107th Indianapolis 500
Location: Speedway, Ind.
Course: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Course Length: 2.5 miles
Indianapolis 500 Race Preview
The 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 is set to get underway this weekend with the fastest front row in the history of the great race leading the field to the green flag. Chip Ganassi Racing's Alex Palou earned his first Indy 500 pole with the fastest four-lap average speed for a pole position in the famous race ever. His mark of 234.217 mph eclipsed the previous fastest pole of Scott Dixon set just a year prior. Arie Luyendyk's all-time qualifying record from 1996 of 236.986 mph remains the only four-lap qualifying average faster than Palou's, but Luyendyk's was not for pole. In fact, the 33-car field for Sunday's "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" is the fastest field the race has ever seen. The average qualifying pace of 232.184 mph is more than a mile an hour faster than the previous best, which again was set last year. Not only is the 2023 field fast, but it also competitive. The three front-row starters turned the closest average speeds in the history of the race and were separated by a mere 0.103 mph.
The 33-driver field for Sunday's 500-mile race features nine former Indy 500 winners along with four race rookies. While a Honda-powered car captured the pole, Chevrolet took four of the top six starting spots. Honda started the month of May off on a promising note notching a number of fastest practice laps, but when qualifying weekend arrived Chevrolet flexed their muscle. Additionally, a few Honda cars did experience some blips of reliability issues. Just one accident occurred throughout the preparations, but the incident was enough to rule Stefan Wilson out of the race with fractured vertebrae. Graham Rahal was due to miss the race after being the slowest of the 34 entered cars, but Wilson's injury enables Rahal to step in and start the race as a substitute for the injured Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver.
Key Stats at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- Races: 106
- Winners from pole: 21
- Winners from top-5 starters: 60
- Winners from top-10 starters: 76
- Winners starting outside of the top-20: 7
- Fastest Race: 190.690 mph
Previous Indy 500 Winners
2022- Marcus Ericsson
2021 - Helio Castroneves
2020 - Takuma Sato
2019 - Simon Pagenaud
2018 - Will Power
2017 - Takuma Sato
2016 - Alexander Rossi
2015 - Juan Pablo Montoya
2014 - Ryan Hunter-Reay
2013 - Tony Kanaan
The Indy 500 is IndyCar's biggest race of the season, and one of the most grueling. The fast 500-mile distance demands maximum concentration and performance from both driver and machine. The race often comes down to who has the best strategy, and fuel is a bigger factor than tires. Drivers and teams work for 450 miles to put themselves in the best position to race the final 50 miles. As the laps wind down, those drivers that made the best adjustments to their cars throughout the afternoon and have enough fuel to push their car to the maximum will be in the best position to challenge for the victory. As evidence of that trend, the last two race winners were decided within the last 15 laps, the last three within the final 20. The long race requires five or more pit stops to get a car to the finish, and any wrong adjustment or mistake on those stops will ruin a driver's chances of winning. The speeds are so high and the competition is so tight that there is virtually no room for error. Drivers and teams will need to be on their toes, be mistake free, and at their best to capture this race's life-changing victory and to be forever known as an Indy 500 champion.
Betting Value Picks for the Indy 500
Tier 1 Values
Tier 2 Values
Tier 3 Values
Betting Picks for the Indy 500
Since strategy is such a big component of winning at Indy, those drivers that post the headline speeds in practice and qualifying aren't often the ones that win. Like its unique four-lap qualifying format, consistency can often beat outright speed. Don't be misled, though. The winner must be fast, but they don't always have to be the fastest over a single lap. For this reason I'm highlighting Patricio O'Ward and Takuma Sato. Both drivers were among qualifying's fastest 12 drivers. O'Ward has been consistently quick throughout the past few weeks, usually within the top six, and he will start Sunday's race fifth. The entire Arrow McLaren organization has performed well in preparation with all its cars among the best every day on track. O'Ward's consistency and focus on race performance might be his differentiating factor, though. Additionally, Takuma Sato is a two-time Indy 500 winner that has joined one of the best teams in the speedway's history in Chip Ganassi Racing. Sato has earned the top prize twice with less resources backing him. It would not be a surprise to see him win a third.
Other drivers to look out for include Scott Dixon and Santino Ferrucci. Dixon is a veteran, former winner, and one of the most successful drivers in IndyCar. His experience and approach to this race should confidently put him among the top-five finishers. Alternatively, Ferrucci has drawn attention with his A.J. Foyt Enterprises team. After some nice investment in the team's program during the winter Ferrucci has shown the results on track. He qualified fourth, but was the fastest qualifier ahead of the final run for pole. Ferrucci has never finished the Indy 500 lower than 10th and this year's qualifying effort gives him his his best ever starting spot for the race.
Prop Betting Picks for the Indy 500
First-time Winner - Yes -185, No +140
Winning Manufacturer - Honda -130, Chevrolet even
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Indy 500 in particular, have a habit of selecting its winners very carefully. Only four drivers have ever won the race four times, and no one has yet won five. Helio Castroneves is the only driver that could make that history this week. With nine former winners in this year's field the odds of a first-time winner are a little more attractive, though. A win from our pick of O'Ward would make him a first-time winner, and the only former winner starting in the first two rows is Scott Dixon. For these reasons betting on a first-time winner makes sense.
Consistency and reliability is key at Indy. While Honda made the headlines early in practice, it was Chevrolet that got the upper hand in qualifying. Chevrolet also didn't have the reliability issues that some Honda drivers experienced. The manufacturers are fairly evenly matched, though. I would lean toward Chevrolet considering those circumstances, but that isn't a clear favorite since Honda powers some of the best driver/strategist combinations in the field.