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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)
Mikhail Aleshin waits on pitlane prior to practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz waits on pit lane in Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The crew of Mikhail Aleshin go to work in the pits (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power and Carlos Munoz flank winner Mike Conway during their victory lap (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Huertas (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth enters the hairpin during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Huertas waits on pitlane prior to the start (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon rolls out of pitlane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz with a champagne surprise (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrating his victory (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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