Indy 500’s 98th edition to open after week of accidents

Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal prepare for practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 14 May 2015
Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal prepare for practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 14 May 2015 Jim Haines/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

On Sunday, the Indianapolis 500 race is on. During three hours, 33 competitors will go for the biggest prize in car racing.

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The Indy 500 will be the most important event of the 2015 season for the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Defending champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will battle Scott Dixon, who won the pole position, his second. And triple Indy winner Hélio Castroneves has set his hopes on a record fourth 500 win.

Practice for the race opened on 11 May, and time trials were held over two days, 16-17 May.

The cars are different from previous years, with wings and other Chevrolet and Honda designed bodywork added to the central Dallara chassis.

But the drivers say the complexion of the race should match that of the past three years.

The run-up to the Indy 500 didn’t pass without trouble.

James Hinchcliffe crashed during practice for the Sunday race, hitting a barrier in the third turn after experiencing mechanical problems with his race car.

The 28-year-old Canadian underwent surgery at an Indianapolis hospital for a injury to his upper left thigh on Monday.

His accident is the fifth major one at this famed four-kilometre oval in the past week.

The Indianapolis 500 was introduced as the International 500-Mile Sweepstakes in 1911 and was won by Ray Harroun in the Marmon “Wasp”.

Harroun won the first Indy 500 in 6 hours, 42 minutes and 8 seconds at an average speed of 120.1 km/h.

Current champion, winner of the 98th Indy 500 Ryan Hunter-Reay had an average speed of 369.98 km/h in a vehicle powered by Honda.

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