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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]
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Ryan Briscoe wrecks after contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
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