This series will highlight the Indianapolis 500 chances of some of the one-race "specials" in the field. These teams are defined as limited-race enterprises with Indianapolis as their focus and any other races as a bonus. Indianapolis has always brought together interesting pairings of drivers and teams, and this year's event will be no different. First in the series is Paul Tracy.
Paul Tracy competed in his first Indianapolis 500 since 2002 last year, his first of six starts for KV Racing Technology and A.J. Foyt Enterprises. Unlike the 2002 event, where Tracy contended for a victory, he was never a huge factor in 2009, but did manage to salvage a ninth place finish.
Tracy was actually KV's second best driver in the event, as Townsend Bell, another driver with a one-race deal, pulled off a very impressive fourth place finish. As far as Indy 500 specials went, however, KV had the two best, and even put both in the top 10. Only a first-turn incident on the first lap that took out Mario Moraes put a damper on KV's day.
Tracy will have his former team owner, Barry Green, on board as race strategist this year. Keep in mind that the pairing nearly won the 2002 event, only to have the victory kept away from them after an unsuccessful appeal regarding the timing of Tracy's pass of Helio Castroneves in relation to the caution lights.
Tracy is still a monumental talent, who posted some decent finishes last year for KV - three top 10 finishes, including a sixth at Edmonton. Though Tracy hasn't won a race in nearly three years, dating back to the 2007 Champ Car event at Cleveland, he still believes he can win the 500. "I'm going to Sport Clips to get a hair cut," Tracy wrote on Twitter. "Need to look my best to put my face on the Borg Warner." He also told the press that he has lost a substantial amount of weight, an important factor that can give the car an extra tenth of a second around the track, according to team owner Jimmy Vasser.
As for KV, it is widely recognized as having some of the better cars in the sport, although some of the other drivers on the team are not yet up to par with Tracy's skill. Moraes' two top-10s are the best results for the team thus far in 2010, though new driver Takuma Sato has had some strong runs before bad luck ended his days. If anybody can put a KV car in victory lane at Indy, though, it should be Tracy - he has the discipline to win races, something no other KV driver has done yet.
Chances of winning the Indianapolis 500: B
Chances of leading the Indianapolis 500 specials: A-