INDY 500: Preview, odds & trends

motorsport24 May 2024 21:35| © Reuters
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Running of Indianapolis 500 2023 © Gallo Images

The 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to take place on Sunday, with Team Penske sweeping the front row in qualifying.

It is the first front row lockout in the Indy 500 since 1988, with Scott McLaughlin on the pole alongside previous champion Will Power and defending champion Josef Newgarden.

It was a very noteworthy achievement following the cheating scandal earlier this season. IndyCar discovered illegal push-to-pass software on Penske's three cars at St. Petersburg, leading to the circuit throwing out Newgarden's victory and McLaughlin's third-place finish.

Another compelling storyline is Kyle Larson's quest to complete the "Double." The Indy 500 rookie qualified fifth, and after Sunday's race he will hop a flight to Charlotte, N.C., for NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600. The forecast for Indianapolis on Sunday isn't promising ahead of Larson's attempt to complete both races in one day.

"At this point, just hoping the weather cooperates to get all 1 100 miles in. It's been something I've looked forward to for close to two years," Larson said. "It doesn't look too promising for Indy on Sunday, but I think for me, where I sit, if it's going to rain, I hope it rains all day. That way it can just get pushed to Monday or something. We can get (NASCAR) in on Sunday night and then come here Monday."

Expect a compelling race, as Newgarden led only five laps on his way to victory last year, when no driver led more than 40 laps.


Time: Green flag at 12:45 p.m. ET

The Field: 11 rows of 3 drivers each

Defending Champion: Josef Newgarden

Length: 500 miles in 200-lap race

TV/Streaming: Pre-race show 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET; Race coverage 12:30-4 p.m. (NBC/Peacock)


Newgarden is the pre-race favourite as he attempts to become the first driver to win back-to-back Indy 500s since Helio Castroneves in 2001-02. Newgarden opened at +725 at BetMGM, where his odds had shortened to +500 by Friday.

However, he's not among the book's three biggest liabilities this week. The top perch there belongs to Larson, who leads the field with 11.5 per cent of the total bets backing him. The 2021 Cup Series champion's odds have shortened from +750 to +675 while he has drawn the second-most money at 12.6 per cent.

That's just behind McLaughlin's 14.2 per cent, making the pole-sitter the book's third-biggest liability. McLaughlin has the second-shortest odds at +550, followed by Larson and Power (+700). Power has been backed by the second-most total bets at 7.8 per cent.

Alex Palou enters the race with one victory and four Top 10s this season and sits atop the IndyCar standings. However, he has only the ninth-shortest odds at +1400, sitting behind Pato O'Ward at +750, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi at +800 and Colton Herta at +900.