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F1 champ Alonso adds intrigue to Indy 500

F1 champ Alonso adds intrigue to Indy 500

Like almost everyone else in the Team Penske stable, Castroneves has been fighting to find speed ever since road-course setups used during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis were kicked aside and practice on the big oval began.

Many felt that if Guthrie was fast enough to qualify, she deserved to race.

"It's different, but I'm enjoying because it's just one race of the year", said the McLaren Andretti driver.

Neither did anyone else in The Captain's ship. Juan Pablo Montoya, who has two victories in just four attempts, thinks there's no secret to running up front. Eventually, his ride was handed over to popular youngster Josef Newgarden.

Team Penske won the pit stop challenge at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday with Will Power behind the wheel.

"Sometimes even ignorance is bliss at this race", said Andretti. "It's what makes this place legendary".

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Brazil's Tony Kanaan, the 2013 victor, had the third best effort followed by 2008 champion and pole sitter Scott Dixon of New Zealand.

IndyCar has undergone significant change no less than five times during his time in the formula, and the race wins and championships have continued to come. Eight more failed at Phoenix. The fastest has slowed down.

Honda powers 14 of the top 17 cars in the field with the other three being Chevrolets.

Several Penske drivers pointed their fingers at Chevrolet, which has spent the past couple weeks chasing Honda around the Brickyard. Qualifying did not work out the way we wanted. This is about what we expected but we haven't gotten to the race yet, so we can't take anything for granted. "I mean, look how many chances I had, not just me, but good drivers, led races".

Changes to Andretti's team this year include bringing former teammate Bryan Herta in to run things.

The Brazilian is part of the powerhouse Team Penske stable that includes an all-star lineup of Colombian twice victor Juan Pablo Montoya, reigning IndyCar Series champion Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, Australian Will Power and Josef Newgarden all trying to give "The Captain" Roger Penske a 17th trip to Victory Lane.

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Perhaps more noteworthy, the team has won from everywhere on the starting grid. Castroneves will start 19th in the race as he attempts to join fellow Indy auto legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners. In a compromise, Hulman recognized Guthrie as the first woman to race at Indianapolis and then said "Gentlemen, start your engines". It hasn't done him much good. The whole family travels back to Colombia for holidays, and he admits to spending far too much time messing around with his radio-controlled airplanes.

Honda engineers have found some commonalities in the engine failures in Indianapolis, but what is causing them remains somewhat of a mystery.

"Qualifying is behind us". "The mind is so focused on the race". He won the first race with the IndyCar Series' new engine and chassis formula in 1997 and in 1998 won the Indianapolis 500 as a driver-owner.

Indeed, there is a certain amount of optimism that permeates Team Penske, even with uncertainty about what will happen during the final practice Friday and the race on Sunday. Page has some inside info on the situation as his son is an engineer with the combined McLaren/Andretti/Honda team that is supporting Alonso's effort this year.

"If you don't get him now, you are going to lose him", Kanaan said. "Every year there seems to be something different. It is all good being friends and teammates but that is the guy you want to beat the most". "There are certain people who think you can look at the ratings and demographics and commercial load and drop out a number, but it really depends on a lot of other dynamics".

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