Predicting Top 5 For Tomorrow’s Indianapolis 500
Predicting The Top Five In Tomorrow's Indianapolis 500
The 2013 Indianapolis 500 will be the most exciting 500 to date. There are four rookies, four females and four former winners in this year’s starting field. While 10 American drivers will attempt to become the first American winner since 2006, there will be 19 other drivers from 13 different countries battling to have their name and face forever enshrined on the Borg Warner trophy joining a prestigious list of immortal names.
The 97th Indianapolis 500 will feature a local-racer on the pole this year as driver-owner Ed Carpenter will lead the field of 33 to the green flag tomorrow. While three-time winners Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti will duel to join the most exclusive club in all of auto racing as four-time winners, veterans like Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti will try and write a new chapter to their career by adding Indianapolis 500 champion to their accolades.
The story is set and the speed is back as the drivers and teams made their final adjustments at Friday’s Carburation Day practice. Now, all that’s left to do is wait patiently and try not to become too overwhelmed with all that is the greatest spectacle in racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With a month of coverage at the track including practices, qualifications and exclusive driver interviews, I have my prediction for the race. With so many great drivers, it was very hard to pick who I have finishing first through fifth in the Indianapolis 500 tomorrow.
5th: Ryan Hunter-Reay
Qualifying Time:227.904 Starts:7th
Since finishing 6th in 2008, defending IZOD Indy Car Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay has had a miserable time at Indianapolis including a DNQ in 2011. The Andretti Autosport driver will try to capitalize off of a great month with the strongest team in the field this year. I expect a patient, well-executed strategy that will place Hunter-Reay fifth at the end of a well-driven day.
4th: Marco Andretti
Qualifying Time: 228.261 Starts: 3rd
Marco Andretti saw his chance to end the “Andretti curse” at Indianapolis disappear in 2006 when he was passed by Sam Hornish Jr. on the last lap, 450 yards from the start-finish line. Since then, he has finished third twice with a few dismal finishes in between due to accidents. This year, he will be a favorite to win the 500 and with all of the passing that the new cars can do it wouldn’t be a shock if Andretti is battling for the win with a few laps to go. I don’t think this is his year, though. Despite having a strong car, Andretti finishes fourth when tomorrow is all said and done.
3rd: Will Power
Qualifying Time:228.087 Starts 6th
Another former champion, Will Power has been a dark-horse favorite for the last five years. Always in a fast car, with the best team and greatest owner in open wheel history, this Penske Racing veteran will find himself up front early and often tomorrow. A solid day without mistakes will put Power up front with a chance to win in the closing laps. Content to finish with a solid top five; don’t expect power to make a desperation move like Takuma Sato did last year. Will Power will cross the yard of bricks third in tomorrow’s Indianapolis 500.
2nd: Tony Kanaan
Qualifying Time: 226.949 Starts: 12th
There is no other driver who has experienced more anguish in the moment of defeat than Tony Kanaan. After losing the lead to Buddy Rice in a rain-shortened 500 in 2004, Kanaan finished 2nd. Over the next eight years, it was make or break for Kanaan as he either finished strong or finished poorly. There may be no other driver who wants the 500 more, to be quite honest. If Kanaan finds himself in the front late in the race Sunday, don’t be surprised if Kanaan goes with an all or nothing attempt to pass for the win. Already a former champion, the only accomplishment Kanaan has yet to achieve is a win at Indianapolis so there would be no hesitation if it came down to the decision between finishing strong for points or risking it for an Indianapolis 500 win. As usual, a patient, smart effort by Kanaan will have him in the mix late. However, Tony Kanaan falls short again and finishes second tomorrow.
The Winner of The Indianapolis 500: James Hinchcliffe
Qualifying Time: 227.070 Starts: 9th
James Hinchcliffe will win the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500. The hottest driver on the circuit thus far, Hinch has won two races already this season and with that kind of momentum there is always sure to be confidence. Hinch has had a fantastic month to keep that momentum rolling on his side giving Michael Andretti a reason to believe that a third Indy 500 as an owner is well within reach. Fastest of the day during one practice session this month, Hinch knows what he has to work with. The Canadian will roll off the starting grid ninth and work his way through traffic to get to the front. I expect to see the neon-green GoDaddy.com machine at the front and leading for much of tomorrow’s race as it is his to lose. James Hinchcliffe will win his first Indianapolis 500 tomorrow most likely in dramatic fashion in what is sure to be one of the most exciting 500’s ever.