Wheels are spinning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – and at IRR world headquarters. As the world’s greatest race approaches, we’re feeling lucky.
The special prediction of this year’s 500 is race fans will be waist deep in wagering at the Speedway and around the country. The recent Supreme Court ruling on sports books almost assures this, bringing betting out of the grandstands and into the luxury suites, so to speak. With our recent spate of predictions success, we outta start charging for this info.
Our pick for pole on Sunday is Josef Newgarden, our perennial prediction for series champ. The odds on JoNew winning the 500 are 8 – 1, behind only 100th 500 winner Alexander Rossi at 5 – 1. Incidentally, defending winner Takuma Sato’s odds are a lot longer at 25 – 1, same as rookie Robert Wickens and Ed Jones. Speaking of a gamble, the odds on Danica are 30 – 1.
First out of the 500 will be the venerated Miss Patrick in her swansong race. It’ll be a fitting ending to a career that saw a single solitary win in hundreds of races across several series. For the more diva than driver, 100 to 1 seems more like it.
Mid-race leader is a purely academic bet we often like to make at the track and also in our picks. For this meaningless distinction, we’re tapping the unlikable Will “sour grapes” Power. Bet you couldn’t come up with a more perfect pilot for such a pointless pick – unless it’s Kanaan.
The biggest surprise of the race will be AA’s Zach Veach, starting in only his second 500. He finished 26th for AJ Foyt Racing last year, no small feat considering the team and its weaknesses. In much better surroundings this season, the young Ohioan will impress, beating practice warrior Marco and other teammates in a strong showing.
Photo from indystar.com
Our Rookie of the Year prediction bucks the odds on everyone’s early favorite, who has to be Wickens. But we don’t foresee it that way at all. Instead, we’re taking a chance on another Canuck, Dale Coyne’s part timer Zach De Melo. Pietro Fittipaldi was scheduled for the ride until he was injured at Spa, and De Melo’s filled in admirably. Expect him to continue to do so and take home the hardware – unless it’s a rigged game again this year.
At 20 to 1 odds, winner and history maker will be Colombian Carlos “OK” Munoz for Andretti Autosport. It’ll be Carlos’ first sip of milk in six tries and incredibly AA’s fourth win in the last five 500s. It’s a good bet despite the long shot, as OK’s finished second in the 500 twice – in 2013 and again in the 100th. If Rossi’s fumes had run out a tick earlier, Munoz’s likeness already would be on the Borg-Warner trophy.
Photo from indycar.com
Now, what are the odds of all that happening?