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INDY 500 Betting News and Notes

INDY 500 Betting News and Notes

Indy 500 Odds & Props

Odds to win the 2013 Indianapolis 500

Scott Dixon 7/1
Marco Andretti 7/1
Helio Castroneves 8/1
Dario Franchitti 17/2
James Hinchcliffe 10/1
Ryan Hunter-Reay 10/1
Ed Carpenter 10/1
Will Power 12/1
Tony Kanaan 14/1
A.J. Allmendinger 15/1
Ryan Briscoe 20/1
E.J. Viso 20/1
J.R. Hildebrand 20/1
Carlos Munoz 20/1
Oriol Servia 25/1
Takuma Sato 28/1
Graham Rahal 33/1
Alex Tagliani 40/1
Justin Wilson 40/1
Josef Newgarden 66/1
Simon Pagenaud 75/1
Sebastien Bourdais 75/1
Simona De Silvestro 100/1
Charlie Kimball 100/1
James Jakes 100/1
Townsend Bell 100/1
Sebastian Saavedra 100/1
Tristan Vautier 100/1
Ana Beatriz 250/1
Pippa Mann 250/1
Conor Daly 250/1
Buddy Lazier 250/1
Katherine Legge 250/1

Odds to Finish in the Top 3 of the 2013 Indianapolis 500

Scott Dixon 2/1
Marco Andretti 2/1
Helio Castroneves 12/5
Dario Franchitti 5/2
James Hinchcliffe 3/1
Ryan Hunter-Reay 3/1
Ed Carpenter 3/1
Will Power 7/2
Tony Kanaan 4/1
A.J. Allmendinger 9/2
Ryan Briscoe 6/1
E.J. Viso 6/1
J.R. Hildebrand 6/1
Carlos Munoz 13/2
Oriol Servia 7/1
Takuma Sato 8/1
Graham Rahal 10/1
Alex Tagliani 12/1
Justin Wilson 12/1
Josef Newgarden 20/1
Sebastien Bourdais 20/1
James Jakes 22/1
Simona De Silvestro 30/1
Charlie Kimball 30/1
Simon Pagenaud 30/1
Townsend Bell 30/1
Sebastian Saavedra 30/1
Tristan Vautier 30/1
Ana Beatriz 75/1
Pippa Mann 75/1
Conor Daly 75/1
Buddy Lazier 75/1
Katherine Legge 75/1

Indy 500 Special Props

Will an American win the Indy 500?

Yes +150
No -200

Will a Canadian win the Indy 500?
Yes +600
No -1200

Will a Brazilian win the Indy 500?

Yes +400
No -700

Will an Australian win the Indy 500?

Yes +300
No -500

Top Female Driver
Simona De Silvestro -200
Ana Beatriz +200
Pippa Mann +700
Katherine Legge +700

Bet on Indianapolis 500 Odds

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Indy 500 Preview

The IndyCar Series takes center stage in the sports world on Sunday with the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500. The racers will navigate this 2.5-mile "rectangular" oval track 200 times in front of more than a quarter million people in the stands to determine the winner. This will be the first oval track for these drivers this season, as the first four IndyCar races took place on street courses. Indianapolis Motor Speedway has nine-degree banking on all turns with completely flat straightaways.

Only five different drivers have won the past eight races here, with defending champion Dario Franchitti taking home three titles during this span (2007, 2010, 2012) and the late Dan Wheldon winning twice (2005 and 2011). Ed Carpenter (7-to-1 odds) won the pole position for this race, but Marco Andretti is the race favorite at 5-to-1 odds. This edition of the Indy 500 features four rookies (A.J. Allmendinger, Carlos Munoz, Conor Daly and Tristan Vautier) and four women (Simona de Silvestro, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge and Pippa Mann).

Drivers to Watch

Dario Franchitti (8/1) -
He has a great chance to join the legendary trio of A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the only drivers to capture four Indy 500 titles. Although he's starting 17th, Franchitti won this race from the 16th starting spot last year, and even fell to 28th place after being bumped by E.J. Viso in pit row before pulling off his incredible comeback. And after bad luck kept the No. 10 car from finishing the first two races of the 2013 season, Franchitti has placed 4th and 7th in his past two starts.

Tony Kanaan (10/1) - Kanaan has never won this race, but he placed third in last year's Indy 500, marking his fifth top-5 showing in his past 10 races at this track. Only twice during this span did he finish outside the top-12. Kanaan will start one row back (12th) of where he began last year's race (8th), but with double-digit odds, the No. 11 car is certainly worth a look on Sunday.

Helio Castroneves (6/1) - The most recent of his three career wins in this event came in 2009, continuing his monster success at this venue. He has garnered a top-10 finish in 10 of 12 career starts at the Indy 500, and has a superb chance of doing that again from the middle of Row 3. Castroneves is also off to a strong start in the 2013 season with a runner-up at St. Petersburg and a third-place showing at Birmingham before respectable finishes of 10th and 13th in the past two starts.

Ryan Briscoe (35/1) - If you're looking for a darkhorse, take a chance by placing a unit wager on Briscoe. He was last year's Indy 500 pole-winner and parlayed that into a strong fifth-place showing. Although Briscoe will start his engine in Row 8 (23rd spot) on Sunday, he has always raced well in Indianapolis when he's avoided crashing. Of his seven starts in this event, he's crashed three times, but in the four Indy 500 races he was able to fully complete, Briscoe placed 5th, 5th, 10th and 15th.

Alex Tagliani (60/1) - The best longshot on the board has usually been near the front of the pack at this speedway, placing 10th, 11th in 12th in three of his four career starts at the Indy 500. The lone exception was in 2011, when despite having the pole position to begin the race, Tagliani crashed on lap 148. He's also starting in a healthy position on Sunday (11th) and in each of his four races this season, Tagliani has tallied a better finishing position (13.0 avg.) than starting position (17.0 avg.).

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Driver-By-Driver Indy 500 Preview
By: Marshall Pruett

If the weather holds and the skies simply remain overcast, Sunday’s 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 could play out differently than we’ve seen over the past few years.

Provided rain doesn’t fall and the temperatures are modest, Andretti Autosport could be the team to beat.

From failing to qualify to focusing too heavily on qualifying in recent years, everything the team has done this month has been geared toward winning. it might seem odd to say that about a team--one would naturally assume every team is fixated on winning--but plans on how to get to Victory Lane can vary. In 2013, the Andrettis, armed with a frightening level of engineering talent, have simplified their efforts to make May 26th the only day that matters.

I watched with interest as the five-car squad made an effort to run in a pack during the first few days of practice--when the cool conditions were similar to what Race Day might offer--and the Michael Andretti-owned program would reap the benefits of being the only team to run heavily in the draft and log extensive amounts of setup data while most of their competitors waited for warmer days to gather similar information.

The Target Chip Ganassi Racing duo is starting from almost the identical spots that netted a 1-2 last year and both Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon wore knowing, ominous grins after Carb Day. After spending the month out of the picture, the red cars once again hold the greatest chance for Honda to spoil Chevy’s party.

Team Penske will be in contention; rookie AJ Allmendinger looks like a 10-year veteran and has his crew chief and engineer thinking something special could happen, and there are plenty of other drivers--some in single-car teams--that could be in the conversation for the race win as Lap 200 draws closer.

This should be the most competitive Indy 500 in quite some time, Honda appears to have come up with an answer to Chevy’s pre-race dominance and driving standards will be held incredibly high by Race Control. After a lot of complaints from drivers about blocking going unpunished, the first driver to even hint at trying to impede another car will likely come to regret it. Look for an example to be made if and when it happens.

As for predicting a winner, read through the driver-by-driver preview and you’ll see I’ve narrow the list of possibilities to six or seven. I’d love to say Driver X is going to come away with the spoils, but only a fool would claim to know which one will come out ahead in this field.

2013 Indy 500 Preview

Row 11

Driver: Katherine Legge

Car No.: 81
Team: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: Angie’s List
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 30/22
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 33

Pruett Says: Gutsy drive by Legge to climb in cold after being out of an Indy car since September and make the field. She was a rocket in that September race at Fontana, and a quick learner on her Indy 500 debut last year. She received a hellacious tow on Carb Day and put up an impressive number, and if the car remains in the setup window, she could be a pleasant surprise.  The odds are stacked against her, but that’s nothing new for the Brit. Under the circumstances, a finish somewhere in the teens would be a stellar result and patience will be required to get there.

Driver: Buddy Lazier

Car No.: 91
Team: Lazier Partners Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Advance Auto Parts
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: N/A
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 32

Pruett Says: It’s fitting that the car used by Jean Alesi to make the 2012 Indy 500, which was crewed by a merry band of misfits (and I mean that in a good way) is being tended to by a similar group of Pot Luck racers for Buddy Lazier. He has strong support from a number of open-wheel factions and a good engineer behind him. Making the finish and avoiding mishaps in the pits would be beyond impressive for the team. My biggest concern for Buddy is whether he’s ready for 200 laps of intensity like he’s never experienced. A stronger field of 33 than he’s ever faced and the aggressive driving afforded by the new car means the 1996 Indy winner will need to adapt or get run over.

Driver: Conor Daly

Car No.: 41
Team: A.J. Foyt Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: ABC Supply Co.
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: N/A
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 31

Pruett Says: The rookie is fast and smart, and the smarts part is what matters most. His crash on Thursday, rain on Friday and engine issues on Saturday left Indy’s native son woefully short of mileage. He’s also missing the rock solid race setup needed to charge from the last row. Being successful in the race comes from knowing what changes to ask for, and if he can hang on and dial the car in as the race goes on, he’s capable of a decent result, but he’s not going to find the 4 mph needed to mingle with the leaders. If the month had gone smoothly, I have no doubt Daly could shadow his teammate at Indy. Look for the team to keep him on a short leash.

Row 10

Driver: Pippa Mann

Car No.: 36
Team: Dale Coyne Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: Cyclops Gear
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: N/A
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 30

Pruett Says: I’m not sure if it’s a gender thing or a British thing, or a combination of both, but Mann, like Legge, is a scrapper of the highest order. She’s indomitable, which will help because she’ll need plenty of resolve to keep the No. 63 from going a lap down early in the race. She ran all of six laps on Carb Day thanks to a vibration issue and lacks anything close to a proper setup. She’s a fan favorite and will have plenty of people rooting for her, but as I’ve said many times, being in the second (and in Pippa’s case, the third) Dale Coyne car is rarely a picnic when it’s time to go racing.

Driver: Ana Beatriz

Car No.: 18
Team: Dale Coyne Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: Ipiranga
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 13/23
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 29

Pruett Says: Bia has enough miles in this car and with her team to expect a decent result. But with limited speed all month, she’s in an expanding group of drivers who should be thrilled if they are still running by Lap 200.

Driver: Tristan Vautier

Car No.: 55
Team: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Engine: Honda
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: N/A
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 28

Pruett Says: The Kid That Knows No Fear has been humbled by Indy, and that’s a good thing. The Schmidt team kept their third entry parked as an insurance policy until Vautier got through Pole Day without incident, and I think that display of mild mistrust resonated with French rookie. He’s still ripe for getting tangled in a silly crash or making contact during a pit stop, but if he can drive within himself (and so far, that’s been a rarity), the Indy 500 could be the race he looks back at and credits for helping him to be more patient behind the wheel. If that doesn’t happen, the No. 55 might not be lapping the Brickyard for very long on Sunday.

Row 9

Driver: Sebastian Saavedra

Car No.: 6
Team: Dragon Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: TrueCar
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 24/26
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 27

Pruett Says: Saavedra has been close to teammate Sebastien Bourdais on the road and street courses this year, but the Colombian has been rather quiet so far at Indy. I’m not sure that will change once the green flag waves. Where Bourdais and longtime engineer Neil Fife are attuned to what the No. 7 car needs, Saavedra and engineer Ed Nathman are still trying to find a more nuanced setup for the No. 6, and simply copying Bourdais’ setup isn’t a cure-all. The kid’s always capable of a surprise, but it will require something extraordinary to break through a big pack of cars trying to achieve the same back-to-front move.

Driver: Graham Rahal

Car No.: 15
Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: Midas/Big O Tires
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 12/13
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 26

Pruett Says: What should have been a stellar month for Rahal has been an endless loop of frustration and lowered expectations for the Ohioan. The team’s Indy 500 setups from 2012 for Takuma Sato proved to be highly effective with the Japanese driver in the cockpit, but Sato’s driving style is different than Rahal’s, which required the RLL team to almost start from scratch during the event to tailor the No. 15’s handling to Graham’s liking. Add in the ongoing problems with the sister No. 30 entry of Michel Jourdain, and despite having three cars, the team has been disjointed since opening day. Nine fruitless days of practice and qualifying has left Rahal hoping for a Hail Mary in the race.

Driver: Josef Newgarden

Car No.: 1
Team: Sarah Fisher Hartman
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: Century 21
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 7/25
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 25

Pruett Says: This is the first entry from deep in the pack that I believe can move forward with a quickness in the race. They’ve run quite a bit in practice, working on race setups more than ever before, and Newgarden’s making far better decisions than he did as a rookie. Without any dramas to hold them back, a top 10 finish is within reach.

Row 8

Driver: Simona de Silvestro

Car No.: 78
Team: KV Racing Technology
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Nuclear Entergy Areva
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 32/32
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 24

Pruett Says: After a few years of being Indy’s punching bag, de Silvestro should be able to post a better result this year. Ignoring her qualifying position for a moment, the Swiss driver has her confidence back and works very well with engineer Gerald Tyler. I’m not sure how many cars she’ll chase down and charge past on Sunday—he car hasn’t been particularly fast, but I do expect the No. 78 to move forward as those in front of her start to fall off. A simple day with no interruptions would be a nice reset for de Silvestro at Indy.

Driver: Ryan Briscoe

Car No.: 8
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: NTT DATA
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 1/5
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 23

Pruett Says: Briscoe has enough experience at Indy to deal with whatever comes his way, and so far, he and Ganassi’s GRAND-AM crew on the No. 8 have been decent but somewhat invisible. The outright speed hasn’t been there and losing an engine on Carb Day wasn’t what the team needed, but I don’t expect that situation to extend into the race. The team will be faster, as will Briscoe, who tends to finish strong when he finishes. If he keeps the No. 8 off the wall, a top 12 should be easy.

Driver: Townsend Bell

Car No.: 60
Team: Panther Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Sunoco “Turbo”
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 20/9
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 22

Pruett Says: I don’t think anyone expected to see Bell this far back on the grid, just as I don’t believe anyone expects him to stay back there for very long. He’s one of the truly skilled at Indy and could leapfrog a bunch of cars if a better setup can be developed from Carb Day. There are loads of great drivers in the field. Bell is among the elite racers at the Speedway, which should count for something wherever he’s running in the field.

Row 7

Driver: Simon Pagenaud

Car No.: 77
Team: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: HP
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 23/16
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 21

Pruett Says: The second-year Indy 500 driver learned tons last year—mostly what not to do, and has come back showing much greater maturity at the Brickyard. It took until final practice for Pagenaud and the Schmidt team to find the speed they’d been missing all month, and he’ll need every bit of it to have a shot at a meaningful result. Outside of Ganassi, Honda has a bunch of individual cars capable of mixing it up with Chevy’s united front and Pagenaud is one of them. I’m not sure if he’s quite ready for 200 laps of cut-and-thrust racing at Indy without undue risk, and it will take a consistent car to prevent Simon from trying to perform miracles. Of all the drivers in the race, I’m most interested to see how Pagenaud progresses. If he and engineer Ben Bretzman can keep the No. 77 in the window and Pagenaud avoids relying on his supreme car control to compensate for any handling issues, we could have a Simon that’s ready to threaten at every track.

Driver: James Jakes

Car No.: 16
Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: Acorn Stairlifts
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 17/15
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 20

Pruett Says: Admit it. Just like me, you didn’t expect James Jakes to be the fastest and most consistent RLL driver at Indy so far this month. Jakes is smooth and methodical, which fits perfectly at the Speedway. It might not be the style needed to win the race, but he and engineer Eddie Jones have been quietly impressive. I like their chances to hover in the top half of the field and possibly finish in the top third.

Driver: Charlie Kimball

Car No.: 83
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: NovoLog FlexPen Novo Nordisk
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 14/8
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 19

Pruett Says: I have no feeling on how Kimball will fare in the race. He’s been smooth this month, but so has almost every driver. Just hasn’t made much of an impression, positive or negative, which could be an indicator of what’s to come in the 500. I suspect he’ll move up a few positions, but beyond that, who knows.

Row 6

Driver: Takuma Sato

Car No.: 14
Team: A.J. Foyt Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: ABC Supply Co.
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 19/17
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 18

Pruett Says: Sato started one spot lower last year and nearly won the race. He hasn’t been blazingly fast in the draft and his Foyt team would love nothing more than to find a few extra MPH to start the race, but he and engineer Don Halliday are very effective when it’s time to dial the car in during pit stops. I’m not convinced Sato will pull off the same kind of result two years in a row, but if he has all four corners left on the car, a top 6 is possible.

Driver: Dario Franchitti

Car No.: 10
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: Target
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 16/1
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 17

Pruett Says: Franchitti was rather grumpy through qualifying, and rightfully so, but he lit up after Carb Day when Honda turned the power button up to where it will be in the race. His month of May last year followed a nearly identical script in qualifying, on Carb Day and then in the race where he went from 16th to first. He’s starting 17th this year and simply cannot be overlooked as a contender to win his fourth Indy 500.

Driver: Scott Dixon

Car No.: 9
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: Target
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 15/2
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 16

Pruett Says: I’ve never felt more bullish about Dixie’s chances to win from 16th than I am this year. He’s among five or six serious contenders and, if 2012 was anything to go by, is owed a bit of good fortune from the Speedway.

Row 5

Driver: Sebastien Bourdais

Car No.: 7
Team: Dragon Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: McAfee
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 25/20
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 15

Pruett Says: Bourdais’ return to Indy last year with Dragon wasn’t very fulfilling, but he and engineer Neil Fife ended Carb Day on a high and should be in the mix throughout the race. The Frenchman didn’t get to show his talents last year, but I suspect he’ll figure in the how the top 10 is settled. A finish between fifth and 10th doesn’t seem out of place, which is commendable with his limited oval experience in mind.

Driver: Justin Wilson

Car No.: 19
Team: Dale Coyne Racing
Engine: Honda
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 21/7
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 14

Pruett Says: Wilson’s been fast and happy since Pole Weekend and continues to look like on of Honda’s best performers on Sunday. If Ed Carpenter can earn the pole, I see no reason why Badass and the Dale Coyne Racing team can’t pull off a shock top 3. It would fit the unpredictable theme that has run through the event so far…

Driver: Oriol Servia

Car No.: 22
Team: Panther DRR
Engine: Chevrolet
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 27/4
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 13

Pruett Says: Servia and the Panther DRR team seem to come alive at Indy, and with this serving as their farewell to the series—until next year’s Indy 500—another solid run inside the top 6 is possible and would make for a great (temporary) send off.

Row 4

Driver: Tony Kanaan

Car No.: 11
Team: KV Racing Technology-SH Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Hydroxycut
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 8/3
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 12

Pruett Says: He’s come close before and has, in my estimation, another legitimate shot at winning this year. The most popular driver in the field without his likeness on the BorgWarner trophy will likely put on more displays of bravery and miraculous passes—but can his team get his No. 11 car just right for the sprint to the finish? That’s the only thing I see holding TK back from Victory Lane.

Driver: Alex Tagliani

Car No.: 98
Team: Bryan Herta Autosport
Engine: Honda
Sponsors: Barracuda
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 11/12
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 11

Pruett Says: Honda’s top qualifier took a while to find a setup that suited him, but has done a great job along with engineer Todd Malloy to turn the No. 98 into a genuine contender for the team’s second victory at Indy. I think they have a stronger likelihood of a top 5 finish than ending up first, but the Herta team is always on the cusp of an amazing result.

Driver: JR Hildebrand

Car No.: 4
Team: Panther Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: National Guard
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 18/14
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 10

Pruett Says: If finishing second four out of the past five years is an indicator of Panther’s prowess at Indy, driver JR Hildebrand has also shown he knows how to go quickly at Indy. And with a stronger engineering platform beneath him, the 2009 Indy Lights champion has been calm all month and looking forward to the race. I don’t know if victory awaits them, but the No. 4 should be a player all day. Hildebrand’s a bit of a darkhorse in such a deep field, but there’s no reason he and the Panther team can’t reach the mountain top.

Row 3

Driver: James Hinchcliffe

Car No.: 27
Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: GoDaddy
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 2/6
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 9

Pruett Says: There’s just something about Hinchcliffe and closing races this year. The Canadian is in the best place of his career, has super engineer Craig Hampson on his side and has also figured out how to put himself in a position to win as the laps count down. I’m slightly more assured that his teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti will come away with the win from the Andretti camp, but it’s by an incredibly thin margin.

Driver: Helio Castroneves

Car No.: 3
Team: Team Penske
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 6/10
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 8

Pruett Says: Penske’s Indy 500 go-to guy has, like the rest of his teammates, been good this month, but hasn’t made many waves outside of qualifying. His Carb Day efforts left the No. 3 towards the bottom of the speed charts and he’ll have to work with new engineer Jonathan Diuguid to get faster after years of relying on Ron Ruzewski to get him to the front. Starting eighth is hardly a problem, but HCN could be swallowed by the pack if they haven’t made the right setup tweaks for the opening stint.

Driver: Ryan Hunter-Reay

Car No.: 1
Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: DHL
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 3/27
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 7

Pruett Says: I really like Hunter-Reay’s chances this year. His team has had a handle on their cars and conditions, and RHR is loaded with confidence. His engineer Ray Gosselin seems to be locked in to his driver’s needs and except for bad luck, which loves to visit RHR at Indy, I can think of more reasons why he should be able to win than why he shouldn’t.

Row 2

Driver: Will Power

Car No.: 12
Team: Team Penske
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Verizon
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 5/28
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 6

Pruett Says: I came into the month of May thinking Power would be the man. Instead, he’s been close, but never close enough to where he and the team want to be. Other than his ridiculous low-downforce lap to go fastest in the top 24 on Pole Day, Power’s name hasn’t been heard much and along with many other contenders, he’d love to start the race with more speed in hand. I’m torn on how he’ll do—seems like either an epic drive is on the horizon or more not-quite-there will take place.

Driver: AJ Allmendinger

Car No.: 2
Team: Team Penske
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: IZOD
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: N/A
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 5

Pruett Says: The ‘Dinger has slotted in like an old pro at Team Penske at Indy. With Helio’s former engineer Ron Ruzewski calling the shots, AJ’s often looked better than teammate Will Power this month, but I’m not sure he’ll know exactly what changes to call for during each stint to keep the No. 2 car running up front. That’s the one area of experience the rookie lacks, but if Ruzewski can draw on his experience to fill some of that void, ‘Dinger could be a sleeper for a top 3 result and a darkhorse for the win.

Driver: E.J. Viso

Car No.: 5
Team: Andretti Autosport/HVM
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Venezuela
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 9/18
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 4

Pruett Says: Viso tends to bring the best out of himself at Indy, making the Fast 9 for the second consecutive year, but now as a member of Andretti Autosport, the Venezuelan is calmer, making better decisions, and like his teammate Marco Andretti, slowly changing his image. He’s not all the way there yet, but with the calming presence of engineer Michael Cannon tuning on his car, Viso has everything he needs to run in the top 10 all day. What I just mentioned about making better decisions—Indy will be the biggest test of all for Viso to show whether it’s for real, or if he’s still prone to reverting back to his old ways.

Row 1

Driver: Marco Andretti

Car No.: 25
Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: RC Cola
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 4/24
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 3

Pruett Says: If the Marco Andretti that showed up in the first four rounds of the 2013 championship makes an appearance in the Indy 500, the family could be celebrating its second victory at the Speedway. He’s turned a page with his driving style, his attitude toward racing and has simmered all month long. My confidence in Marco’s chances at Indy has never been higher.

Driver: Carlos Munoz

Car No.: 26
Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Unistraw
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: N/A
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 2

Pruett Says: Spend a few minutes with Carlos Munoz and you’ll likely take away the same impression I’ve gotten from the young Colombian: Not much seems to faze him. He’s clearly fast, doesn’t scare easily and isn’t afraid to mash the throttle. He also has more laps spent working in a draft than any rookie I can think of, which has contributed to his impressive form. But as I’ve mentioned numerous times so far, will he know what changes to call for during the race when the handling falls off? With everything working as it should, he could win the race on his first try—something he’d love to do after countryman Juan Pablo Montoya did it at Indy in 2000—but JPM was a seasoned Indy car veteran by that point. Munoz is making his first-ever IndyCar start at the biggest race on the calendar. Something tells me emulating Montoya’s achievement will be nearly impossible, just as getting through the race unscathed might also prove to be impossible for Munoz.

Driver: Ed Carpenter

Car No.: 20
Team: Ed Carpenter Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Fuzzy’s Vodka
2012 Indy 500 Start/Finish: 28/21
2013 Indy 500 Starting Position: 1

Pruett Says: Carpenter’s team was one of very few to stick to its plan for qualifying, and by not swinging for the fences—while others made desperation moves to grab the pole and fell short—ECR came away with P1. That grounded approach will also serve the team in the race, and I see absolutely no reason why Carpenter can’t turn his pole into a win on Sunday. If there’s one thing I’ve yet to see from ECR in a big race like the 500, its daring strategy calls—if and when they might be needed—to regain the lead or hold onto it. If something goes wrong and the team needs to get a lap back, for example, can they adapt and overcome? I’m not sure, but without any major hiccups, Carpenter could pull off the hometown victory, which just might shut down the city for a few days.

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