500 NOTES

Try, try again

Helio Castroneves' bid for a fourth win at the Brickyard fell just short last year when he lost to Ryan Hunter-Reay by less than a car length in the second-closest Indy 500 finish in history. If he can win Sunday, Castroneves will become the fourth member of the four-victory club. This will be his sixth attempt at joining A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Briscoe steps up

Ryan Briscoe will be driving in the No. 5 car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in place of James Hinchcliffe. Hinchcliffe suffered a serious upper-thigh injury in practice Monday when his Honda-powered car slammed into the wall and nearly got airborne as it spun to a stop. He is probably out for the season.

Etc.

• Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon will drive the pace car for the Indy 500, then rush to Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., to race in NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600.

• A cappella group Straight No Chaser was tapped to fill Jim Nabors' role performing "(Back Home Again in) Indiana" during the pre-race festivities. Nabors had performed the song live at every Indy 500 since 1972, save 2012 when he was having a heart valve replacement.

• Chevrolet had the five fastest qualifiers and 11 of the topt 15.

• Team owner Roger Penske (below) has a record 15 wins at the Indy 500. But it's been six years since a Penske driver last captured the race, with Castroneves at the wheel in 2009.

600 notes

Dillon wins Xfinity race

Austin Dillon passed Denny Hamlin with 15 laps left and won the Xfinity Series race Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 25-year-old Dillon started on the pole and had the fastest car all day, leading the first 98 laps and 163 of 200 overall for his first win on his home track. Hamlin finished second, nearly 3 seconds behind Dillon. Kasey Kahne was third, followed by Regan Smith and Xfinity Series regular Darrell Wallace Jr. "I didn't want to get out of this car [because] it drove so good," Dillon said.

No double dip this time

For Kurt Busch, this event will seem like a lazy Sunday drive compared with the whirlwind of last May, when Busch split time between two of America's most famous motor sports arenas chasing the double of finishing 1,100 miles at the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 (his engine blew at Charlotte). "When the month of May was over, it felt like July," Busch said.

Etc.

• Jimmie Johnson has seven Sprint Cup victories at Charlotte Motor Speedway and 13 top-five finishes.

• Kevin Harvick has finished first or second in eight of 11 races this season.

• Kyle Busch (below) will be competing in his first points race since breaking his right leg and his left foot in February with a hard crash in the Xfinity series race at Daytona. Busch's wife, Samantha, gave birth to a 7-pound, 10-ounce boy Monday.

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