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Nine champions chase another Borg-Warner Trophy

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — It’s being considered the toughest field in history.

Nine former winners will drive in the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday. That’s the second most in Indy 500 history — the record being set in 1992 with 10 former champions.

“Every year it gets more and more competitive, right?” said Alexander Rossi, who won in 2016. “We saw the fastest field in Indy 500 history last weekend. The closest front row in Indy 500 history. It’s hard to win these races. It’s hard to start up front.”

“Fields extremely deep,” said Will Power, the 2018 winner. “There’s so many guys that can win. So many really good teams. You have more of a chance with a repeat winner with nine winners in there. It’s a pretty good era for IndyCar.”

Helio Castroneves was the last driver to win back to back, winning in 2001 and 2002, but that was 21 years ago. Defending champion Marcus Ericsson is ready to change that.

“I mean it’s about time, right? It’s about time!” Ericsson said on Media Day. “It’s going to be tough. It’s a very stacked field this year. So many cars and drivers, but I do feel like us as a team, we’ve been very strong again this month.”

Ericsson gained a lot of confidence after winning “the greatest spectacle in racing last year.”

“I don’t need to prove anything. I have the confidence, and I know what I need to do to win again,” Ericsson said. “I feel its only positive pressure that I have, that I can do it again. I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get out on race day, and just go out and perform.”

“It’s playing a game. It’s tactical. It’s very tactical, and you have to have a big overview of the game as you play it,” 2019 champion Simon Pagenaud said. “To me, those are doors that I did not open in the past, and now I feel I’m in a different spot, and all that experience is helping me to take advantage of that experience.”

While most fight for their second win, Castroneves has a chance at a historic fifth.

“I don’t feel any pressure, but I tell you, if it happens, pressure gets the best out of me at this place, and I really enjoy it,” Castroneves said. “I feel strong. I feel great. I do know the team that I have. We’ve done it before. We have all these components helping you or in your favor, that helps you to go moving forward. Just have to be patient and make less mistakes than anybody.”

The race is on.