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Indy 500: Drivers set for hot and wild race

The 96th Indianapolis 500 is finally here, and with new cars, new engines and record-breaking temperatures to contend with, drivers are expecting a wild time of it.
As far as US motor racing is concerned, today marks the pinnacle of the Month of May - if not of the entire year - with the arrival of Race Day for the 2012 Indianapolis 500, the 'greatest spectacle in motorsport.'

Asked how he saw the day going, veteran team owner Roger Penske - with 15 Indy 500 victories under his belt - summed it simply by saying: "I think we're going to see the best race we've had in at least a decade."

Penske's driver Ryan Briscoe has been enjoying the last week basking in the spotlight of being the polesitter for the race, but as much as that's been a thrilling experience for him, he knows full well that the real work will only begin today at the drop of the green flag for the start of the 96th Indy 500 race.

"It's going to be a tough race. I think it's going to be all about executing on the day, not making mistakes, having good pit stops and keeping your nose clean," he said. "I think it's going to be a pretty wild race. I think nobody is going to be able to pull away. There's going to be a lot of passing. It's going to be a pretty gruelling 500 mile race."

As well as the Penske trio of Briscoe, Helio Castroneves and Will Power performed in qualifying, they're not kidding themselves that they're going to be able to walk away with anything in the race itself - especially given the impressive performances so far in May of fellow Chevrolet-powered teams such as Andretti Autosport and KV Racing Technology.

"You know Andretti, they are always strong here in the race," pointed out Briscoe. "The surprise was how good they were in qualifying, because normally they are a little bit off in qualifying, but really bring it in the race.

"They have been strong in race runs," he conceded. "I feel like we have been just as strong, though, and I feel like there are a lot of cars out there that have been strong.

"It's going to be hard to predict a winner until you see them come out of turn four," he added. "And maybe even then, you won't know it."

Briscoe is sharing the front row for the start of the race with two of the strongest of the five Andretti cars, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay, while Marco Andretti is at the head of the second row immediately behind them.

"I think we're definitely in it, I think it's going to be our race to lose," said Marco.




Related Pictures

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A typical American way of closing proceedings. [Picture credit: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media]
The start of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29. [Picture credit: Larry Seidman for IndyCar Media]
Dan Wheldon crosses the finish line to win his second Indy 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday May 29, 2011. [Picture credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar Media]
The front row for the 2012 Indy 500:  Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Briscoe. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt LAT Photo USA (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Pit lane (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon spins during practice (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin slides into his machine prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
The pylon at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin sits in his machine prior to practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin on course during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin crosses the start/finish line during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin receives a handshake before his qualification attempt for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his daughter Mikaella after winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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