The 107th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” goes green this Sunday on NBC.
It’s nearly Memorial Day weekend, which means…F1 is on the streets of Monaco, NASCAR will race 600 miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and America’s premier open-wheel series returns to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for another running of the Indy 500. Drivers, start your engines indeed!
Coverage for the 2023 Indianapolis 500 begins at 11am ET on NBC, and the race will go green at approximately 12:30pm ET.
What to Know:
- 2021 IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou starts from the pole position with an incredible four-lap average of 234.217 MPH (!), the fastest pole speed in the history of the Indy 500. Palou will attempt to complete the unofficial “sweep” of the Month of May: winning the Indy GP earlier in the month, winning the pole for the Indy 500, and making it to victory lane this Sunday. Since the Indy GP was added to the schedule in 2014, Simon Pagenaud (2019) is the only driver to sweep the Month of May.
- Defending Indy 500 champion Marcus Ericsson will start in the tenth position and looks to be the first repeat winner of the 500 since Hélio Castroneves went back-to-back in 2001 and 2002.
- Speaking of Hélio Castroneves – the four-time Indianapolis 500 champion starts from the 20th position. Castroneves looks to make history on Sunday and become the only five-time winner of the Indy 500, escaping a tie with Rick Mears, A.J. Foyt, and Al Unser. The only other multi-time winner in the field is Takuma Sato (2017, 2020), who starts 8th.
- After several years of part-time racing, 2013 Indy 500 winner and 2004 series champion Tony Kanaan will make his final Indy 500 start this weekend. 2023 will be Kanaan’s 24th consecutive Indy 500 start dating back to 2002.
- Team Penske, owned by businessman and entrepreneur Roger Penske, has 18 wins in the Indianapolis 500, three times more than the next team (Andretti Autosport). There are three Penske drivers in the field: Will Power starts 12th, Scott McLaughlin starts 14th, and Josef Newgarden starts 17th.
- Katherine Legge, starting 30th, is the first woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 since Simona de Silvestro in 2021.
Who Wins It?
Picking the winner of the Indy 500 from a talented group of 33 drivers is not an easy task. Half the drivers in the field have the speed to win the biggest race of their lives, and the other half will have plenty of opportunities to make their day better as contenders fall off over the course of 500 miles. It’s hard to bet against polesitter Alex Palou – after all, he was the fastest driver in qualifying and will get a clean racetrack all to himself when the green flag flies. Veterans Will Power, Scott Dixon, and Tony Kanaan will likely contend for the win, as well as last year’s winner Marcus Ericsson. Longshot: six-time IndyCar race winner Graham Rahal initially missed the 33-car field on Bump Day, but has been recruited to replace the injured Stefan Wilson following a practice crash on Monday afternoon. The Indy 500 has a weird way of propelling drivers in the headlines to the front, so don’t be surprised if Rahal makes his presence known on Sunday.