Preview: 2014 Grand Prix of Indy

Never thought I would see the day where I would be typing out a sentence that said Indycar would be racing at Indianapolis, not on Memorial Day weekend and not going the right way around the track. Yes, Indycar will be heading clockwise around its hallowed ground in the first ever Grand Prix of Indianapolis. With little to no stats available and no history in the books, who knows what to expect? It is all up in the air.

Here are some headlines heading into the 2014 Grand Prix of Indianapolis:

Month of May Begins
This is quite literally a Month of May like no other. This time last year, Saturday was used for rookie orientation. Now, Indycar and Indianapolis team up to race, but not on the oval. The newly reconstructed Indianapolis road course circuit at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will play host to Indycar for the first time. It sure makes for one hell of a Month of May, especially for those in Indiana.

Graham Rahal's car in the pits, facing the direction not too many people
are used to seeing (Photo: Chris Jones / Indycar Media)

Power vs Hunter-Reay
The championship is shaping up to be a battle between championship leader Will Power and 2012 Indycar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. RHR had a great race at Barber on his way to a win. Power has been consistent all year, forging a great championship fight. Will there championship battle continue at Indianapolis?

Plowman and Montangy Return to Indycar
Martin Plowman and Franck Montangy both make their returns to Indycar this weekend. Martin, who drove for Sam Schmidt in 2011, will be racing for AJ Foyt Enterprises for the Month of May. Franck returns to Andretti Autosport for the first time since 2010. Both drivers are incredibly talented and it will be interesting to see how both drivers do this weekend.

Montagny back in Indycar (Photo: Chris Jones / Indycar Media)

What Should We Expect?
The new Indy course has a lot of angles to it. The new track layout seems to be a favorite among drivers. There are plenty of passing areas and a lot of fast corners. Also, the front stretch allows for a big buildup to turn one. This track should be interesting! As far as who's the favorite, there is none! Anyone can win this race.

Normally, this is where I would post past statistics. That's (obviously) impossible since Indycar has never raced on this configuration. Tony Kanaan, Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Justin Wilson, Takuma Sato, Sebastian Saavedra, and Juan Pablo Montoya have all raced clockwise at Indianapolis in Formula 1 or Grand-Am, but will this yield any advantage? Other than that, I got nothing...

Here is the schedule for the 2014 Grand Prix of Indianapolis (eastern):

Practice 1: 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM
Practice 2: 2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Practice 3: 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM
Qualifying: 2:00 PM - 3:10 PM

Race: 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Here are the Indycar Driver Standings heading into the Grand Prix of Indianapolis:
1) Will Power - 125
2) Ryan Hunter-Reay - 107
3) Simon Pagenaud - 92
4) Scott Dixon - 87
5) Mike Conway - 82
6) Marco Andretti - 73
7) Justin Wilson - 67
8) Helio Castroneves - 66
9) Tony Kanaan - 62
10) Josef Newgarden - 58

Here are the five largest winless droughts among active drivers in the field (total number of starts since last win):
1) Graham Rahal - 98
1) Oriol Servia - 98
3) Marco Andretti - 45
4) Sebastien Bourdais - 42
5) Sebastian Saavedra - 41

And finally, here is the entry list for the 2014 Grand Prix of Indianapolis:
#2 Juan Pablo Montoya / Team Penske / Chevrolet
#3 Helio Castroneves / Team Penske / Chevrolet
#7 Mikhail Aleshin [R] / Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports / Honda
#8 Ryan Briscoe / Chip Ganassi Racing / Chevrolet
#9 Scott Dixon / Chip Ganassi Racing / Chevrolet
#10 Tony Kanaan / Chip Ganassi Racing / Chevrolet
#11 Sebastien Bourdais / KVSH Racing / Chevrolet
#12 Will Power / Team Penske / Chevrolet
#14 Takuma Sato / AJ Foyt Enterprises / Honda
#15 Graham Rahal / Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing / Honda
#16 Oriol Servia / Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing / Honda
#17 Sebastian Saavedra / KVSH Racing / Chevrolet
#18 Carlos Huertas [R] / Dale Coyne Racing / Honda
#19 Justin Wilson / Dale Coyne Racing / Honda
#20 Mike Conway / Ed Carpenter Racing / Chevrolet
#25 Marco Andretti / Andretti Autosport / Honda
#26 Franck Montangy [R] / Andretti Autosport / Honda
#27 James Hinchcliffe / Andretti Autosport / Honda
#28 Ryan Hunter-Reay / Andretti Autosport / Honda
#34 Carlos Munoz [R] / Andretti Autosport / Honda
#41 Martin Plowman [R] / AJ Foyt Enterprises / Honda
#67 Josef Newgarden / Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing / Honda
#77 Simon Pagenaud / Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports / Honda
#83 Charlie Kimball / Chip Ganassi Racing / Honda
#98 Jack Hawksworth [R] / Bryan Herta Autosport / Honda

Let's kick off the Month of May on the right foot!

-Matthew Hickey