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Top 5 Underdog Racers to Watch During the Indianapolis 500

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Can an Underdog Actually Win the Indianapolis 500?

Indy 500
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis 500 is one of, if not the most, coveted race in all of motorsports. Traditionally held on the Sunday before Memorial Day, the Indianapolis 500 is one of the lone sporting events that can draw crowds exceeding 200,000 spectators.

This year, the Indianapolis 500 may not be sold out, but it's still going to be a great event. The IZOD INDY Car Series field has become increasingly competitive thanks to a new body design, which was debuted last season. In qualifying, times were separated by just five miles per hour in the four-lap average.

The usual suspects, being Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing, have been very competitive throughout the past two weeks. Preparing for the biggest race of their season, they've put everything they can to get one of their drivers into victory lane. However, some of the big named drivers haven't had the weeks that they've wanted to.

2012 Indianapolis 500 winner, Dario Franchitti, will start from 17th position. That is Franchitti's worst Indianapolis 500 qualifying effort since joining Ganassi's team. However, he was capable of winning last year from the 16th position. His teammate, Scott Dixon, will start right in front of him in the 16th position. Usually, the Ganassi cars are better during the race than they are in qualifying, but Franchitti was sixth in final practice while Dixon was fourth.

The Penske cars have been running great this week. Each of them qualified inside the top nine. Yet, even with such strong qualifying runs, the team wasn't too good during Carb Day. The team's veteran driver, Helio Castroneves, is one of the favorites to win this years event and may just do so.

There are plenty of big name drivers that can win this weekend. Unfortunately for them, the competition has grown dramatically since they were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a year ago. Plenty of young guns are looking to break through for a win and there's no better place to do it than Indianapolis.

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Sebastien Bourdais

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After dominating the CART Series for four years in a row, Bourdais hasn't had much success in the IZOD INDY Car Series. He had a decent qualifying run in the 15th position and was in the top-five during Carb Day. He may not have the best of equipment with Dragon Racing, but he's a wheel man and can definitely contend for the win if he and his crew make absolutely no mistakes.

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Alex Tagliani

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Tagliani has a good car this week. He's always been a good qualifier. However, he hasn't be able to run well in this particular race. He may be able to finally break through this year with a new team.

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Simon Pagenaud

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The France native had a great year in 2012. He finished in the top five in points during his rookie season, which is beyond impressive. Pagenaud didn't run too well on the oval tracks compared to the street/road circuits. But this year, something seems different. Though he qualified 21st, he was fastest during Carb Day. It's a good sign to see him leading practice, but he may not be too good during the long run.

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E.J. Viso

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This guy hasn't had a true opportunity to win races until this year. Being given an opportunity with Andretti Autosport, Viso's been running rather well this year. All he needs to do is stay out of trouble and he should be a contender come Sunday. He already had his best qualifying effort at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway of fourth this weekend and was second in final practice. Expect Viso to run upfront, even though he's never really done that before.

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A.J. Allmendinger

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This guy isn't really an INDY Car Series driver. He's a NASCAR driver that's racing in the IZOD INDY Car Series just because he simply wants to see what it's like to compete in the Indianapolis 500. Expect A.J. Allmendinger to run upfront even though he's a rookie. His two races in the series this year weren't too great, but he's great on oval's and should be able to contend for the win. He's in Penske Racing equipment which should give him an advantage.