For motorsport fans, Memorial Day Weekend is full of racing. Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 are a few that come to mind, but none are bigger than IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 1911 International 500-mile Sweepstakes Race was the inaugural Indianapolis 500 — a race that will now take place for the 107th time Sunday. The 1917 and 1918 iterations of the race never happened because of World War I, alongside the 1942 through 1945 races not being held due to World War II.
During qualifications last Sunday, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou set the record for the fastest pole speed with his four-lap average of 234.217 mph. Not only did he win the pole for Sunday, but Palou is also coming off a dominating victory in the GMR Grand Prix May 13.
Chip Ganassi Racing commanded last year’s Indy 500, but an untimely caution took Palou out of contention before the halfway point. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon dominated alongside Palou but was assessed a pit-road speeding penalty during his final pit stop, costing him the victory as he looked to be well on his way to his second Indy 500 win.
Going into this year’s race, Chip Ganassi Racing has dominated the Month of May just as they did last year. Arrow McLaren impressed as well, with their four drivers having a stellar month of on-track activity before race day.
Storylines and personal thoughts:
Headed into the Indianapolis 500, there are a few drivers that I believe are strong contenders and may end up in victory lane, earning the right to have their face on the Borg-Warner Trophy when it’s all said and done come Sunday evening.
Chip Ganassi Racing
They’ve been at the top of the speed charts the whole month and have four drivers who I believe are capable of winning this year. Takuma Sato is looking for his third Indy 500 victory with wins in 2017 and 2020, while Scott Dixon and defending winner Marcus Ericsson are both looking for their second Indy 500 victories. Although Alex Palou has yet to win the season’s most important race, starting from the pole position will be helpful this year.
A.J. Foyt Enterprises’ Santino Ferrucci
Although the team’s namesake A.J. Foyt was the first driver to win four Indianapolis 500s, his team has struggled throughout the past decade at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
This year has been different, as Benjamin Pederson qualified in the 11th position and Santino Ferrucci in the fourth position. Throughout the month, both drivers have been around the top of the speed charts and with Ferrucci's outstanding track record in the Indy 500, he could be one driver fighting for the win.
Much like Chip Ganassi Racing, Arrow McLaren has also had each of its drivers at the top of the speed charts. In 2022, Pato O’Ward finished second behind Ericsson but will look to win his first Indy 500 Sunday, just as Felix Rosenqvist is also looking for his first.
For his final Indianapolis 500, fan-favorite Tony Kanaan is in the No. 66 Chevrolet for Arrow McLaren. With Kanaan’s only victory so far being in the Indy 500, he will look to go out on top as he will retire after Sunday’s race. 2016 winner Alexander Rossi has also had an impressive month with his new team and will surely be a force Sunday.
You can’t leave the four-time winner out of it. Castroneves won his fourth Indy 500 in 2021 and will look to break his tie with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears for the most Indianapolis 500 victories. Although Helio has struggled mightily this season, he will be there at the end of the race contending for a victory.
Longshot: Ryan Hunter-Reay
After not racing in 2022’s Indy 500, 2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay is back for another Indianapolis 500 — this time with Dreyer-Reinbold Racing. Although Sunday will be his only race of the season, Hunter-Reay could sneak into contention for his second victory.
My pick to win the 107th Indianapolis 500: Scott Dixon
I think it is finally the year that Scott Dixon gets over the hump. Although he won 15 years ago in 2008, Dixon has had countless close calls since then. Dixon will finally get it done Sunday for his second Indy 500 victory.
The 33 drivers will take the green flag to begin the 107th Indianapolis 500 at 12:45 p.m., which will be televised on NBC. For those located in the area of Indianapolis and Lafayette, the race will be blacked out on NBC and Peacock.