10. RUBENS BARRICHELLO
THE GOOD – Rather than rush, Barrichello's taken a methodical approach to learning at Indy, and it's shown in a gradual increase in speed – all the way to his 224+ qualifying run with extra boost, good enough for 10th on the grid. Everything Rubens has done thus far has been the epitome of class and respect for the place, and the approach should serve him well come race day.
THE BAD – It's Barrichello's first oval race. No matter the amount of practice and preparation, there's nothing that can totally prime Rubens for race morning at Indy. He's cool enough where it shouldn't faze him, but there's still a lot to digest in the lead-up before the green flag.
11. ALEX TAGLIANI
THE GOOD – Last year's polesitter coupled with last year's winning team has the potential to play spoiler on race day. Tagliani has said he feels bullish about his opportunity this year.
THE BAD – Not too much wrong here either than a wreck in last year's race.
12. GRAHAM RAHAL
THE GOOD – Fastest qualified among the Ganassi cars. Third here last year. Has Bud as an associate sponsor. It's his fifth 500, still only 23, and father Bobby won his fifth 500 start in 1986.
THE BAD – First two years saw Rahal end his day early against the Turn 4 wall. A blocking penalty sabotaged his 2010 charge. It was only last year he's had a truly complete, uninterrupted 500 for consistency's sake.
13. ANA BEATRIZ
THE GOOD – Andretti Autosport support and a quiet confidence knowing this is basically an audition for future starts. Has finished both of her first 500s, albeit only in 21st each time.
THE BAD – As one of the few one-off entrants, her crew's pit work is unlikely to match the full timers, and that may drop her down the order.
14. CHARLIE KIMBALL
THE GOOD – Has the benefit of last year's finish to look back on about how to manage his car for 500 miles. Has shown potential for improvement in his second season, and a pair of top 10s represent proof.
THE BAD – A wreck on the second day of qualifying forced his team to repair the car, and his confidence may be dented as a result.
15. SCOTT DIXON
THE GOOD – Aside of his qualifying run, Dixon's month has largely been positive from a Honda standpoint. Seems strong in race trim and with race boost, plus has the knowledge and experience of making it 500 miles. Will also want to bounce back from his last two races, both subpar, for championship aspirations.
THE BAD – Since his 2008 win at Indy, Dixon's luck here hasn't been great, and neither has his fuel mileage. Last year's fueling gaffe effectively ended chances for his second win. Better to spend a few more seconds in the pits making sure it's all in rather than come up empty yet again.
16. DARIO FRANCHITTI
THE GOOD – A master of making the most out of his equipment, Franchitti's never one to be counted out at Indy. The 2010 winner has consistently ended the day in the bottom of the top 10 in the practice sessions with race boost, and has raced long enough to have a good gauge of how this year's tow will work with the DW12 punching a larger hole in the air.
THE BAD – A lackluster start to 2012, a rather invisible month of May and the frustration of last year's fuel issues, Franchitti's another usual A-lister who's more of an underdog this year. Maybe that's a motivator?
17. JAMES JAKES
THE GOOD – Compared to last year, has shown marked improvement at IMS.
THE BAD – Untested over 500 miles, Jakes' goal this year should be merely to finish with anything decent results-wise (top 15 or so) a bonus.
18. JR HILDEBRAND
THE GOOD – Forget the last lap, Hildebrand's prior 199 circuits in his debut 500 were particularly canny and smart, belying his confidence and poise beyond his years. Panther, of course, enters 2012 having finished runner-up in four straight Indy 500s, and knows how to make their car good on race day.
THE BAD – Hildebrand can't fall victim to the narrative of “choker” which some unfairly placed on him last year. He's smart enough to have used that as a learning opportunity, taking it in stride and realizing there was nothing that could be changed. So long as it doesn't get in his head, he should be fine.
19. TAKUMA SATO
THE GOOD – Speed has been great the first four races this year, and while he hasn't lit it up this month, his team is always adept at calling great strategies.
THE BAD – Two disappointing prior Indy 500s with a 20th and first out last year means Sato has to find for this race what he's working on for the rest: consistency.
20. TOWNSEND BELL
THE GOOD – One of the best Indy one-offers, Bell has found a way to stay relatively in contention over the years, with a pair of top-10 finishes to his record.
THE BAD – Bell's SSM team has struggled for speed this month, and Bell himself needed an IV on Sunday as he admitted he was worn out. Neither of those factors inspires much confidence on race day.
21. JUSTIN WILSON
THE GOOD – Seems to have found a balanced setup for ovals, and is smart and heady enough to keep his car in one piece over 500 miles.
THE BAD – Has never had a genuinely competitive, front-running car at Indy and will likely need strategy to move up the order.
22. MICHEL JOURDAIN JR.
THE GOOD – Bruno Couprie's engineering, Rahal Letterman Lanigan strategy and a great attitude. Has the potential to surprise with those factors supporting him. Lest we forget, Bertrand Baguette nearly stole this thing for RLL a year ago.
THE BAD – Unfortunately, 16 years is 16 years – and the gap between the two is Jourdain's biggest hindrance to a successful Indy 500.
23. SIMON PAGENAUD
THE GOOD – Pagenaud's ability to drive the wheels off any car he races will help him in his first "500," and team manager Rob Edwards is a benefit on the pit stand. His prior experience of running in sports cars should help his ability in traffic, either when passing or being passed.
THE BAD – Like Bell, Pagenaud's struggled for speed, and should focus on getting through 500 miles cleanly rather than pushing to exceed his limits on his first oval start.
24. SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA
THE GOOD – Like fellow Andretti one-offer Beatriz, Saavedra has nothing to lose and everything to gain from a strong run.
THE BAD – Two wrecks (one in qualifying, one in the race) in his debut "500" and failing to qualify last year can't have inspired too much confidence in the 21-year-old. But making the field at the gun on Saturday had to give him a little boost (no pun intended).