Know Your Drivers: Part Three

We’re only 4 days out from the Indianapolis 500 and the hype is at an all-time high.

The story lines are crazy, from Sebastien Bourdais’ terrifying crash (don’t worry, he's going to be just fine!) to Scott Dixon’s flawless run that lead him to becoming the 2017 Indy 500 pole sitter. With media day yesterday, you’re probably thinking to yourself- wait! Who ARE some of these people? Well, Indy 500 is a special race where 33 entries are allowed to race and now that we’ve finished qualifying, we’ll get you up to speed with the who’s who of extra entries.

James Davison:
Under the most unfortunate of circumstances, James will get his second crack at the Indy 500. Does his name sound familiar? That’s because this 30 year old has dipped his toes in a whole bunch of series including; IndyCar, Indy Lights, NASCAR Xfinity, and most recently Pirelli World Challenge but, those are just some of the series he’s been involved in. James is a true driver, jumping in the seat of any car that will have him.

Zach Veach:
Welcome to the show, kid! Zach is 22 (and looks it, what a baby face!) and if his Indy Lights stats are any indication of this guy’s future in an IndyCar, he’s going to be fierce competition, but for now, he’ll have to get through his first Indy 500 run.

Sebastian Saavedra:
For 6 years consecutive years, Sebastian had a ride for the Indy 500 and he is absolutely no stranger to IndyCar. His last Indy 500 race in 2015 was a scary one where Sebastian got in an accident and had to be cut out of his boot. You can be certain he’ll be looking for redemption.

Buddy Laizer: 
Did you ever think that in 2017 the 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner would be competing? This will be Buddy’s 20th run of the Indy 500 since his first go at it on May 26th, 1991. The most recent winner, Alexander Rossi, would be born four months later on September 25th. Wow!

Pippa Mann:
The only female in this year’s line-up. She hasn’t missed an Indy 500 since 2011 and plans to keep it that way. You’ll be able to tell exactly which car she is while she’s zipping through the pack by the fact that her car is pink, pink, pink! Pippa has been a staple in racing for years, including a fantastic year in Indy Lights landing her 5th in points. This year she’s racing in tandem with Jackie Heinricher in the 2017 Super Trofeo North American Series as well.

Jack Harvey:
An Indy 500 rookie, Jack was second in points both years of his Indy Lights career in 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately this was not enough to secure him a position in the big leagues as hoped but, it was enough for a ride this year in the Indy 500. Jack now has more than just a point to prove- he’s here to prove he deserves to get a full ride.

Gabby Chaves:
This 2015 Rookie of the Year found himself without a full-time ride last year but, you can be certain he made sure he had a ride for the Indy 500. As an Indy Lights driver he landed 2nd in points in his rookie year and then 1st in points in his second. You can bet as soon as Gabby gets himself a full-time car, he’ll be competing for podiums in no time.

Sage Karam:
Sage has had a controversial career in IndyCar. While receiving mixed feedback about his style of racing, you cannot ignore his career stats. In his 14 career starts, he’s been in the top 5 twice, top 10 three times and narrowly missed with two P12 finishes without having a full-time ride to improve weekly in. Sage has only run Indy 500 once, securing himself a top 10 finish. He will be starting 21st on Sunday and will be looking to turn that 21st into a 1st.

Jay Howard:
It’s been a long time since Jay got behind the wheel of an IndyCar. Like most drivers, he had a fantastic Indy Lights career, including the championship in 2006. From 2008-2011 he raced in 12 races, now he’s racing a one-off with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Tony Stewart and starting in P20, fantastic for someone who hasn’t driven in four year.

Oriol Servia:
Oriol is no stranger to the Indy 500. He has raced in every one since 2008, just narrowly missing the podium in 2012. He’s also no stranger to IndyCar. For a name you may not recognize, the 2017 Indy 500 will mark Oriol’s 200th race in IndyCar, including Champ Car. He knows this track well and will be looking to beat his 12th place finish last year.

Fernando Alonso: 
Does anyone else feel like they’re in the Brady Bunch and instead of Marcia, Marcia, Marcia its Alonso, Alonso, Alonso? If you don’t know who this man is, you need to follow our social media channels because this is the biggest story going into the Indy 500. As a two-time Formula One champion, Alonso decided it was time to take his racing skills to the biggest show of them all. Would he be able to pass the rookie test? Yup. Would he be able to qualify in the top 9? Oh, he did and not only that, he qualified in the top 5. The final question is, can Alonso win? Tune in Sunday on ABC (coverage starts at 11am) to find out!

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