Last year's 81st Indianapolis 500 was delayed twice by rain before Luyendyk captured his second Borg-Warner Trophy. Luyendyk outgunned Scott Goodyear in a one-lap dash to the finish by 0.57 seconds–the third-closest finish in 81 years of racing at The Brickyard.
But missing from the race the last two years were some of the sport's big names, causing critics to label the Indy 500 field as second-class. Withdrawn from the competition are those drivers who decided not to join the Indy Racing League (IRL) when it split from Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), under the guidance of IMS president Tony George. Former Indy 500 winners Emerson Fittipaldi, Michael Andretti and Bobby Rahal no longer race at Indianapolis. And the only men to win the race four times, Al Unser Sr., Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt, are now distant memories. With Mears's election in January, all three have their cars permanently pitted at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
So it's up to the new stars to establish themselves this Sunday. See our favorite picks for Sunday's race.
—John Gettings is Assistant Editor, Sports, at Information Please.