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Thursday, May 23, 2002
Updated: May 24, 11:02 AM ET
Race storyline

ESPN.com

The field for the Indianapolis 500 is the fastest ever. What will be the story of the race? ABC's and ESPN's announcers make their bold predictions.

AnnouncerStoryline
Bob Jenkins Bob Jenkins
Host
"The driver and team who utilizes the best pit strategy, thus possibly resulting in a back-row or someone starting way in the back winning the race."
Paul Page Paul Page
Play-by-Play
"Who can figure out how to make their tires last as long as their fuel tank."
Scott Goodyear Scott Goodyear
Analyst
"It'll be the fastest race in Indianapolis 500 history. With a new smooth and improved race track."
Gary Gerould Gary Gerould
Pit Reporter
"Tire management and staying out of trouble will combine to provide us with the fastest race we've seen at Indy and quite possibly one of the most exciting."
Dr. Jerry Punch Dr. Jerry Punch
Pit Reporter
"The concern over tire wear. If we get rain on Saturday -- you know it doesn't rain in Indiana, except in the month of May, it rains every day! -- But if we get rain on Friday and Saturday and wash the rubber off, the grinding of the race track could make tire wear significant. So pit stops are going to be even more critical. Teams won't be able to go 30 or 34 laps -- they may have to go 20 or 25, which will up the pit stop count from six or seven stops to eight or nine stops or more, so that could play a major role in who handles the tire wear early on. That could be a part of what happens on race day -- tire strategy, fuel strategy, and I also believe that if tire wear gets better, fuel mileage could make a difference. But unlike years past, you can't sit back and stay on the lead lap until the final 100 miles. I believe you have to be able to race or this field, with this speed, with this talent, you'll get lapped."
Robin Miller Robin Miller
RPM2Night
"The storyline remains -- IRL vs. CART and if the IRL can finally beat CART after two straight butt kickings. Tony George's series has the numbers (25-8), but still needs some validation."
Marlo Klain Marlo Klain
RPM2Night
"Michael Andretti. Good, bad, will he break down. Michael Andretti will be the story of this race."