100th Indy 500 Predictions and Prognostications: History Yet To Be Made

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Photo from si.com

Auto racing’s most important race ever is mere days away, the 100th running of the Indy 500. A fixture at Indianapolis, one thing’s always certain: history will be made come Memorial Day Sunday.

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Photo from heavy.com

Our special 100th Indianapolis 500 prediction is a whole lot of yellow – the angular 100th 500 emblem, countless canary cars, hordes of yellow shirts and yes, also a goodly number of caution flags. In IndyCar, that means lots of twenty minute snack and bathroom breaks for the spectators. With six full fledged rookies, another who barely started the 500, several more Month of May one offs and Takuma Sato in the field there’s bound to be some crashing. As for nearly half the field being yellow liveried, despite the odds we’re predicting a non-yellow car to win.

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Photo from twitter.com

There’ll be no track record again this year, far from it. The pole speed won’t hit 233 mph either, which it first – and last – did in 1996. Last year’s pole speed was a disappointing 226.7 after Derrick Walker’s slow down meeting. The year before Ed Carpenter hit 231, the first such speed since 2003. The 100th’s top speed will eclipse that. Precisely who’ll be on pole is a bit harder to divine. Carpenter – who needs to finish the 500 – has some success in qualifications on his literal home track, but he’s struggled mightily lately. So who will get the prestige along with the hundred thousand dollar check?

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

Penske cars are always in contention along with Ganassi’s, though Andretti Autosport and Honda will give the big boys a run for their money. Let’s start with the front row, which incidentally won’t include Frenchman Simon Pagenaud. Penske’s two time 500 winner Juan Montoya, AA’s Townsend Bell and Carlos “sorry” Munoz will be the trio leading the rows of three into Turn 1.

It’ll probably be a Penske on pole – it is the Cap’n’s 50th anniversary in IndyCar – so we’re going with Montoya. “What’s wrong with” Juan seems to know the place fairly well and besides, this year’s pole winner isn’t destined to win the 100th. Plus JPM needs the money, as private jets don’t maintain themselves.

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IRR’s prediction for Rookie of the Year may well surprise our regular readers. AA’s young Californian Alexander Rossi will earn the honor, doing so over another strong rookie and fellow f-ing F1 invader Ganassi’s Max Chilton. It’s no secret Rossi would like to return to Bernie-land and therefore he’ll win ROY and surprise many with his finish. It won’t be surprising when he then bolts back to F1, however.

First out of the race has to be either a Coyne car or one of Foyt’s, as they’ve had some rough starts lately. Remember Conor Daly‘s flame out last year before even taking the green flag? And Tagliani’s engine failing to start? And once everyone finally got going, Sato’s kamikaze move on Sage Karam in Turn 1? What a cluster. This year our bet’s on A.J.’s other driver Englishman Jack Hawksworth, who’s been snake bit in the snake pit all month long. That said, Dale Coyne‘s adorable Brit Pippa Mann’s also a solid choice.

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Photo from twitter.com

An interesting and completely meaningless side bet we at IRR often make among ourselves is the leader at halfway. It’s usually someone well known who doesn’t generally go on to win the race. (Montoya‘s dominating run in 2000 when he led a hundred and sixty seven laps, notwithstanding). This year it’ll be Marco, who in typical Andretti fashion after leading some laps won’t end up anywhere near victory lane.

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

Having written that, we’ve been on record for some time with an American winner of the 100th Indy 500. As fast as Townsend Bell’s been, we’ve championed our pick’s continuing success in the series and we’re standing by that. He’s been fast for over a year now, on all types of circuits. All while veteran drivers have faded and slumped.

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Photo from dailytelegraph.com.au

IRR’s predicted winner’s best finish this season is third at Barber, where he broke through with his first win last year. Tennessee’s own Josef “Joltin’ Joe” Newgarden will be only the second American winner of the 500 in the last decade. He’ll do it for Ed Carpenter driving a Chevy, albeit powering an Italian chassis.

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

Should Newgarden fail to triumph, then our money’s on another rising American star, though he’s in a Honda powered car. That’s the always speedy and utterly fearless Graham Rahal. His win would come on the twentieth anniversary of his dad’s 500 win, making the 100th that much sweeter for him and everyone else. That would be history making, indeed.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

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One thought on “100th Indy 500 Predictions and Prognostications: History Yet To Be Made

  1. Pingback: Iowa Corn 300 Preview: AA’s Stompin’ Grounds | Indy Race Reviewer: Fast And Funniness

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