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Indy 500: Drivers set for hot and wild race

"I think we are in a pretty good position," agreed Hinchcliffe. "It's a lot of clean pit stops and a lot of good strategy calls it's going to take to win it but we have race cars as good as our qualifying cars."

The Canadian driver, who has replaced Danica Patrick in the GoDaddy.com this year and already won over a new crowd of fans to the sport in the process, put a lot of it down to how well the drivers in the Andretti team were working together.

"You've heard it so much from us this year and even especially this month, how well we are working together is awesome. We really are just one unit of three guys rather than three units of single car team sort of thing," he said. "It's just incredible to see three people in such a competitive environment able to work so closely together and share that information and really push each other. I think that's where these results are coming from."

Working less well as a team in qualifying, but bouncing back somewhat during Friday's final practice session, is the four-car Ganassi squad.

"I think our car seems good, I think we can expect to see a very tight race with a lot of passing," said Scott Dixon, but admitting that this year's race was more up in the air than at almost anytime in the last decade. "There's still a lot of unknowns. Previously we knew what to expect because we knew everybody had the same stuff. I think we are expecting a lot of unknowns."

"The Service Central car feels really good, and I think we're pretty confident going into Sunday," said team mate Graham Rahal. "I'm really definitely happy with the way the car feels. We have to get a little more speed and have to get the car to tow-up a little bit better behind people, but I can follow awfully close, and I think it's a good sign of things to come. We're looking forward to getting out there and start racing."

"The car is real good, we've got a good set-up for Race Day," agreed reigning series champion Dario Franchitti, who was looking at the weather as being a massive wild card to this year's proceedings as forecasts said that air temperatures would run close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the afternoon pushing track temperatures up to 150 degrees - which would make it the hottest Indy 500 in history.

"It's going to be hard work behind the wheel in those conditions; hard for the pit crews to keep their focus in that heat. It'll be a hot day," he said. "It's definitely going to be slippery. We'll deal with that."

"The heat is going to be for sure the biggest factor,” agreed Hunter-Reay. "It's going to be one that changes the balance of the race cars through the race. It will either, I think, make or break your race."

“You lose downforce, you lose tyre and mechanical grip at those temperatures, so finishing's got to be the goal,” said AJ Foyt Racing's Wade Cunningham, an Indy 500 rookie but a three-time Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 winner here. “It'll be a battle.”




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)
Sebastien Bourdais with his son after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The red flag is waived halting attempts to start Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais gets a congratulatory hug from team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway on his way to victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway jumps for joy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway with the winner`s flag after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway receives the winner`s trophy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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