As Enquiring Minds wanna Know who’ll win Duh biggest Race of the year?
Although I began pondering this prior to the completion of Fast Friday, for which I sincerely wish they wouldn’t Turn Up the Boost, since It Reaks of being even More Artificial then IndyCar’s vaunted P2P’, aka Push-to-Pass! But I digress…
Thus I held off until reading the day’s results via Racer.com before making my initial considerations towards potential winners for this year’s 105th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Naturally the main Contendahs’ come from the Usual Suspects, i.e.; Penske, Ganassi and Andretti. As you can never count out Team Penske’s three veteran Drivers Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power. Whilst Scott McLaughlin seems a certain Shoe-in for (ROY) Rookie Of the Year honours, especially since the other two Rookies R.C. Enerson and Pietro Fittipaldi were struggling to find Speed!
Although Pietro impressed Mwah with an excellent 13th place qualification, while Y’all know Enerson didn’t make the field, leaving just two Rookies this year, ironically with McLaughlin being the Quickest Penske in 17th…
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon is always a threat, and you can never count out his returning team-mate Tony Kanaan. And while Alex Palou’s been Quick all thru practice, I just don’t think the Sophomore driver or Marcus Ericsson have the experience to win the Indy 500.
The prognosis for Andretti Autosport seems even more bleak to Mwah, since their only true threat Alexander rossi’s first time inside the Top 5 on the Time Sheets came Midway thru Fast Friday. Colton Herta seems too Hot Tempered and Ryan Hunter-Reay hadn’t cracked the Top 10 Speed-wise until the end of the final hours of practice. Marco Andretti typically Fades during the race and Thee Mayor ‘O Hinchtown’s Nightmarish season continues, as the Kuhnuck’ has been mired near the bottom since arriving at Mother Speedway!
While the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Boyz’ have looked strong during practice, albeit Graham Rahal’s been the slowest so far, Santino Ferrucci crashed once during practice and seems unlikely to win. So I’d just say count Rahal and Takuma Sato in. But there hasn’t been a repeat Indianapolis 500 winner since Helio Castroneves went back-to-back two decades ago.
And speaking of Hulio’, I’ll count him as a Darkhorse candidate, even though I Don’t expect him to win driving for Meyer Shank racing, as the team just still seems too young and “Raw” to pull off what surely would be an Upset.
Ed Carpenter Racin always has fast cars at the Speedway, albeit it’s been Conor Daly posting the Quickest times during practice, and like Ye Oldest IndyCar Blogger Geo. Phillips, I too don’t think Rinus VeeKay’s ready to win the Indianapolis 500. Nor do I think Conor will, but you can never count out Thar Boss Fast Eddie’. (Ed Carpenter)
And that just leaves us with Arrow McLaren SP to consider, especially since Pato O’Ward’s my Numero Uno IndyCar Driver! As Pato’s been fast, flirting inside the Top 10 during practice, while Felix Rosenqvist’s and Juan Pablo Montoya’s names have barely been whispered. And although I’d revel in Pato Drinking Milk Sunday, I don’t think it’ll happen. Rosenqvist is a “Non Starter” leaving me to say that only Montoya’s a Dark Horse threat, albeit I’d say a pretty long long-Shot.
A.J. Foyt Racing’s running four cars this year which seems to be overburdening them, and they haven’t been a threat at All during practice with the exception of Team leader ‘le Hamburgular’ (Sebastien Bourdais) once in the Top 10 at P6 when getting a Tow during practice. So we’ll count SeaBass’ as a longshot candidate.
Pre race Contendahs’
Therefore, with my very quick assessment of this year’s grid, with No Disrespect towards those I didn’t consider, I’ve come up with a Dozen Bonafied Contenders towards Drinking Milk atop the Victory lane elevator’s Top Floor! In alphabetical Order: Sebastien Bourdais, Ed Carpenter, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato.
And it’s easy for me to say now, but I’ve been feeling pretty confident it’s Thee gory Iceman 2.0’s race to lose, following Scott Dixon being Fastest both Qualifying Days…
That said, naturally my list of potential winners has been somewhat reset.
Although some of these drivers I don’t think have a chance, as I’ll list ‘em in the Longshot’s column below, here’s my updated selections for potential Winners in order of Team, with Starting position in parenthesis.
Andretti Autosport: Colton Herta, (2nd) Ryan Hunter-Reay, (7th) and Alexander Rossi )10th)
Arrow McLaren SP: Pato O’Ward (12th) and Juan Pablo Montoya (24th)
Chip Ganassi Racing: Scott Dixon (1st) and Tony Kanaan (5th)
Ed Carpenter Racing: Rinus VeeKay (3rd) and Ed Carpenter (4th)
Meyer Shank Racing: Helio Castroneves (8th)
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Takuma Sato (15th) and Graham Rahal (18th)
Team Penske: Josef Newgarden, (21st) Simon Pagenaud (26th) and Will Power (32nd)
As the driver of this revised group who impressed me most with his Steely determination and Good Sportsmanship afterwards is Colton Herta, who now seems like a definite Contendah! While I’ll still say All of these drivers have a chance, along with the other 18 drivers.
Fantasy Long Shots
That said, of the 15 listed above, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Pato O’Ward, Juan Pablo Montoya, Rinus VeeKay, both Rahal drivers and Bloody Hell! Even the three Team Penske Boyz’ All feel like longshots at this point. As Odds are against Takuma Sato repeating, whilst Graham Rahal seems like a Darkhorse choice, while think we’re All Ah-Waitin’ to see if Team Penske Shows Up on Race Day?
And the Winner Is…
Of my Top 3 choices, One is my Preferred choice, One’s my Sentimental Pick and the third’s my Actual prediction.
I’d prefer for Alexander Rossi to win his second Baby Borg this year, as this would definitely boost his confidence over what’s been a ragged season’s plus racing. Not to mention Colton Herta’s trying to Steal his mantal of Team leader.
My sentimental choice would be Tony Kanaan for obvious reasons, as how can you not like TK’, Eh?
But the driver I’ll pick to actually win this year is Tuh-Duh! Scott Dixon. As “The Iceman” has just been astonishingly fast, Uhm Bloody Quick ever since practice began, and just seems like he’s intent on finishing business from last year’s humbling Defeat.
As Dixon has either been at the top or in the Top-5 of every day’s practice sessions, Quickest both Saturday & Sunday, and led some 160 laps last year, so I’d say he’s got this place figured out, El Correctomundo?
And I made my choice for winner following the Fast 9 Shootout, and didn’t even bother with the day’s latter practice or Carb Day results…
“Gentlemen and Lady, Start Your Engines!”