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Honda Performance Development granted the team’s and delivered the race day engine to use throughout qualifying weekend. With his frustrated run to 30th in the field of 33, we can assume a lack of horsepower with the old engine wasn’t the problem. And we can also infer that with a first glimpse at what the newest motor produced, Rahal didn’t leap forward to more competitive speeds.

After all the practice and qualifying laps have been turned at Indy since the new turbo formula landed in 2012, we’ve been left with one question to ask ahead of the race: Will Chevy or Honda unleash something more powerful for the race when its latest and greatest engines bolt into their cars?

For those who aren’t interest in the Chevy vs. Honda angle, the good news is Monday’s long practice session showed that both brands appear to be in the same zip code in race trim. Sage Karam’s Dryer & Reinbold Racing Chevy got a monster tow — he admitted as such — to lead the field with a 226.461mph lap, and that was well beyond the 225.123mph lap Tony Kanaan turned in his AJ Foyt Racing Chevy at the end of the session.

If we ignore Karam’s outlier lap, Kanaan’s 225.123mph lap wasn’t too far ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay in third with his Andretti Autosport Honda at 224.820mph. The top 10 was an equal split of five and five for the engine manufacturers and covered the gamut from rookie teams (Carlin Racing’s Charlie Kimball in fourth with his Chevy) to rookie drivers (Dale Coyne Racing’s Zachary Claman De Melo in ninth with his Honda).

DRR, Foyt, Andretti, Carlin, Coyne, plus Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing were represented. We’ll see what Carb Day tells us when everyone is on fresh race motors, but at first glance, it’s looks like a lot of teams will have a chance to do something memorable this year. BIG DEALS FOR THE LITTLE GUYS

The aforementioned Carlin Racing team is performing well beyond its experience level. Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser has been fast and sharp as a rookie. James Davison and his tight-knit satellite A.J. Foyt with Byrd/Hollinger/Belardi Racing is looking like a spoiler. SPM’s Jay Howard has been impressive throughout the month. Coyne’s Claman De Melo was the second-fastest rookie and has the look of a veteran. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot is as all-American as they come, was produced by Mazda’s Road to Indy, and will roll off on the second row.

• JR Hildebrand in 27th with his DRR Chevy and Graham Rahal in 30th with his RLL Honda fall in a similar camp of skilled Indy 500 racers whose starting positions aren’t representative of where they normally qualify. Rahal, the best passer in IndyCar, wearing an Evel Knievel-inspired race suit ( pictured above), will be electric if the speed gods bless his ride.

• So, the inevitable closing question: Who will win the race? Considering the crazy variables at play with the new aero kits, it’s almost meaningless to make predictions at this point, but I’ll go way out on a limb and pick the French Fry to my Hamburger, Sebastien Bourdais. Sunday will be as much of a chassis tuning battle as it will be a wheel-to-wheel race, and when you take Seb’s refined feel for what the car needs, engineer Craig Hampson’s supreme ability to adjust a car throughout a race, and Bourdais’ heightened sensitivity to taking unnecessary risks, that sounds like the perfect combination this year, with all the aforementioned issues to deal with. But can he get it done without a Chevy?