Thursday, May 25, 2023

Track Walk: 107th Indianapolis 500

The sixth round of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season is the 107th Indianapolis 500. For the second consecutive year, the record for fastest starting grid was set. Along with the fastest field, the fastest pole position average was set and we also saw the fastest front row in the history of the event. Chevrolet has the upper-hand in participants this year, 17 entries to Honda's 16. It is the first time Chevrolet has the most representatives since 2020. For the third consecutive year, there are at least 14 nationalities represented on the grid, no new ones, but one is returning for the first time in 83 years. Four rookies are in the field with nine past winners, the fourth time there are at least nine past winners in an Indianapolis 500. For the second consecutive year, a fifth Indianapolis 500 victory is in play.

Time: Peacock will begin the pre-race coverage at 9:00 a.m. ET. NBC's pre-race coverage begins at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday May 29.
TV Channel: NBC/Peacock
Announcers: Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe will be in the booth. Kevin Lee, Dillon Welch, Dave Burns and Marty Snider will work pit lane. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Steve Letarte will provide additional pit lane coverage. Mike Tirico and Danica Patrick will participate in pre-race and post-race coverage.

Indianapolis 500 Weekend Schedule
Carb Day:
Practice - 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. ET (2 hours). 
Pit Stop Competition - 2:30 p.m. ET
Race - 12:45 p.m. ET (200 laps).

Driver Change
Since the conclusion of qualifying Sunday evening there has been a change to the starting grid. 

Stefan Wilson suffered a fractured vertebra after being in an accident with Katherine Legge during the Monday practice. Due to Wilson's injury, Graham Rahal will drive the #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet in the 107th Indianapolis 500. 

Rahal failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 last Sunday in his #15 United Rentals Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing after teammate Jack Harvey bumped Rahal out of the field on the final qualifying attempt in the last chance qualifying round. 

Rahal has started 15 Indianapolis 500s and he has started 263 IndyCar races, 210 of which have been consecutive. Rahal has driven for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing since the start of the 2013 season after spending two seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will be the fourth team Rahal has driven for in the Indianapolis 500. His first two "500" starts were with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing in 2008 and 2009. 

In 15 Indianapolis 500 starts, Rahal has finished third twice, fifth once and he has four top ten finishes. He has finished outside the top 30 four times, including 32nd two years ago and he has twice finished 33rd. 

Due to the driver change, Rahal will start 33rd. Wilson had qualified 25th. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has had a top ten finisher in the last two Indianapolis 500s. The team has never had a top ten finish in three consecutive Indianapolis 500s. Dreyer & Reinbold also has Ryan Hunter-Reay driving its #23 entry at Indianapolis. Hunter-Reay will start 18th.

This would have been Stefan Wilson's fifth Indianapolis 500 start, and his first with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Wilson had finished 33rd and 27th the previous two years. His best finish was 15th in 2018.

Palou vs. O'Ward
Through the first five races of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season, two familiar but young faces have been flexing their muscle and have controlled the championship early on.

After his victory in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Álex Palou assumed the championship lead from Patricio O'Ward. Palou is up six points on O'Ward as Palou victory was his fourth consecutive top five finish, and he has finished in the top eight of every race this season. 

O'Ward has been close in 2023, three runner-up finishes with a fourth at Barber and the only blemish through five races is 17th at Long Beach after the Mexican driver had a spin in turn eight. O'Ward led the championship after the second race of the season at Texas. O'Ward is the first driver with three runner-up results within the first five races since Scott Dixon did it in 2019. 

In Indianapolis 500 qualifying, Palou ran a four-lap average at 234.217 mph to take pole position after McLaren and Chevrolet had been on top for most of the two qualifying days. O'Ward wound up fifth on the grid at 233.158 mph. 

These two drivers went toe-to-toe for the IndyCar championship in 2021. O'Ward was leading the championship entering the final three races. He was in good control of the championship at Portland after Palou was shuffled back after missing the chicane at the start and O'Ward led the way, but timing of the cautions and tire wear saw O'Ward fall backward while Palou recovered, pulled out the victory and snatched back the championship lead by 25 points entering the final two races. 

Palou went on to win the championship while O'Ward retired due to a mechanical failure in the Long Beach season finale. 

Not only have these two been at it for the championship, but the have battled at Indianapolis as well.

In 2021, Palou started sixth at Indianapolis while O'Ward started 12th. Both led during the race with Palou leading the second most laps, 35 in total, and he was leading coming to the start of the antepenultimate lap before Hélio Castroneves made the race-winning move into turn one. O'Ward had spent a good portion of the race in the top five and led 17 laps of his own, finishing fourth.

Last year, Palou led 47 laps from second on the grid, but needing emergency service under a caution due to low fuel took the Spaniard out of contention. O'Ward started seventh and again spent much of the race in the top five, running behind Scott Dixon for a good portion in the second half of the race. When Dixon sped entering pit lane on his final stop, O'Ward inherited the lead but was soon passed after Marcus Ericsson chased down the McLaren driver after the pit cycle. O'Ward remained second when the penultimate caution and red flag came out. Despite one look on the restart, O'Ward was unable to re-take the lead and ended up second while Palou recovered to finish ninth. 

In the last two Indianapolis 500s, Palou had led the second most laps (82) behind only his teammate Chip Ganassi Racing Scott Dixon, who has led 102 of the last 400 laps. O'Ward has led 43 laps, the fourth most behind the two Ganassi drivers and Conor Daly's 47 laps led. The only other driver to lead in both the last two races is Rinus VeeKay, who has led 33 times.

O'Ward has made 60 starts, winning four times while standing on 16 podiums and finishing in the top five 27 times with 36 top ten results. Palou has won and stood on the podium one more time than O'Ward in eight fewer starts but Palou has 21 top five finishes and 33 top ten finishes. O'Ward has led 601 laps to Palou's 389 laps led. 

"500" Winners' Form
Palou and O'Ward each enter the Indianapolis 500 with multiple top five finishes this season, and 40 of the last 57 Indianapolis 500 winners have had at least one top five finish in the races leading up to the Indianapolis 500 that season. 

Last year, Marcus Ericsson had two top five finishes, including a fourth in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the race prior to the "500." However, the two winners before Ericsson did not have a top five finish. 

For Hélio Castroneves, the 2021 Indianapolis 500 was his first start of the season, and while Takuma Sato did not have a top five in the races leading up to the 2020 Indianapolis 500, Sato entered Indianapolis with four top ten results in his previous five starts. Forty-six of the last 57 Indianapolis 500 winners had at least one top ten finish that season prior to Indianapolis.

Fifteen drivers have a top five finish through the first five races of the 2023 season.

Eighteen of the last 57 Indianapolis 500 winners already had a victory that season prior to winning the "500." The good news for Palou is eight of those winners had won the race prior to the Indianapolis 500, including Will Power in 2018 and Simon Pagenaud in 2019, two drivers who had won the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and then won on the oval. 

Four of the last nine Indianapolis 500 winners had a victory before Memorial Day weekend. Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2014 and Juan Pablo Montoya 2015 are the others. Montoya is the most recent driver to win the season opener and then win the Indianapolis 500. Hunter-Reay is the most recent driver to finish second in the race prior to Indianapolis and then win the "500." Hunter-Reay is also the only driver to win at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis 500 in the same season.

Only twice has the Grand Prix of Long Beach winner gone on to win the Indianapolis 500 in the same season (Al Unser, Jr. 1994, Hélio Castroneves 2001). The most recent time an Indianapolis 500 winner had won at an oval prior to Indianapolis was Scott Dixon in 2008 when Dixon won the Homestead season opener.

The good news is bad races do not mean you are necessarily out of the running for victory. Six of the previous seven Indianapolis 500 winners had a result outside the top fifteen in the races prior to the "500." Three of the last five winners had a result outside the top twenty, including Ericsson last year, who was 22nd at Long Beach. Will Power had two finishes outside the top twenty in 2018 prior to his victory. 

However, while one or two bad results have not been a hinderance, most Indianapolis 500 winners have at least been having a good season up to that point. Excluding part-time drivers that won the Indianapolis 500 (Dan Wheldon in 2011 and Castroneves in 2021), there has not been an Indianapolis 500 winner without a top ten finish that season since Kenny Bräck in 1999 when Bräck was 22nd in the World Disney World season opener and 24th at Phoenix.

Eight full-time drivers do not have a top ten finish this season, along with Ed Carpenter and Takuma Sato, who both ran at Texas. Three of those drivers are starting in the first 12 starting positions with Rinus VeeKay leading the way, second on the grid, Santino Ferrucci starts fourth and Benjamin Pedersen is 11th. 

Ericsson's $420,000 Incentive
Since 1995, BorgWarner has offered a $20,000 bonus for a driver if he or she were to win consecutive Indianapolis 500s. However, since no driver has gone back-to-back since Hélio Castroneves in 2001 and 2002, the $20,000 prize has rolled over for 21 years and now the bonus is worth $420,000 and it is only available to Marcus Ericsson. 

How have previous "500" winners fared? 

Well, Castroneves could have won a second consecutive $20,000 bonus in 2003, but he was second to Team Penske teammate Gil de Ferran. De Ferran retired from IndyCar at the end of the 2003 season so de Ferran did not go for the prize in 2004. Buddy Rice was hurt in practice for the 2005 race meaning for two consecutive years the prize would go uncontested.

Dan Wheldon had a shot at $80,000 in 2006 and Wheldon led 148 laps, but the pit cycle for the final stops combined with Felipe Giaffone having an accident shuffled Wheldon out of the lead and he settled for fourth while Sam Hornish, Jr. beat Marco Andretti on a last lap pass. 

Hornish had four consecutive top ten finishing entering Indianapolis in 2007, and he started fifth, but he never led a lap and finished fourth in the rain-shortened race. Dario Franchitti won that race, but went to NASCAR in 2008, meaning Scott Dixon was going for $140,000 in 2009. 

Like Hornish, Dixon started fifth, but Dixon led 73 laps only for Castroneves to pass him on the restart with around 60 laps remaining. Castroneves had $160,000 on the line as he went for his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in 2010. Castroneves started on pole position but Franchitti took the lead immediately at the start and led 155 of 200 laps. 

Franchitti's first chance at the prize would be for $180,000 in 2011. He led 51 laps, the second most in that race only behind his Ganassi teammate Dixon, but needing a late splash for fuel, Franchitti finished 12th as Wheldon won for the second time. With Wheldon's death at the end of the 2011 season at Las Vegas, the $200,000 prize would go uncontested in 2012. Franchitti would have a shot at $220,000 in 2013, but had an accident late in the race, though he was never really in contention for victory that year. 

Tony Kanaan went for $240,000 in 2014, but Kanaan ran out of fuel after 66 laps and lost multiple laps after needing a starter replace. Ryan Hunter-Reay struggled with the Honda aero kit in 2015, and Juan Pablo Montoya was the first car out in the 2016 race after an accident in turn two. 

Fresh off winning the 100th Indianapolis 500, Alexander Rossi had a $300,000 bonus on the line in 2017. Rossi led 23 laps, but was shuffled backward during the pit cycles and a few cautions caught out the American, relegating him to seventh. Takuma Sato collided with James Davison after only 47 laps in the 2018 race, costing Sato a shot at $320,000. Will Power spent a good portion of the 2019 race in the top ten, but had nothing for Simon Pagenaud and Rossi in the closing stages with Pagenaud taking victory. 

Pagenaud qualified 25th for the 2020 race and finished two laps down in 22nd. Sato had a chance at $380,000 in 2021, but his only hope relied on going off strategy hoping for a late caution. It did not happen and Sato finished 14th. 

Last year, Castroneves was going for $400,000 if he could pick up his fifth Indianapolis 500 victory the year after he won his fourth "500." The Brazilian started 27th, but moved forward, coming up six spots short of history and the bonus, finishing seventh. 

Since Castroneves won $160,000 for his second consecutive "500" victory in 2002, there have been 16 attempts at someone claiming this bonus. In those 16 attempts, the defending Indianapolis 500 winner has an average finish of 13.81 with four top five finishes, eight top ten finishes and five finishes outside the top twenty. 

We have not seen the defending Indianapolis 500 winner finish in the top ten in consecutive races since 2009 and 2010. The defending Indianapolis 500 winner has not finished in the top five in consecutive years since 2006 and 2007. 

Marcus Ericsson enters this year's Indianapolis 500 with six consecutive top ten finishes dating back to last season. Ericsson has not finished in the top five on an oval since his Indianapolis 500 victory last year.

Who is in Ericsson's Shoes This Year?
While Ericsson has the opportunity to win an additional $420,000 this year, last year the Swede was the sleeper, though a popular one at that. He had spent much of practice at the top of the speed chart and qualified fifth. Though he had shown promise, he was still regularly only the third fastest Ganassi entry in any session. Yet, when the team needed him to step up, Ericsson took command and won Chip Ganassi Racing its first Indianapolis 500 since 2012. 

One year later, who is in a similar position to where Ericsson was?

Last year, Ericsson had the third best average practice position in the weekend leading up to qualifying. His average practice result was fifth and he qualified fifth. In the Monday post-qualifying practice, Ericsson was fifth fastest. 

The two other obvious choices are on the front row. 

This is the fourth consecutive year Rinus VeeKay will start in the top four for the Indianapolis 500. VeeKay has yet to finish in the top five, but he had the third fastest car in Friday pre-qualifying practice. Felix Rosenqvist would do something impressive if he were to win the Indianapolis 500. At no point during practice week was Rosenqvist ranked in the top ten overall.

Since 2012, only three times has an Indianapolis 500 winner not been ranked in the top five at all in any of the pre-qualifying practice sessions. During that time every Indianapolis 500 winner was at least ranked in the top ten once at the end of those practice sessions. The best Rosenqvist was ranked during practice week was 11th. 

Alexander Rossi hasn't quite popped up as the man to beat, but Rossi has shown he is one you should keep an eye on. Rossi had the second quickest qualifying run during Saturday qualifying, second only to Rosenqvist. Rossi was a spot short of making the Fast Six, slotting into seventh on the grid. The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner has four top five finishes and five top ten finishes in seventh Indianapolis 500 starts. Like Rosenqvist, the practice results were not world-beating for Rossi. The American was 19th, tenth and 16th over the three pre-qualifying practice days. 

Santino Ferrucci had the fifth-best average overall practice position at the end of practice week. Ferrucci was ranked third, 11th and seventh over the three practice days, an average of seventh. Ferrucci has finished in the top ten in all four of his Indianapolis 500 starts. Only two drivers have had five consecutive top ten finishes to start an Indianapolis 500 career: Harry Hartz and Hélio Castroneves. Ferrucci's average finish is 6.75. 

The other driver who could be in Ericsson's shoes is Ericsson himself. Starting tenth, Ericsson had the second best average overall practice position. He was seventh, first and fourth, averaging fourth and behind only Takuma Sato, who went first, seventh, first and had an average of third. Sato will start eighth. 

While Ericsson and Sato have already topped practice, only once since 2012 has an Indianapolis 500 winner topped a pre-qualifying practice session in the year he won. That was Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2014.

Tony Kanaan
We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge Tony Kanaan this year at the Indianapolis 500. This will be Kanaan's 22nd Indianapolis 500 start, and the intention is this will be the final time Kanaan contests this race. 

Debuting in 2002 with Mo Nunn Racing, Kanaan had already been competing for four years in CART before he made his Indianapolis 500 debut. The Brazilian had one victory to his name. It came in the 1999 Michigan 500 when Kanaan seized an opportunity after Max Papis ran out of fuel on the final lap and Kanaan fended off a charging Juan Pablo Montoya at the line. His best championship finish at that time was ninth.

Kanaan qualified fifth for his Indianapolis 500 debut, between Felipe Giaffone and Eddie Cheever. Kanaan was the top qualifying rookie and his first lap led at the Speedway was lap 64. He led 23 laps before spinning after hitting oil on the track while in first. He would quickly be back at the front, finishing third in 2003 and second in 2004. His pole position in 2005 was the fourth of eight consecutive years Kanaan started on one of the front two rows. While he started at the front, victory was harder to claim. 

In 2010, Kanaan nearly missed the race altogether when he had an accident on Pole Day and another in practice the morning of Bump Day. He did not complete a qualifying run until 5:23 p.m. local time, placing him 30th. He would be knocked down to 32nd but made the race. Returning back to the primary car meant Kanaan would start 33rd.

After eight years with Andretti Autosport, Kanaan made his first start with KV Racing Technology in 2011. He was fourth. The following year, he was third. In his 12th Indianapolis 500, Kanaan started 12th. Again, he found himself at the front and in the closing laps he made an aggressive restart to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay into turn one and soon after the final caution came out to end the race, giving Kanaan a long-awaited victory. 

Since his victory, Kanaan has made six Indianapolis appearances with Chip Ganassi Racing and three with A.J. Foyt Racing. He has since finished in the top five three more times with another two top ten results. This year will be his first Indianapolis 500 with McLaren.

Kanaan is one of 11 drivers with at least 20 Indianapolis 500 starts. He has led in 15 of his 21 starts. Scott Dixon is tied with him for most Indianapolis 500s led. Kanaan's 352 laps led ranks 14th all-time. He has completed 3,751 laps, fourth-most in an Indianapolis 500 career.

Outside of the Indianapolis 500, Kanaan has made 388 IndyCar starts, second all-time. His 17 victories have him tied for 26th all-time with Jimmy Murphy and Danny Sullivan. He won the 2004 Indy Racing League championship, and that season Kanaan completed all 3,305 laps run, the first driver to ever complete every lap in a season. 

Chevrolet vs. Honda
Entering 2023, Honda has won three consecutive Indianapolis 500s. Not only is this Honda's longest streak since engine competition returned in 2012, it is the longest streak of any of the manufacturers during that time. Honda is attempting to become the first manufacturer to win four consecutive Indianapolis 500s with engine competition since Oldsmobile won five consecutive from 1997 through 2001.

During qualifying, Chevrolet appeared to be the make in control. The American manufacturer took eight of the Fast 12 spots with four teams represented in that contingent. It had the fastest two qualifying run at the end of Saturday. Six of the eight Chevrolet teams broke 233 mph averages on Saturday. Outside of the top 12, Chevrolet took five of the next six spots. Everything was looking to be in Chevrolet's favor for its first pole position since 2019. 

Instead, Álex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing and Honda squeaked out pole position with an average at 234.217 mph. 

The Chevrolet teams are there. Rinus VeeKay, Felix Rosenqvist, Santino Ferrucci and Patricio O'Ward took the next four spots on the grid. Alexander Rossi and Tony Kanaan will flank row three with Benjamin Pedersen and Will Power rounding out the top 12. 

Since returning to IndyCar in 2012, every year Chevrolet won the Indianapolis 500 it had a Chevrolet starting on pole position. In those four Indianapolis 500s, Chevrolet took 13 of 20 possible top five finishing positions. In two of those years, Chevrolet swept the top four. Chevrolet drivers led a combined 687 of a possible 800 laps in those four races. In all four races, Chevrolet drivers combined to lead at least 150 laps. In two of those races, they led exactly 193 of 200 laps. 

Though Chevrolet's victories have all come in years when a Chevrolet has started on pole position, the only time it was the pole-sitter winning the race was the most recent time, Simon Pagenaud in 2019. That year Pagenaud led 116 laps from first. In two of those other three years, the winners started outside the top ten. Tony Kanaan won from 12th in 2013 after Ed Carpenter started first. Carpenter led 37 laps, the most in that race. Two years later, Juan Pablo Montoya won from 15th with nine laps led. Scott Dixon started on pole position and led the most laps (84) before finishing fourth. Three years after that, Will Power won from third on the grid with 59 laps led, while pole-sitter Carpenter was second with 65 laps led, the top two lap leaders in the field. 

While Honda took pole position for this year's race, the only Honda team represented in the Fast 12 was Chip Ganassi Racing. The only other Honda entry starting in the first six rows is Kyle Kirkwood in 15th. Of the 16 Honda entries, 11 start in the final 15 positions. 

Andretti Autosport has one top five finisher in the last four Indianapolis 500s. Meyer Shank Racing has had a top ten finisher three consecutive years at Indianapolis, and it had both its cars finish in the top ten last year. Since 2015, of the 22 Dale Coyne Racing entries at Indianapolis, 18 of those entries have finished outside the top fifteen, 12 of those results were finishes outside the top twenty. The three Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entries start 30th or worse. 

The Weather Report
Carb Day will be looking at sunny skies with a near zero-percent chance of rain. The high is set for 79º F with an Eastern wind at around 13 miles per hour.

Temperatures will rise slightly over the following two days, but there should be more clouds. Saturday sees nearly the same chance of precipitation but a high inching up to 81º F. Winds will remain from the east at around eight miles per hour. For race day, the high will be about 81º F with winds dropping to about six miles per hour. Chance of precipitation remains low, but will be about 9%. 

Carb Night Classic
The USF Pro 2000 Championship and U.S. F2000 Championship will compete on Friday night at Indianapolis Raceway Park. 

Myles Rowe managed to leave the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course weekend with a 39-point championship lead in USF Pro 2000 over Kiko Porto. Rowe has five top five finishes through five races while Porto was seventh and 11th in the IMS road course races and is now on 100 points. 

Francesco Pizzi is third in the championship on 98 points, but he has finished outside the top five in the last three races. Joel Gransfors' victory in the second IMS road course race has him fourth in the championship on 95 points, four points ahead of Jace Denmark, who has four top five finishes this season. 

Reece Ushijima is sixth on 86 points, four points ahead of Lirim Zendeli while Jonathan Browne is on 80 points in eighth. Salvador de Alba and Jack William Miller round out the top ten in the championship on 77 points and 67 points respectively. 

Last year, Rowe was third in the U.S. F2000 race at IRP while Michael d'Orlando, who is 12th in USF Pro 2000 with only one top ten finish, took the victory.

USF Pro 2000's Freedom 90 will run at 9:30 p.m. ET on Friday May 26.

Lochie Hughes has three victories, six podium finishes and his worst finish is seventh in U.S. F2000 this year and the Australian has a 14-point championship lead over Simon Sikes. Sikes has won twice, stood on the podium five times, but his worst finish was 13th in the first IMS road course race two weeks ago. 

Nikita Johnson had three consecutive podium finish on the IMS road course and Johnson is third on 144 points, 41 points off Hughes. Evagoras Papasavvas did not finish in the top five at IMS, but he is still fourth in the championship on 108 points. 

Sam Corry took a surprise victory in the first race at the IMS road course and it has lifted Corry up to fifth on 94 points, two ahead of Mac Clark. Jorge Garciarce is seventh on 85 points. Danny Dyszelski, Chase Gardner and Jacob Douglas round out the championship top ten. 

The Freedom 75 will take place at 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday May 26.

Fast Facts
This will be the eighth IndyCar race to take place on May 28 and the first since Takuma Sato won the 101st Indianapolis 500 in 2017. 

This will be the seventh Indianapolis 500 to take place on May 28. Six different teams have won the previous six Indianapolis 500s on May 28. 

Those teams are Chaparral Racing (1978), Patrick Racing (1989), Team Green (1995), Chip Ganassi Racing (2000), Team Penske (2006) and Andretti Autosport (2017).

This will be the 176th 500-mile race in IndyCar history.

The United States has produced the most 500-mile race winners with 66. Brazil and the United Kingdom has each produced seven 500-mile race winners. Canada has had four, Italy and France have each had three winners. Sweden has two winners. The Netherlands, Mexico, Colombia, New Zealand, Australia and Japan have each produced one winner. 

Chevrolet has won 12 of 21 500-mile races since 2012. 

Eight of the last 12 Indianapolis 500s have been completed in under three hours. Only five of the first 87 Indianapolis 500s that went the distance were completed in under three hours.

This year's grid features...

13 Americans...

Three Britons...

Two Swedes...

Two New Zealanders...

Two Brazilians...

Two Frenchmen...

Two Danes...

A Spaniard...

A Dutchman...

A Mexican...

A Japanese...

An Australian...

A Canadian and...

An Argentine.

Ed Carpenter, Josef Newgarden, Jack Harvey or Colton Herta could become the first driver to win the Freedom 100 and the Indianapolis 500.

Nine drivers have won on both the oval and road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They are Alex Lloyd, Jack Harvey, Dean Stoneman, Colton Herta, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi.

The drivers who could become the tenth driver to win on both the oval and road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend are Marco Andretti, Patricio O'Ward, Rinus VeeKay, David Malukas, Kyle Kirkwood and Álex Palou.

Josef Newgarden, Rinus VeeKay, Colton Herta or Álex Palou could join Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi as the only drivers to win an IndyCar race on the IMS oval and road course. 

The average starting position for an Indianapolis 500 winner is 7.415 with a median of 4.5.

Last year, Marcus Ericsson became the first winner to start fifth since Buddy Lazier in 1996.

Six consecutive Indianapolis 500s have been won from one of the first three rows, the longest streak since six consecutive winners from 2006 through 2011.

The average number of lead changes in the Indianapolis 500 is 14.0471 with a median of ten. 

In the DW12-era, the average number of lead changes in the Indianapolis 500 is 37.727 with a median of 35. 

The driver who led the most laps has won only two of the last 12 Indianapolis 500s, Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2014 and Simon Pagenaud in 2019. 

The average number of cautions in the Indianapolis 500 is 7.625 with a median of seven. The average number of caution laps is 43.645 with a median of 42.5.

Five of the six cautions in last year’s race were for accidents in turn two. 

In the last 12 Indianapolis 500s, eight races have had more than five cautions.

This will be the 74th Indianapolis 500 victory for Firestone. 

This will be the 23rd Indianapolis 500 victory for Dallara, extending Dallara's record for most Indianapolis 500 victories for a chassis manufacturer.

If Honda wins the race, it will be the manufacturer's 16th Indianapolis 500 victory. Honda is currently second all-time in victories for engine manufacturers, 12 victories behind Offenhauser's 27. 

If Chevrolet wins the race, it will tie Miller for third all-time on 12 Indianapolis 500 victories. 

A little unsung this year, Alexander Rossi puts McLaren on top and gets his second Indianapolis 500 victory in his first year driving for McLaren. Scott Dixon does not have a speeding penalty. Álex Palou leads fewer than 150 miles. Andretti Autosport will have more top ten finishers than A.J. Foyt Racing. Graham Rahal climbs up at least 15 positions and finish ahead of all three Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing cars. RLLR does have at least two cars finish, but neither will finish on the lead lap. Conor Daly will not finish sixth or better. Tony Kanaan will finish ahead of Hélio Castroneves. There will be fewer than four cautions for incidents in turn two. The Rookie of the Year will be Agustín Canapino. Sleeper: Takuma Sato.