101st Indy 500 Predictions and Prognostications: An American Tradition

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The Indianapolis 500 is an American tradition like no other. Now into its second century, the 500 remains one of America’s great contributions to the world, as millions of Spaniards are about to discover thanks to Fernando Alonso.

Our special prediction for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing concerns the show itself, the racing. Expect highly exhilarating, edge of your seat, 230 mph ecstasy on the ancient oval Sunday – the way all racing should be. Of course that’s assuming the weather cooperates. Pay particular attention to the truly unique start, with eleven glittering, growling rows of three cars. It’s among the very best moments in all of sport.

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Photo from indycar.com

First lap leader will come from the outside of row 1 and he’s led before, even recently. It’s 100th Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi. The American prevailed on strategy and fumes last year, was impressive in qualifications last weekend and is still young and inexperienced enough to go for it early. Prepare for a vocal crowd reaction when he shoots into the lead.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

The mid-race leader prediction sees the introduction of a villain into the story, a real heavy by the name of Juan Montoya. He’s won the 500 twice already, but don’t worry as the lap 100 distinction is meaningless, other than the bonus it pays. But expect Team Penske‘s peerless strategy to get their cars to the front, and fairly quickly.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

First out of the race has to be Takuma “take ’em out” Sato, the record holder for most crashes per win. It’s not only his track record at Indy, but also other tracks as well. After all, the obsolescence of the current cars was a major reason for his hiring at Andretti Autosport. So you can bet Taku will finish last, unless of course Conor Daly catches on fire during the parade laps again or his rookie A.J. Foyt Racing teammate Zach Veach beats them both to it.

Our biggest surprise of the race won’t be f-ing F1 invader Alonso – who’s garnered a lion’s share of the publicity this month – unless it’s how much he struggles. Instead, it’ll be the performance of young American Sage Karam. No rookie, Sage is a one off who deserves a full time ride in the series. He’s been quick and problem free at Indy this year, but what we like about him so much is his fearlessness. The kid’s aggressive, bold and due for a favorable finish.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

So who’s the winner of the 101st Indy 500 going to be? It’ll be an American winner again this year. But it’s not going to be 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay with the hyphen here to stay, or his teammates Rossi or Andretti (sounds like an adult beverage, doesn’t it?). Neither will it be Sage, Charlie, Buddy, Ed nor even J.R. Surprisingly, the winner will come from 22nd starting position, Josef Newgarden.

He’s our pick due to his team’s recent dominance, podium finish in last year’s race and practice crash Thursday. The wreck served as a wake up call, just as last year’s result made him want to sip the milk that much more. Now Josef’s on the team to do it. We’ll have yet another American first time winner – the third in four years – and he’ll drive into victory lane in a Chevy.

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