Indianapolis 500 Preview and Odds

Eight previous winners and a NASCAR Cup Champion are part of this year’s 108th Indianapolis 500 field. However, the story for the month of May in Indy has been Penske Power as Team Penske swept the front row last weekend in qualifying.

Scott McLaughlin set a new record four-lap pole speed of 234.220mph to beat Will Power and Josef Newgarden, bringing smiles to a team that has been under fire in recent weeks following the St. Petersburg push-to-pass scandal which saw Newgarden have his season-opening win taken away at St. Pete and McLaughlin also being disqualified due to using the push-to-pass button on restarts, which is forbidden by IndyCar Series rules.


Legendary team boss Roger Penske levied four two-race suspensions that run through the Indy 500, including Newgarden’s race strategist Tim Cindric (who is also president of Team Penske) and engineer Luke Mason.  

Meanwhile, the other major story this month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Larson who is racing IndyCar for his first time and will attempt to do “The Double” at the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte later that evening.

The 2021 NASCAR Cup champion will be driving a Chevrolet-powered entry that is co-entered by Arrow McLaren and Rick Hendrick, for whom Larson drives in NASCAR. At 31, he is the fifth driver to attempt ‘The Double’.

The last to do it was Kurt Busch in 2014; the first was the late John Andretti in 1994, with Robby Gordon (five times) and Tony Stewart (twice) in between. Stewart’s 2001 effort remains the most successful, finishing sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte, and he remains the only driver to complete all 1100 miles.

Larson is known throughout the racing world as “Yung Money.” Meanwhile, Helio Castroneves is not exactly young at 49 years old, but he has been money in the Indianapolis 500 and is trying once again to become the only man to win the 500 five times (Helio, Rick Mears, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser are the four-timers club). A win here this year would also make Helio the oldest winner in 500 history.

As for betting the race, one of nine drivers likely wins this race and drinks the milk in victory lane:

  • The three Penske cars (McLaughlin, Newgarden, Power)
  • The three Arrow McLaren cars (Larson, Rossi, O’Ward)
  • The top two Chip Ganassi cars (Palou, Dixon)
  • Colton Herta

Herta, at 15/1, is probably the value here even though his Andretti Global team has struggled this month and has yet to win this season in the IndyCar Series. He was 2nd fastest in the Monday practice following weekend qualifying.

The Penskes and the Arrow McLaren machines are the class of the field, but you can never count out Palou, who is the defending IndyCar Series Champion (also won in 2021), and six-time IndyCar Series Champion and 2015 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon, who is still the smartest driver and best fuel saver in this sport.

The weather is also a concern as the rain is expected Sunday late morning, early afternoon, plus more on Monday, so there is a possibility of a rain-shortened race. As a reminder, 101 laps (one over the halfway point) are required for an official race, so keep that in mind when betting on Sunday.

Here is the starting grid (with Draft Kings prices) for the 108th Indianapolis 500.

Row 1
1. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, Team Penske, 234.220; 4/1
2. (12) Will Power (W), Chevrolet, Team Penske, 233.917; 11/2
3. (2) Josef Newgarden (W), Chevrolet, Team Penske, 233.808; 13/2

Row 2
4. (7) Alexander Rossi (W), Chevrolet, Arrow McLaren 233.090; 10/1
5. (17) Kyle Larson (R), Chevrolet, Arrow McLaren, 232.846; 7/1
6. (14) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, AJ Foyt Racing, 232.692; 18/1

Row 3
7. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, Ed Carpenter Racing, 232.610; 18/1
8. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, Arrow McLaren, 232.584; 11/1
9. (60) Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, Meyer Shank Racing, 232.305; 25/1

Row 4
10. (75) Takuma Sato (W), Honda, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, 232.171; 30/1
11. (27) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, Andretti Global, 230.993; 25/1
12. (23), Ryan Hunter-Reay (W), Dreyer & Reinbold-Cusick, 230.567; 40/1

Row 5
13. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, Andretti Global, 232.316; 15/1
14. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, Chip Ganassi Racing, 232.306; 12/1
15. (6) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, Arrow McLaren, 232.230; 60/1

Row 6
16. (11) Marcus Armstrong (R), Honda, Chip Ganassi Racing, 232.183; 60/1
17. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, Ed Carpenter Racing, 232.017; 60/1
18. (4) Kyffin Simpson (R), Honda, Chip Ganassi Racing, 231.948; 80/1

Row 7
19. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, Andretti Global, 231.890; 60/1
20. (06) Helio Castroneves (W), Honda, Meyer Shank Racing, 231.871; 40/1
21. (9) Scott Dixon (W), Honda, Chip Ganassi Racing, 231.851; 18/1

Row 8
22. (78) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, Juncos Hollinger Racing, 231.847; 100/1
23. (41) Sting Ray Robb, Chevrolet, AJ Foyt Racing, 231.826; 200/1
24. (33) Christian Rasmussen (R), Chevrolet, Ed Carpenter Racing, 231.851; 60/1

Row 9
25. (66) Tom Blomqvist (R), Honda, Meyer Shank Racing, 231.578; 200/1
26. (77) Romain Grosjean, Chevrolet, Juncos Hollinger Racing, 231.514; 100/1
27. (8) Linus Lundqvist (R), Honda, Chip Ganassi Racing, 231.506; 80/1

Row 10
28. (45) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, 231.465; 80/1
29. (24) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, Dreyer & Reinbold-Cusick, 231.243; 100/1
30. (30) Pietro Fittipaldi, Honda, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, 231.100; 250/1

Row 11
31. (51) Katherine Legge, Honda, Dale Coyne Racing, 230.092; 500/1
32. (28) Marcus Ericsson (W), Honda, Andretti Global, 230.027; 70/
33. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, 229.974; 100/1