Colton Herta

Follow the trends. Over the last decade, trends nailed the winner of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Does the same happen for Sunday’s 108th Running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing?”

Kyle Larson’s No. 17 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet is listed by most oddsmakers as a favorite. Trends caution this venture. Just 10 rookie drivers have won in the 107-year history of this race, with only three since 1967. In that span, three drivers scored their first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES win in the Indianapolis 500 – Arie Luyendyk (1990), Buddy Lazier (1996) and Alexander Rossi (2016).

So, who’s next?

Team Penske is the heavy favorite, but the team has led just 25 of the last 800 Indianapolis 500 laps. Chip Ganassi Racing has been quiet this month but has led 392 laps in that same span. Both have the same amount of “500” wins (1-1) over the last four years.

That spells a wide-open race.


Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske Chevrolet)

Newgarden attempts to become the first driver since Helio Castroneves (2001-02) to go back-to-back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He starts third and in race practice this month was in the top five in three of the four sessions. Of Newgarden’s last 14 NTT INDYCAR SERIES victories, 10 have come on ovals, including six in a row.

Scott McLaughlin (No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet)

Trends lean toward NTT P1 Award winner McLaughlin scoring the prestigious victory. Six of the last seven years, the “500” winner came from the top eight in the starting lineup. Since 2011, only Takuma Sato (2017, 2020) has won this race more than once. Among the last seven Indy winners, five of them finished outside the top 10 the year before their victory. McLaughlin finished outside the top 10 last year (14th) and has the No. 1 pit stall with race engineer Ben Bretzman calling the shots. The last time Bretzman had the No. 1 pit stall? In 2019, calling Simon Pagenaud’s Indianapolis 500 victory from … the pole, where McLaughlin starts. McLaughlin has been successful on ovals outside of Indianapolis. In four career Texas Motor Speedway starts, McLaughlin has two runner-up finishes among his four top-10 results. At short ovals Iowa Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway, McLaughlin has six top-five finishes in seven combined starts.

Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet)

O’Ward isn’t happy with his car’s speed, but don’t count him out. In race practice, O’Ward was fourth, seventh, first, fifth and third, respectively on the speed charts. The Arrow McLaren driver starts eighth and has been great here with finishes of sixth, fourth, second and 24th, respectively. He was in the top three on the Lap 192 restart last year but crashed in Turn 3 after leading 39 laps, the most in four “500” tries. He led 17 laps in 2021 and 26 more in 2022. On ovals, O’Ward has finished in the top-10 in 16 of 20 tries, including two wins and six runner-up results.

Alex Palou (No. 10 DHL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda)

What a fitting accomplishment it would be for reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Palou to pick up his first oval victory after a quiet couple of weeks at Indianapolis. Palou led 35 laps but was “taken to school” by Helio Castroneves in his runner-up finish in the 2021 Indianapolis 500. In 2022, Palou started second, led 47 laps but suffered heartbreak in event for second consecutive year as he got caught coming to pit road just as caution came out on Lap 69 and was dealt a drive-through penalty for taking emergency service in closed pit, which he couldn’t overcome. Last year, he started on the pole, led 36 laps but was dealt an unfortunate blow when Rinus VeeKay’s car made contact with his machine on pit road on Lap 94. Palou restarted 28th on Lap 100 and rallied to fourth. Palou starts 14th Sunday but was eighth, third, 19th and ninth, respectively, in race practice. His peers said his car is among the best in the 33-car field.

Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet)

The 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner starts second and has three runner-up finishes in four races this season. He was second, ninth, third and 21st, respectively, in the last four race practices.


Helio Castroneves (No. 06 Cliffs Honda)

The last-time Castroneves was a part-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver, he won the Indianapolis 500. Does history repeat itself? His peers said Castroneves’ Meyer Shank Racing Honda looks strong. He was sixth, 10th, 13th, 13th and second, respectively, in race practice and knows what it takes to win here. Can he stand alone as the only five-time winner?

Alexander Rossi (No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet)

It seems borderline criminal Rossi hasn’t won a “500” since his shocking rookie victory in the 100th Running of the prestigious event in 2016. He has finished seventh, fourth, second, 27th (led 17 laps), 29th (led 17 laps), fifth and fifth, respectively, in the seven-year pursuit of win No. 2. This time around, Rossi looks stout. He was ninth in Monday’s practice and rolls off fourth as the fastest non-Penske qualifier in the field.

Santino Ferrucci (No. 14 Homes For Our Troops Chevrolet)

In five Indianapolis 500 starts, the AJ Foyt Racing driver has never finished outside the top 10. He led 11 laps in a third-place effort last year. Ferrucci starts sixth Sunday.

Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda)

No top-five finishes in five Indianapolis 500 tries. Herta’s best-finish is eighth in 2020. However, his Andretti Global entry has shown rapid pace. Herta was seventh, third, fourth, second and fourth, respectively, in race practices, which is why starting 13th isn’t a concern. Andretti Global had three “500” wins in four years from 2014-17. The team is 0-for-6 since. With one top-five finish and two top 10’s over the last two years, Herta could turn the tide Sunday for Andretti Global.

Felix Rosenqvist (No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda)

With 14 of the last 15 Indianapolis 500 races being won by a driver over the age of 30, the 32-year-old Rosenqvist boosts ahead of a few other drivers that could join this list. Not only that, Rosenqvist has led at least six laps in four of his five “500” starts and if not for a Lap 183 crash while racing for sixth place last year, he had a shot at a second consecutive top-five finish in this race. He follows the trend of a driver to finish outside the top 10 the previous year (27th), with an age 30 and a top-10 starter (he starts ninth, the top qualifying Honda driver).