2009 Indy 500 Odds and Predictions
by Christopher G. Shepard - 05/19/2009
Helio Castroneves and defending race and 2008 IRL series champion Scott Dixon are both set as 4/1 favorites to win "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" as the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 revs up this Sunday at 1 p.m. at the historic Brickyard.
Gamblers should keep in mind that wagering on the pole-sitter in even years during the past six years at the Indy 500 has been a sound investment strategy. In 2008, 2006, and 2004 Scott Dixon, Sam Hornish Jr., and Buddy Rice all won the Indianapolis 500 from the pole. Interestingly enough, though, this year's pole sitter and current favorite, Helio Castroneves, is 0-2 from the pole at the Brickyard. In 2007 he finished third while he finished second in 2003. A wager on Castroneves to finish in the top-three will most likely cash.
Who will win the Indianapolis 500?
This year's Indy 500 can be characterized as record setting already as the field of 33 cars is separated in time by 3.0967 seconds -- that's huge in a sport that is decided by fractions of a second. This shattered the previous record was 3.2422 seconds in 2001. Below are six drivers I like to do well at the Brickyard this year with my Indy 500 prediction to win at the end.
Helio Castroneves, No. 3, Team Penske, (4/1)
Helio will be this year's pole sitter and that has been fairly good news as that car has won seven of the last 21 races at Indy, or 33 percent of the time. Early indicators show that Castroneves and/or Team Penske is the driver/team to beat this year. In the qualifiers leading up to the 500 it was only the pole-sitter Castroneves that was able to get his car up to 225 miles per hour while other drivers struggled to get their cars to 224 mph. Penske certainly have the fastest cars if qualifiers have anything to do with it. Occupying the first two spots on the grid are two of their drivers; Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe (you know the guy who got Danica all pissed off when he supposedly hit her coming out of pit road at last year's Indy 500, 29 laps from the finish). These two drivers put Team Penske in good position to win an unprecedented 15th Indianapolis 500. One of these two drivers should win on Sunday, but what should happen and what actually does happen are sometimes two different things.
Scott Dixon, No. 9, Target, (4/1)
The 2008 Indy 500 and 2008 IRL winner will try to be the first repeat winner since Castroneves did it in 2001 and 2002. Dixon will start the defense of his title from the No. 5 spot. Dixon has really done well at the Brickyard in his last three starts he hasn't finished worse than sixth place and he won the last series race at Kansas, which makes him a threat to drink from the jug of milk again.
Tony Kanaan, No. 11, 7-Eleven, (10/1)
The current points leader has never won at the Brickyard and it seems like it is only a matter of time before he does. Will this be the year he wins the 500? Kanaan has had a great year so far for Andretti Green Racing with two third-place finishes in his last two races and a fifth at the St. Petersburg road race. Last year Kanaan got knocked out of the 500 in the 105th lap, finishing 29th while in 2007 he finished 12th. Kanaan's average start position is impressive at 3.85 but his average finish is 9.83. Kanaan at 10/1 goes off at a generous price and is worth a look to win his first Indy 500.
Danica Patrick, No. 7, Boost Energy, (11/1)
After her Indianapolis debut in 2005 and an amazing fourth place, her hotness finished eighth in 2006 and 2007 and last year the sports most recognizable face finished 22nd after an accident 171 laps into the race. This year Patrick is currently in the sixth pole position but has finished her last two races in the top-five: fifth and fourth, respectively. This year's race will feature the same amount of eye candy as last year with three photogenic women drivers with Milka Duno (19th in 2008) and Sarah Fisher (30th in 2008). Of the three it's Fisher who has the most experience with seven Indy 500s under her belt. However, if you are thinking of backing a lady on Sunday all three of these women have DNFs in the last two years. The Brickyard, however, is one of Patrick's favorite tracks.
Dario Franchitti, No. 10, Target, (6/1)
One year removed from a tough stint in NASCAR Franchitti returns to open wheel racing with a passion. The 2007 Indy 500 winner always brings it to the Brickyard and in the past three years has finished no worse than seventh place. Franchitti already has one win under his helmet this year with a hard-fought victory at Long Beach. Franchitti is currently No. 3 in the standings and will start from the front row, third on the grid. There is no doubt in my mind that the No. 10 car will be in the thick of it at the end of the race.
Pick! Dario Franchitti, No. 10, Target, (6/1)
2009 Indianapolis 500: Long Odds Pick To Win
After three races this season Dan Wheldon has earned 66 points and is in 11th place. This season Wheldon came in 10th in the Road Runner 300 and fifth at the Toyota Grand Prix at Long Beach. Historically, Wheldon has done well at the Brickyard with an average start position of 5.67 and an average finish of 10.71. In six races at the Brickyard Wheldon has notched one win and three top-fives. However, in three of those five races Wheldon ended up finishing in double-digits; last year he started in second but finished 12th and in 2007 he started sixth but ended up 22nd. But consider this: when the British blazer won the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 he started the race from 16th position; his worst starting position at Indy until this year when Wheldon will start from the 18th spot.
Pick! Dan Wheldon, No. 4, (14/1)
Odds to Win the Indianapolis 500
May 24, 2009 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
AJ Foyt IV 125/1
Alex Lloyd 175/1
Alex Tagliani 50/1
Buddy Lazier 125/1
Dan Wheldon 14/1
Danica Patrick 11/1
Dario Franchitti 6/1
Davey Hamilton 175/1
Ed Carpentier 75/1
EJ Viso 75/1
Graham Rahal 16/1
Helio Castroneves 4/1
Hideki Mutoh 33/1
John Andretti 125/1
Justin Wilson 60/1
Marco Andretti 12/1
Mario Moraes 75/1
Mike Conway 225/1
Milka Duno 225/1
Paul Tracy 27/1
Raphael Matos 125/1
Robert Doornbos 40/1
Ryan Briscoe 13/2
Ryan Hunter-Reay 70/1
Sarah Fisher 225/1
Scott Dixon 4/1
Scott Sharp 65/1
Stanton Barrett 175/1
Tony Kanaan 10/1
Vitor Meira 32/1
Will Power 22/1
*Odds courtesy of Bodog