It has been a strange month. The qualifying left the grid for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 with some contenders up front and some very good cars toward the back. How easy it is to pass and how the yellows fall could bring the good cars in the back toward the front.
I have to wonder what kind of race we would be talking about if row nine- Colton Herta, Scott McLaughlin, and Helio Castroneves- were row four or five. Josef Newgarden, who is starting mid pack, might also be a late race factor. Simon Pagenaud will surely end up in the top 10.
The winner, however, will come from the front row. Alex Palou will complete what he could not quite do in the 2021 race. This was not an easy choice. I have wavered between Palou, Rinus VeeKay, and Marcus Ericsson.
Scott Dixon’s last three poles have yielded poor results. I think he will have another issue. I don’t have confidence in VeeKay’s team to execute well enough for him to win. I think he will have a very good day, but he won’t be pulling into Victory Circle. Marcus Ericsson has a chance if he is involved in some unusual situation. As he told me last week, “We thrive on chaos.” It will take some chaos for Ericsson to break through.
Palou knows what to do after battling Castroneves to the wire last year. He has a strong car which could have been on the pole. Ganassi is due for some decent luck in the 500 and this is the year.
The race will be punctuated by at least four caution periods. When they occur could impact the race and determine if we have a straight fight or a fuel saving parade. I hope for the former.
Enjoy the race Sunday. I am excited to see full grandstands again. There is more of a buzz about the race than there was last year.
I’ll be back after Carb Day practice.