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What you need to know ahead of the 2024 Indianapolis 500

In Sports
May 22, 2024

The 2024 Indianapolis 500 will feature eight former winners and the fifth driver attempting to run both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the 108th edition of the race. Green flag is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. ET on Sunday with television coverage on NBC and streaming on Peacock.

Kyle Larson is attempting to be the latest driver to run the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. He’s set to start the Indy 500 in fifth after posting a strong run in the final round of qualifying and will start the 600 at the rear of the field after he misses the pre-race driver’s meeting while en route to Charlotte Motor Speedway from Indianapolis after the 500.

Larson should have roughly two hours to get to Charlotte from Indy after the conclusion of the 500. With a start time of 12:45 p.m. ET, the 500 should be done around 4 p.m. or so and the green flag for the 600 is set for 6 p.m.

Kurt Busch, the last driver to run both races in the same day in 2014, got to the 600 with time to spare. Larson shouldn’t have an issue getting to the track if there are no delays in Indianapolis.

Larson also has a great chance at being the second driver to complete all 600 laps in the same day as well. Tony Stewart finished sixth in the Indy 500 and third in the Coca Cola 600 in 2001. He’s the only driver to finish on the lead lap in both races and no driver racing both has finished in the top five at Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 20: Scott Mclaughlin of New Zealand (3) driving for Team Penske, Will Power of Australia (12) driving for Team Penske and Josef Newgarden of USA (2) driving for Team Penske during the front row photo shoot prior to the IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Practice on May 20, 2024 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Team Penske locked out the front row for the 2024 Indianapolis 500. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The winningest team in Indy 500 history is looking to go back-to-back after a front-row sweep in qualifying.

Josef Newgarden got the 19th Indianapolis 500 win in Team Penske history in 2023 and will start third this year behind his teammates Scott McLaughlin and Will Power.

It’s the first time Penske’s cars have swept the front row since 1988. Polesitter Rick Mears went on to win the race ahead of Emerson Fittipaldi and Penske’s drivers led 192 of the race’s 200 laps.

It’s unrealistic to expect that type of domination from Penske on Sunday, but the team’s drivers are the top three favorites for the win at BetMGM. McLaughlin is +550 for the victory ahead of Newgarden at +600 and Power at +700.

Larson, meanwhile, has the same odds to win as Power and is the top non-Penske favorite. It’s not totally out of the question that Larson wins the 500 on Sunday. However, you’re probably better served betting on a full-time IndyCar driver.

A Penske win will be the team’s second official win of the season. Newgarden and McLaughlin were disqualified after a 1-2 finish in the season-opening race at St. Petersburg because their cars’ engines were programmed to allow too much Push to Pass boost.

The Push to Pass error was discovered at the second race of the season in Long Beach and has been the storyline of the IndyCar season as Roger Penske is also the owner of the series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Penske has suspended multiple crew members for the Indianapolis 500 as a result of the scandal.

As Penske paced the field, Chevrolet-powered cars took the top eight starting positions for the race. Honda clearly didn’t have the horsepower to compete with the Chevys with the engines turned up.

Chevy is clearly the favored manufacturer to get to victory lane. But don’t rule out Honda in race trim. Reliability is always an issue at Indianapolis, and you also need a car that can work its way through traffic. The top non-Chevy favorite on the board is Scott Dixon at +1000 and Colton Herta is at +1200. Herta posted the fastest lap in Monday’s practice session. That was the final practice session before the annual Carb Day practice on Friday.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 18: Four Time Indy 500 Champion Helio Castroneves of Brazil (06) driving for Meyer Shank W/ Curb-Agajanian prepares for this qualifying run during qualifications for the NTT IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Qualifying on May 18, 2024 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Helio Castroneves is going for a record fifth Indianapolis 500 victory. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Power (2018) and Newgarden are two of the former Indianapolis 500 winners in the field for Sunday’s race. 2016 winner Alexander Rossi starts fourth and was the highest non-Team Penske qualifier on Sunday. Two-time champion Takuma Sato starts 10th and should probably be considered the favorite among part-time drivers in the field. Sato won the Indy 500 in 2017 and 2020.

2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay starts 12th ahead of Hello Castroneves in 20th and Dixon in 21st. Castroneves is going for his fifth Indianapolis 500 win after scoring his fourth win in surprise fashion in 2021. Castroneves, 49, is tied with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears for the most wins in Indy 500 history.

2022 winner Marcus Ericsson had a tense qualifying weekend. After crashing out in pre-qualifying practice, Ericsson failed to qualify in the top 30 during the first day of qualifying. That left him among four drivers for the final three spots on the second day of qualifying and a miscommunication on his first qualifying attempt had him getting off the gas during the final lap of his four-lap attempt.

Ericsson went out again with less than 10 minutes to go in the last row qualifying session and put a time on the board that was good enough for 32nd and bumped rookie Nolan Siegel from the field. Siegel crashed out on his last-ditch qualifying attempt and was the only driver to miss the race.

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