What Does Martinsville Speedway Look Like? [Expert Guide!]

Well, aside from the obvious comparisons to NASCAR and stock car racing, the main difference between NASCAR and the IndyCar Series is the cars. The IndyCar Series primarily uses open-cockpit cars, which were first introduced to the public in the 1960s. These are similar to the “pods” that NASCAR drivers are often seen in. They’re also more fuel-efficient, which is great for the environment.

Despite the open design of the cockpit, IndyCar drivers must adhere to certain safety standards. These were first implemented in 2015 in order to improve driver safety. In addition to safety requirements, the cars need to be fitted with fire-retardant materials, meet impact requirements, and be built to performance standards.

Since its inception in 1950, the Indianapolis 500 has always been the crown jewel in the IndyCar Series. Just as with other forms of motorsport, winning the Indy 500 is considered a pinnacle of achievement. The race is now recognized as one of the world’s great sporting events, and it’s grown in popularity over the years. In 2016, for example, it was attended by more than 300,000 spectators.

While there are a number of big-name drivers that have won the Indy 500 multiple times, there is also a large community of people who have gone year after year and never won. It’s an incredible feat to keep on top of the competition, and it shows how dedicated these drivers are to their craft. Going into the 2018 season, there are a number of drivers who could win the race for the first time. Here’s a look at the top contenders for the 2018 Indy 500:

Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi is considered one of the best young drivers in the world today. The 25-year-old American began racing karts at the age of four and went on to become one of the most prominent real-life racing drivers. He currently competes in the Verizon IndyCar Series, which is one of the top professional sports leagues in North America. He also made a name for himself by becoming the first American to win the Indianapolis 500 in 2016. He is one to keep an eye on in 2018.

Jack Harvey

The 26-year-old Australian driver won five consecutive championships in the Formula 3000 series. In 2015, he made the move to the Verizon IndyCar Series and became a dominant force in the series, winning eight races in his rookie season. He earned $2.64 million in his first year, which is nearly double the annual salary of an IndyCar driver. He is looking to win the Indy 500 for the first time, as he claims it as one of his childhood dreams. He has the talent and the pedigree to do so, having already won the championship in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia.

Josef Newgarden

The American driver began his professional racing career in 2004 and became a force to be reckoned with almost immediately. He went on to win races and championships in both the International Motorcycle Racing Championship (also known as the MotoGP Championship) and the Verizon IndyCar Series. He has also won races and championships in Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In 2017, he became the first American to win the prestigious Mille Miglia in Italy. After being idle for two years, he’ll be looking to get back on the racetrack and continue his domination in 2018.

Simon Pagenaud

The 31-year-old French driver began his career in Formula Renault, winning the championship in 2010. He then made the move to the GP2 Series in 2011 and became the first Frenchman to win a race in the series. He made the jump to the premier class of the Formula One series in 2012 and has gone on to win races and championships in both the GP2 and Formula One series. After winning the GP2 championship in 2018, Pagenaud stated, “I’m looking to come back to the United States and see what I can do there. I had a good time last year, but now it’s time to build on that and hopefully win a championship for the first time ever.” He has the talent and the experience to do so, having previously won the DTM (German Touring Car Championship) with Audi and the Le Mans 24-hour race with Porsche. He also spent two years with Team Penske in the IndyCar Series, driving for Juan Pablo Montoya and winning multiple championships. Still, he’s looking for his first win as a member of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (formerly the Cup Series).

Maverick Viñales

Maverick Viñales is a 23-year-old Spanish driver who began his career in karts before making the move to Formula Renault two years ago. He immediately became a force to be reckoned with, winning multiple races and championships in the series. He then made the move to the IndyCar Series, quickly becoming a regular feature in the category. In July 2018, he won the Indy 500 for the first time, becoming the first Spanish driver to do so. Since then, he’s continued to show talent, finishing in the top four in both the following races. In addition to his IndyCar victories, he won the 24 Hours of Daytona and Canadian Grand Prix. Now, he’s looking to build on his momentum and continue his dominance in the series.

Simon Hojbjerg

The 24-year-old Dane began his racing career in karts at the age of 14 and went on to become one of the best drivers in the European Karting Championship. In 2015, he made the move to the Verizon IndyCar Series and won the poleposition for the Indy 500. He then went on to finish second in the race. In 2016, he won the championship and became the first Dane to do so. He had a phenomenal rookie season, winning eight races and earning nearly $2.5 million. He is looking to build on his success in 2018 and become the first driver to win the Indy 500 for the second consecutive year. If he does so, he’ll also earn the prestigious Jim Clark Trophy, which is given to the first driver to win the Indy 500 three times.

Even though NASCAR and IndyCar are two very different forms of racing, they have a lot in common. Both have a large, dedicated fan base that supports their respective series. The cars are also quite similar, with open cockpits and four wheels driven by powerful engines. This common ground gives drivers from both series the opportunity to win championships and make a name for themselves. Going into the 2018 season, there isn’t a clear favorite to win the Indy 500. However, it’s likely that Rossi, Harvey, Pagenaud, Viñales, and Newgarden will be at the top of the list. For the first-time competitors, it’ll be a learning experience in the best possible way.

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