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Indianapolis 500: 13 Bold Predictions for This Year's Race

Camille JonesContributor IIIMay 24, 2011

Indianapolis 500: 13 Bold Predictions for This Year's Race

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    INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 20:  Ryan Briscoe drives his #6 Izod Team Penske Dallara Honda during practice for the the 95th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 20, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Ima
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    After a surprising week and weekend of slow star teams, fast one-offs and surprises on the track, the big race can only bring one thing: pure insanity.

    While this year's race could bring a common winner, we could also see a small team take the win, or maybe even a shocker in the crowd will take home the trophy. 

    Also, what other wild moments could appear within those 500 laps? 

    It's the Indianapolis 500. The possibilities are never-ending.

13. A First-Time Winner Wins the 500

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    INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 25:  The Borg-Warner Trophy sits on pit lane before the start of the IndyCar Series 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 25, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Could you imagine winning your first race and it being the biggest race of the year?

    It happened in NASCAR at the Daytona 500; could it happen at Indy? 

    With multiple drivers in the field lacking any wins, Indianapolis would be one place that drivers put all the eggs in the basket for a chance to bring home the win.

12. Will Power Wins His First Oval Race

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    SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - MAY 02:  Will Power of Australia driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara Honda celebrates winning the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300  on May 2, 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    When you think of Will Power, you think of street and road courses. You also think of domination—a trait that Penske seems to live by. 

    With the hope to win an oval race within this year as he contends again for the series championship, Will Power would fight to the finish to win his first oval race at Indianapolis. 

    Power starts fifth, plenty close to the front to easily contend for the win. 

11. A "Big One" Happens at Indy

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    SAO POULO, BRAZIL - MAY 01:  Danica Patrick crashes her #7 GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport Honda Dallara in to Simona de Silvestro in her #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy HVM Racing Honda Dallara and Helio Castroneves in his #3 Itaipava Team Penske Dallara Hon
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Hey now, it's Indy–anything is possible.

    In the centennial race, everyone wants a chance to smack their face on the side of the trophy, even more than usual.

    With the pressure high, drivers will be right on each other to gain position. Also, as these cars are so similar, passing still has its struggles, no matter what.

    Since a "Big One" isn't something you hear about when it comes to IndyCar, think of it more as "a wreck involving multiple cars." Who knows, it could be something to alter a major part of the contending field.  

10. Ganassi Takes Home the Win—Again

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    INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 30:  Dario Franchitti of Scotland, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda, celebrates with his team as they kiss the bricks after winning the IZOD IndyCar Series 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapol
    Robert Laberge/Getty Images

    Not a surprising one at all, actually. 

    Dario could win two in a row, or Scott could win a second Indy 500.

    Either way, Chip Ganassi would have a field day of happiness. After winning the "trifecta" of the three biggest races of the year between NASCAR and IndyCar—the Daytona 500, Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 in 2010—he could surely use yet another win at Indy to place in the books for his team. 

9. Andretti Autosport Overcomes Bump Day Bummers to Finish Well at Indy

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 22:  Marco Andretti, driver of the #26 Team Venom Dallara Honda waits to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 on May 22, 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    With some drivers making it and some heading home empty-handed, Bump Day was an emotional day for the Andretti Autosport team.

    Even at other tracks, the team always races better than they qualify. So could they turn around the horror of Bump Day and bring home top finishes or maybe even a win? History says they're a great team at Indy and ones to watch no matter how they start.

8. Rain Affects the Race in Some Way

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 22:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 Team GoDaddy Dallara Honda, waits in the rain while her car is covered as the next to qualify when the session was postponed due to rain during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 22, 201
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    We've seen it all month long—the rain comes from nowhere and is gone in a flash.

    Could rain appear on race day? It sure seems like a possibility, no matter what the forecast is.

    With rain comes changes in set-ups and changes in track conditions. So, while some did their rain dance for Pole Day and Bump Day, please hold the dancing until after the checkered flag has flown. 

7. Ryan Briscoe Joins the Rest of the Penske Team as an Indy 500 Winner

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    BIRMINGHAM, AL - MARCH 15: Ryan Briscoe of Australia, driver of the #6 Team Penske Dallara Honda stands in pit lane during IZOD IndyCar Series Spring Training at Barber Motorsports Park on March 15, 2011 in Birmingham, Alabama.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Being the only driver on the Penske team without an Indy 500 win, Ryan Briscoe may finally seal that deal and take home the win. 

    He had trouble on Pole Day, but qualified 27th on Bump Day. It would be a tough trip, but Briscoe has enough skill and car to take it to the front in 2011. 

6. The Race Ends Under Caution

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    INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 27:  Members of the Delphi Safety crew direct cars towards the inside of the track as the race goes under caution during the IRL IndyCar Series 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27, 2007 in I
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Whether it's by wreck, or by rain, there is always chance the race could end under caution as it has in previous years.

    In this situation, it pays to be leading, no matter what. While some would hate to win that way, it may be a few drivers' only chance to ever take home the big win. 

5. A Big-Name Driver Wrecks Early in the Race

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 25:  Danica Patrick driver of the #7 Andretti Green Racing Motorola Dallara Honda walks towards pit box of Ryan Briscoe driver of the #6 Team Penske Dallara Honda after crashing with Briscoe during the IRL IndyCar Series 92nd runnin
    Robert Laberge/Getty Images

    Sometimes it's the driver's fault and sometimes it's out of their hands. 

    Nobody likes wrecking and not being able to complete a race, but at Indy, times that feeling by a million. 

    We remember some of the emotions that fall out when a driver doesn't get to finish and contend for the win, because every year it seems to happen. 

    Could that driver be a Penske, Ganassi or Andretti Autosport driver? Big-name drivers falling from big-name teams raises need for big-time headlines.

4. All Four Females Finish the Race

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 22:  Ana Beatriz of Brazil, driver of the #24 Team Ipiranga/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara Honda, looks to the scoreboard after qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 22, 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, In
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    All four women in the field have a good chance of staying in contention within the race. While all four may not get a chance to the front, each will finish the race.

    Pippa Mann will be making her first Indy 500 start in 2011, while Simona De Silvestro and Ana Beatriz will be making their second start in the race. This will be Danica Patrick's seventh Indianapolis 500. 

3. Alex Tagliani Wins from the Pole

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 22:  Alex Tagliani of Canada, driver of the #77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara Honda, poses on the finish line after qualifying on the pole for the Indianapolis 500 on May 22, 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Alex Tagliani was given the chance to watch from the safe side of the fence, rather than where he has previously been, waiting anxiously on Bump Day.

    But this year, he isn't only safe—he's on the pole for the 2011 Indianapolis 500. 

    Like they say, you can win from anywhere, but the pole sure does feel like a safer place to be. 

    Alex Tagliani may be a good shot for the win at Indy. 

2. A One-off Wins the Indy 500

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    INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 28:  A detail of the Official Borg Warner Trophy during the trophy presentation for winning the IRL IndyCar Series 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 28, 2007 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Multiple teams this year have drivers racing only in the Indy 500. 

    Drivers with records such as Dan Wheldon, who will be racing only at Indianapolis in 2011, have a bigger chance of winning than some drivers who race all season. 

    To some, jumping in for one race only and winning could be an impossible task. But for others, it's just what they need to win. Putting all focus in one race with nothing standing in their way but 32 other drivers could be the path to success for many of these one-off drivers.

    Don't be surprised if you see one taking home the win.

1. Danica Patrick Wins the Indy 500

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 21:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 Team GoDaddy Dallara Honda, poses for an official portrait during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 21, 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jamie Sq
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Every year this case arises: What if Danica Patrick finally won the Indy 500?

    After leading in 2005, in her first Indianapolis 500, her name has been on the scene whenever the monht of May arrives. She still holds as the highest-finishing female in the race's history, finishing third in 2009. 

    She starts pretty far back this year, but over the course of the 500 miles, she could make history. 

    Love her or hate her, Indianapolis is a track where Danica always runs strong. A win at Indy could be the perfect going-away present if she decides to race NASCAR full-time in 2012. 

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