Editor’s Note: Today the Roundtable welcomes a special guest, INDYCAR Communications Coordinator Arni Sribhen. Arni has worked for INDYCAR since 2004.
Today’s question: Who will win the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge this Sunday?
Curt Cavin: Scott Dixon ought to be everyone’s prohibitive favorite, and I think he’s the most likely to win. But I’ve been touting Takuma Sato almost since he arrived in Victory Lane here last August, so I’ll stick with him. With two wins and a third-place finish in 2019 by three-tenths of a second, no one has been better than Sato over the past four years. People would be surprised if Rinus VeeKay won, but if he can keep his car clean for the first 150 laps, he will be a handful in the shootout.
Zach Horrall: This is absolutely Scott Dixon’s race to lose, but that seemed to be the case last year and didn’t work out. So, I’m going to say this racetrack rewards another longtime veteran: Helio Castroneves. He’s been consistent all month long in his new ride with Meyer Shank Racing, and he made the Fast Nine for the first time since 2017. Plus, each of the race’s four-time winners are celebrating an anniversary this year. It seems the stars are aligned for a fence climb for the ages this Sunday. Looking for a dark horse? I say look no further than Ed Jones. Race Day is expected to have fairly cool temperatures, and during practice early last week under similar temps, Jones had a strong Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan Honda. He qualified 11th. Watch him.
Arni Sribhen: Did you know the last three Indianapolis 500 winners all started in the first four positions? It’s hard to ignore that trend and even harder to ignore what my head is telling me – which is Scott Dixon will win his second Indianapolis 500. But the same could also apply to the driver that my heart wants to win the Indy 500 – Ed Carpenter. Sure, a win by Colton Herta would be historic as the youngest winner of the race and establish him as a bonafide racing star, but Carpenter’s win driving his own car would be a throwback to the days of his racing hero – A.J. Foyt. Carpenter SONAX Chevy is fast (it starts fourth), and the veteran has enough moxie to finally win the Indy 500.
Paul Kelly: It almost seems too easy to pick Scott Dixon. He’s leading the fastest field in Indy 500 history to the green flag, and he’s so overdue to win this race – it still boggles the mind his only victory came in 2008, when I still had hair. But I’ve had a sneaking suspicion and belief all month about another 40-something looking for his second victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – Ryan Hunter-Reay. RHR, who won this race in an epic finish in 2014, has been quietly steady and fast this month. He was eighth fastest last Saturday on the first day of qualifying and improved to seventh during the Firestone Fast Nine Shootout. Hunter-Reay’s last NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory came more than two years ago, in 2018 at Sonoma, but I think Captain America has another victory in him, at the biggest race of them all. The last driver to win from the seventh starting spot was A.J. Foyt in 1961. That drought ends Sunday.