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Indianapolis 500 Preview: Warm day dawns for 100th anniversary race

May 29, 2011 |  7:15 am


After a week of rain, cold and tornado warnings in central Indiana, there were partly sunny skies and warmer conditions Sunday morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 100th-anniversary edition of the Indianapolis 500.

Indeed, temperatures were expected to reach the high 80s and the chance of rain was listed at only 10% for the race, which many observers said was shaping up to be one of the more compelling Indy 500s in recent years.

Though Canadian Alex Tagliani is on the pole, with a qualifying speed of 227.472 mph, many of the top drivers in the Izod IndyCar Series are starting deep in the 33-car field. That's likely to spark lots of passing in the 200-lap race as those drivers charge to the front.

Defending race winner and reigning IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti is starting ninth. Helio Castroneves, looking to become only the fourth driver in history to win the race four times, is starting 16th.

Simona De Silvestro, the young Swiss driver who burned her hand in a crash at practice but returned to qualifying anyway, starts 23rd. And the popular Danica Patrick starts 25th.

The race starts at noon EDT, and look for in-race updates at


Indy 500 has favorites, but also several potential spoilers

Indy 500 trivia: Why does the winner drink milk?

The history of the Indianapolis 500

-- Jim Peltz in Indianapolis

Photo: The front-stretch grandstands at dawn Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire