Just one glance at the list of all-time winners of the Indianapolis 500 (Live on Sunday at 11 AM EST on ESPN on ABC) and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize the significance and importance of capturing the checkered flag at the famed speedway.
From the inaugural race winner Ray Harroun in 1911 to Dario Franchitti's victory last year, every racer and team personnel that's been a part of this event's storied history knows how critical and important the 500-mile race is on the resume.
Most of its race winners are open wheel aces like Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, and Rick Mears, who've compiled Motorsports Hall of Fame numbers which include wins at this facility.
Today's racers come from diverse backgrounds from all over the world, having climbed up the racing ladder with one goal in mind: to be a future Indianapolis 500 race winner.
Sure, the favorites have remained constants at Indy, such as Penske and Ganassi, who have combined to win 18 races in the past 39 years.
Talk about domination - it's safe to assume that any racers with these racing teams have a fair to excellent shot at winning Sunday's crown jewel event for the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Penske's arsenal of Will Power, Helio Castroneves, and Ryan Briscoe all have a great chance to capture eternal glory, although Briscoe has a long ways to go if he's going to challenge for the win late in the going on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Chip Ganassi's one-two punch in Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti are solid contenders who will surely have the power and determination to will their way to the lead pack after their qualifying gaffes.
Rest assured, after missing out on the pole due to a fuel miscalculation last weekend, these two perennial IndyCar stars will wisely plan their way to the lead.
Then there's the potential for a spoiler to make Indy history in their own regard, such as pole sitter Alex Tagliani, driver of the No. 77 Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry.
Just last winter, his original FAZZT team was essentially acquired by the Sam Schmidt team and it appears as if this union is clicking on all cylidners, with the best seat in the track: the front of the field.
Can Tagliani and his team stay out of trouble and avoid the simple mistakes that so often cost many a racer from winning the Indy 500?
Or how about Oriol Servia, who's representing the Newman-Haas Racing efforts from the third starting position? He's never won an IZOD IndyCar race but that could all change rather easily with smart strategy and driving by the 36-year-old Catalonia, Spain native and his team.
Then there's a group of racers who've got their work cut out for them on Sunday, including John Andretti, who starts 17th in the middle of row six, Tony Kanaan in 22nd, Paul Tracy in 24th, Danica Patrick (25th), and Paul Tracy (27th), who are all proven open wheel racers.
Although they lacked speed during qualifying rounds, these racers have what it takes to get around the Brickyard and to make their way up to the front as spoilers for the win or scoring a respectable finish after a hard day's work from the driver's seat.
Whoever you're cheering for this Sunday afternoon, it's sure to be a special and memorable Indy 500 for race fans at the Speedway, IN venue and those watching the race from their living rooms across the world.
Yes, it may not be the 100th running of the 500 but considering that it's the centennial anniversary of the first and most premier oval race in the world, this is one race you simply cannot miss!