Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Darkhorses of Pole Day

There are 31 drivers poised to make runs on Pole Day tomorrow (assuming Conor Daly is still shaking down the backup car and Buddy Lazier continues to get up to speed, with two late entries possible for bump day with drivers TBD), here are five drivers (and when I say darkhorse, I say drivers who aren't thought of having a chance, drivers not named Castroneves, Andretti, and Hinchcliffe) that have a real chance to make the Fast Nine and possibly make a run for the pole (in no particular order):

1) Carlos Munoz
Driving for Andretti Autosport, rookie driver Carlos Munoz from Colombia has had a solid week of practice, cruising through Rookie Orientation and quickly coming up to speed in the several practice sessions throughout the week. With the fastest lap of the month (as of May 16th), Munoz looks primed for a great starting position for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Munoz is having a very solid Month of May (Photo: Doug Matthews)

2) Josef Newgarden
The only Honda to make my list, Josef Newgarden has been steadily quick all month. While not possessing that high 224/low 225mph lap that others have from the tow, do not be surprised if Newgarden, who, as a rookie was the only driver with a Honda engine to make the Fast Nine in 2012, should be up their once again on Pole Day.

3) EJ Viso
Another driver from the Andretti Autosport stable, EJ Viso of Venezuela, looks prepared to make another go at the Fast Nine. EJ made it into the Fast Nine last year while driving for KV Racing. Now driving for the elite Andretti Autosport, expect the Venezuelan Badger to be knocking on the door of the front row.

4) Oriol Servia
There is no driver with more to prove out of the 33 drivers than Oriol Servia. Servia was recently notified that his current team, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, would be shutting down their fulltime racing operation, leaving Oriol with a cloudy future, but he would love to send the team off with a bang. He has a very good car even without the tow, so expect Oriol to be up front when the gun goes off.

5) JR Hildebrand
Maybe it is the superman colors on the car, or maybe it is because he has seemed to figure out Indy, but whatever it is, JR Hildebrand has got it going on. Steadily fast all month, JR should have a very solid car on Pole Day and should translate into a great race day result.

J.R. Hildebrand
JR Hildebrand has been quick all month (Photo: Michael Hickey)

Who gets the pole? Let me know what you think.

-Matthew Hickey

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