Last year, Tomas Scheckter came tantalisingly close to winning the historic Indy 500 at his first attempt. On Sunday, the 22-year old will have a second chance, but his team-mate could provide stiff opposition.

Last year, Tomas Scheckter came tantalisingly close to winning the historic Indy 500 at his first attempt. On Sunday, the 22-year old will have a second chance, but his team-mate could provide stiff opposition.

The 22-year-old Capetonian became the first South African to compete in the historic race at the Indianapolis Speedway when he started from tenth position on the grid last year. He was on course for victory when he crashed out of the 200-lap race with only 27 laps to go.

Scheckter, driving a Cheever Racing Dallara Infiniti Firestone, led a total of 85 laps during the race (laps 33 to 63, 92 to 120, 132 to 149 and 166 to 172). He set the fastest tour of the race on lap 20 with an average speed of 364,436 km/h (39,7353 seconds), but the young South African’s dream of winning the Indy 500 on début was not to be.

This year, the South African will start his second Indy 500 from twelfth position. Now driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in a Panoz G Force Toyota, Scheckter has more experience than he had 12 months ago and he is understood to be much happier at Team Target than he was at Eddie Cheever’s team.

During the traditional two-hour Carburetion Day final practice session on Thursday, Scheckter was ninth fastest. He did 24 laps and recorded a best lap speed of 364,287 km/h.

"I'm happy with our day," Scheckter said. "We tried some different things and learned quite a bit in a short amount of time. I think we are in pretty good shape for the race."

But the man who recently set the fastest practice lap at Indianapolis, Scheckter’s on-form team-mate Scott Dixon, was fifth fastest and could be one of the favourites to win this year’s race at The Brickyard.

The New Zealander, who is also known as “Thunder from Down Under” will start the race from fourth position.

He said his car "was pretty good today. We just wanted to go out and get everything checked out for the race. It's a consistent car and I think that's what we'll need."

Original article from Car