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2013 Indianapolis 500 Preview
From The Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Indianapolis 500 is the fifth race on the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule. This will be the first oval event of the season. The first four races have been held on road/street circuits.

This will be the 97th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ed Carpenter will start on the pole for this year's 500-mile race. This past Saturday, Carpenter won the pole at Indianapolis for the first time in his career with a four-lap average of 228.762 mph during the final segment in qualifying (the fast-nine shootout).

The Indianapolis 500 traditionally has run on Memorial Day weekend since 1911, except war years (1917-18 and 1942-45). It is the oldest automobile race in the United States.

The track was once paved with 3.2 million bricks, earning the nickname "The Brickyard." A 36-inch "Yard of Bricks" remains at the start/finish line. They are the only visible bricks left at this historic facility.

This famed 2.5-mile "rectangular" oval, which opened in 1909, has 9 degrees of banking in all of its turns and no banking on the straightaways. The lengths of the turns are 1/4-mile in length, while the straightaways are 5/8-mile long. The width of each turn is 60 feet, and the width of each straightaway measures 50 feet.

Ray Harroun won the inaugural Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1911.

Three drivers share the record for most Indy 500 victories with four: A.J. Foyt (1961, '64, '67, '77), Al Unser (1970, '71, '78, '87) and Rick Mears (1979, '84, '88, '91).

Mears holds the record for most pole wins in this race with six (1979, '82, '86, '88, '89, '91).

There are seven drivers who have won the Indy 500 three times: Louis Meyer, Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Unser, Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti. Castroneves and Franchitti are competing in this year's race.

One year ago, Franchitti joined the list of those drivers who won the Indy 500 three times or more. Franchitti's victory was a difficult task and an emotional one as well. The four-time IndyCar champion overcame adversity by not only starting 16th in his Honda-powered Target Chip Ganassi Racing car but enduring a pit-road mishap that occurred early in the race. E.J. Viso bumped into the back of Franchitti and turned him around in his pit stall. He fell way back to 28th in the field.

After patiently making his way through the field, Franchitti grabbed the lead for the first time with 47 laps to go. The lead changed hands numerous times among Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Takuma Sato. Franchitti grabbed the lead for good with less than two laps to go. During the final lap, Sato made contact with him, with Sato slamming into the outside wall in turn one.

The race ended under caution, with Franchitti taking the checkered flag. His teammate, Dixon, crossed the line in second to give Ganassi a 1-2 finish in the Indy 500. Franchitti's other victories in this race came in 2007 and '10. He won the IndyCar title in both of those years as well.

Franchitti dedicated his victory to the late Dan Wheldon, who won the 2011 Indy 500 after taking the lead from then-rookie J.R. Hildebrand when Hildebrand crashed coming out of the final turn on the last lap. Wheldon lost his life during a horrifying multi-car accident in the early going of the Oct. 16, 2011 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The 2012 Indy 500 featured a record 34 lead changes among 10 drivers. The previous record for most lead changes in this race was 29, set in 1960.

Castroneves' victories in the Indy 500 came in 2001, '02 and '09.

There are three rookies in this year's starting field for the Indy 500: A.J. Allmendinger, Carlos Munoz and Tristan Vautier. Munoz will start in the middle of the front row for this race.

Eight drivers have won the Indy 500 in their rookie year, with Castroneves the most recent one to do it in '01.

Four women -- Simona de Silvestro, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge and Pippa Mann -- will race in this year's Indy 500. It will be the second time that many females compete in this event. Beatriz, de Silvestro, Mann and Danica Patrick were in the starting field for the 2011 Indy 500.

Patrick, who is now a full-time competitor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, holds the record for the highest-finishing female in the Indy 500. She placed third in the 2009 race. Patrick also is the only woman to lead laps in the Indy 500, doing so in her 2005 rookie season.

Twenty time has the Indy 500 been won from the pole position. Castroneves most recently did it in 2009.

Roger Penske holds the record for most car owner wins in the Indianapolis 500 with 15. Team Penske has three entries in this year's race: Allmendinger, Castroneves and Will Power.

The Borg-Warner Trophy, which is one of the most recognizable trophies in all of sports, has been awarded to every Indianapolis 500 winner since 1936. Crafted out of sterling silver by Spaulding-Gorham of Chicago, it was unveiled at a dinner in New York in February 1936, featuring bas-relief sculptures of every "500" winner up until that time. The new winner has been added every year since, and in 1986 (the trophy's 50th anniversary), the final space became filled. The solution for 1987 was to add a base, but this too became filled, and in 2004, an even larger version replaced it, this one with enough spaces to last through 2034. The only sculptured face not of a winning driver is that of the late speedway owner Tony Hulman, whose likeness, in gold, was placed on the base in 1987.

The next IndyCar events are the Chevrolet Indy Duel in Detroit. Race 1 at Detroit's Belle Isle Park road course is scheduled for June 1, and race 2 is slated for June 2. Scott Dixon won last year's event there.

Series: IZOD IndyCar
Date: Sunday, May 26
Race: Indianapolis 500
Site: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Track: 2.5-mile oval
Start time: noon (ET) (green flag expected at 12:12 p.m.)
Laps: 200 - Miles: 500
2012 Winner: Dario Franchitti
Television: ABC
Radio: IMS Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite.