 15 wins and 16 poles at the Indianapolis 500, both of which are records.May is upon us and Team Penske’s engine is running on full power with qualifying for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing starting this weekend.
Piloting the Captain’s ship is 31-year-old Will Power. At the last IndyCar race in April, Power became the first driver since Scott Dixon in 2007 to win a third consecutive race.
Power has dominated the series in 2012. Out of 350 total laps run, Power has been on point for 111 of them (32 percent). He is the fourth driver in history to enter the Indy 500 on a three-race win streak and first since Bobby Unser in 1968. Unser went on that year to win his first of three Borg-Warner trophies.
Power’s Brickyard resume is mixed. In four career starts, he has finished no lower than 14th. However, he’s managed to lead only five of his 799 laps he’s raced. In 2010, he started on the front row and posted the race’s fastest lap, but surrendered the lead to eventual winner Dario Franchitti.
Power has the luxury of racing for Roger Penske. No owner has dominated at the corner of Georgetown and West 16th like Penske, who is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his first 500 victory with driver Mark Donohue.
Overall, Penske has compiled 15 wins and 16 poles at Indy -- both race records. Since 2001, Team Penske has won this race five times. Helio Castroneves scored the team’s last victory in 2009.
On May 27, there’s an excellent chance a Team Penske driver will be leading the field to the green flag. That's because Team Penske has won the pole four of the previous six years.
Penske will have three chances to win his 16th Indianapolis 500. Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe could deliver that, but the primary focus will be on Power, who has won 18 of 91 career IndyCar starts (19.8 percent).
However, only one of those wins took place on an oval course. In fact, Power is 1-for-28 on ovals. His lone win came in the second race of the Texas doubleheader last June.
Power will try to join Scott Dixon (2008) as the only Australian winners of this race.
Penske enters May with wins in each of the season's first four races, the first time he's done that since the inception of CART 33 years ago.