One of auto racing’s most historic events will hold its 2020 edition this Sunday.
Normally ran on Memorial Day weekend, the Indianapolis 500 is set to wave the green flag on Sunday, Aug. 23.
Which driver can emerge with the prestigious Indy 500 victory?
Indy 500 being held outside of May for first time
Regardless of Sunday’s outcome, history will be made in the 2020 Indianapolis 500.
Originally scheduled for May 24, the race will be held outside of the month of May for the first time in its history. That dates back to 1911 when Ray Harroun won the first ever Indy 500.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the race to be pushed back to this weekend. Initial practices were held Aug. 12-14, while time trails took place on Aug. 15-16.
Friday marks the final practice.
Sunday’s race will be the standard 200 laps (500 miles) around Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Spectators will not be present for this year’s race.
The green flag will wave on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Pre-race coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET.
Indy 500 odds have 2008 winner Dixon as the favorite
Heading into Sunday’s race, oddsmakers see Scott Dixon as the favorite. According to BetMGM, the 2008 Indy 500 winner is a +450 favorite. FanDuel sees Dixon as a +470 favorite.
Alexander Rossi has the next-shortest odds at +800 for BetMGM (+750 FanDuel).
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti find themselves with +900 odds each (+850 FanDuel).
Dixon is entering his 18th Indy 500. He grabbed the victory in 2008 from the pole position and has six other top-five finishes in this race.
Starting from the second position on Sunday, Dixon is looking to add to his IndyCar points lead.
Winner of three of the first six races this year, Dixon has a 49-point lead on Simon Pagenaud (+1,400 BetMGM; +1,300 FanDuel) for first in the standings.
Castroneves looks to join elite company
Brazilian driver Helio Castroneves looks to add to his legacy on Sunday when he seeks a fourth Indianapolis 500 victory.
Castroneves is the only active driver in Sunday’s field with multiple victories in this race. A win on Sunday ties him for the most all-time with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears.
Oddsmakers don’t like his chances to accomplish that feat. BetMGM lists Castroneves at +3,500 to win, while FanDuel has him at +3,200.
Castroneves has his work ahead of him. He will start 28th on Sunday, his worst starting position in 20 Indianapolis 500 appearances.
Winning his first two Indy 500s in 2001 and 2002, Castroneves followed it up with another victory in 2009. He has also finished second on three occasions, the last time coming in 2017.
Sunday’s race will be his first IndyCar race since the 2019 Indianapolis 500.
Pagenaud can be sixth repeat champion
The 2019 Indy 500 winner, Simon Pagenaud, will be attempting to become the sixth driver to repeat as champion this Sunday.
Pagenaud controlled most of last year’s race from the pole position, leading 116 of the 200 laps. As the checkered flag waved, Pagenaud edged out Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato (+1,600 BetMGM & FanDuel).
A win on Sunday will put him alongside fellow repeat winners:
- Wilbur Shaw
- Mauri Rose
- Bill Vukovich
- Al Unser Sr.
Pagenaud qualified in the 25th position for Sunday. It’s his worst starting position in nine Indy 500 appearances. Prior to last year’s victory, Pagenaud hadn’t cracked the top five of an Indianapolis 500.
His 2020 season sees Pagenaud second in the standings through six races. He has one victory and four top-five finishes.
Pole-sitter Andretti hopes to add to family legacy
A familiar name starts up front for Sunday’s race, as Marco Andretti won the pole position.
Making his 15th Indy 500 appearance, Andretti is on the pole for the first time at IMS.
A win in the historic race has eluded him. He finished second as a rookie in 2006 and third on three different occasions.
His grandfather, Mario Andretti, was the 1969 winner of this race. His father, Michael Andretti, was a former IndyCar series champion but never came away with a win at IMS.
As an ownership team, the Andretti family has brought in another six Indianapolis 500 championships.
The 2020 season hasn’t been kind to Mario, as he has placed 10th or worse in all six races. He sits 21st in the current point standings.