It’s not quite time to start your engines, but getting on track early could certainly help you when it comes to placing your bets on America’s most popular race.
That’s why I’m putting you in pole position with this early Indy 500 betting preview for 2019.
To millions of auto racing fans in the US and across the globe, the Indianapolis 500 is the greatest race the world has ever known.
This year, fans will be treated to the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, which is set to go down on Sunday, May 26, at the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.
Naturally, an event like the Indy 500 is going to attract betting enthusiasts like a light bulb draws in moths. This is more than just a race — think big, bright, and boisterous with a helping of some of the world’s most striking cars raced at breakneck speed.
This race is an established part of American culture, too. After all, who doesn’t know of the Indy 500 traditions of kissing the bricks and drinking the milk? Even if these are just the tip of the iceberg.
If you are betting on who wins the famous Borg-Warner Trophy this year, then you may have to wait a little while before odds open. Still, you can enjoy this early preview of the Indianapolis 500 before prices are announced.
Although the final grid is yet to be determined, I will be taking a close look at how the entries are shaping up. I will also be breaking down a few of the leading candidates to win the Indy 500.
2019 Indy 500 Entries
The 2019 Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to have 36 entries battling it out for 33 spots in the world’s most famous race.
34 drivers have been confirmed so far with the identities of the two other spots still not clarified, but what we do know is that Juncos Racing’s sole Chevy-powered entry will be announced soon.
Juncos team owner, Ricardo Juncos, is expected to name Kyle Kaiser, who won the 2017 Indy Lights and competed in four races with Juncos last year.
This leaves the 36th position a question yet to be answered. Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports will likely nominate Oriol Servia for their third Honda-powered entry.
The list below is what we can expect
A.J. Foyt Racing (Chevrolet)
- Tony Kanaan
- Matheus Leist
Andretti Autosport (Honda)
- Ryan Hunter-Reay
- Alexander Rossi
- Marco Andretti
- Zach Veach
- Conor Daly
Arrow Schmidt Peterson (Honda)
- James Hinchcliffe
- Marcus Ericsson
- To Be Confirmed
Carlin Racing (Chevrolet)
- Max Chilton
- Charlie Kimball
- Patricio O’Ward
Chip Ganassi Racing (Honda)
- Scott Dixon
- Felix Rosenqvist
Clauson-Marshall Racing (Chevrolet)
- Pippa Mann
Dale Coyne Racing (Honda)
- Sebastien Bourdais (with Vasser-Sullivan)
- Santino Ferrucci
- James Davison (with Byrd/Hollinger/Belardi)
- Ben Hanley
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Chevrolet)
- Sage Karam
- JR Hildebrand
Ed Carpenter Racing (Chevrolet)
- Ed Carpenter
- Spencer Pigot
- Ed Jones (with Scuderia Corsa)
Harding Steinbrenner Racing (Honda)
- Colton Herta
Juncos Racing (Chevrolet)
- To Be Confirmed
McLaren Racing (Chevrolet)
- Fernando Alonso
Meyer Shank Racing (Honda)
- Jack Harvey
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Honda)
- Graham Rahal
- Takuma Sato
- Jordan King
Team Penske (Chevrolet)
- Will Power
- Josef Newgarden
- Simon Pagenaud
- Helio Castroneves
Indianapolis 500 Test Highlights
On Wednesday, April 24, heavy rain played a major part in the first day of Indianapolis 500 testing.
Despite the wet weather, Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Takuma Sato came out fastest on “Wayback Wednesday.” The 2017 Indy 500 winner hit the best lap of the day at 226.993mph in his number 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda.
Ed Carpenter was fractionally behind at 226.414mph in the number 20 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet in the veteran’s open session.
Colton Herta was on top in the “rookie” session which featured none other than F1 legend Fernando Alonso. However, it wasn’t to be the Spaniard’s day as a falter on his out-lap at the beginning of proceedings led to his car being towed back to the pits.
While it looked as though Alonso had battery problems, his lengthy delay in returning suggested that there may have been something a little more worrying at play.
When he did return, he registered a fastest speed of 218.690mph.
Following the four-hour delay to proceedings, the 2018 Indy 500 winner, Will Power, owned the speed charts with an average of 226.225 mph, while Carpenter regained the number 1 spot before Max Chilton’s engine failure stopped proceedings once more.
Sato hit the fastest lap on the 23rd turn and also registered the top speed without a tow — at 222.942mph.
Rain came down from the heavens with a vengeance once more, which ended the practice session 15 minutes early. Frustrating as it may have been, it was a useful session for all involved.
Other Notable Results
Spencer Pigot pushed into third, and Ed Jones in the ECR with Scuderia Corsa registered as the seventh fastest on his last lap.
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon — two other former winners of the Indy 500 — had good runs, too, finishing fifth and sixth.
Simon Pagenaud followed behind in eighth while fellow Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais came in just behind.
The New Safety Device
Aside from the annoyances of the wet afternoon, there was another talking point among spectators at Speedway.
IndyCar’s new Advanced Frontal Protection device — which is a titanium piece fitted to the centerline of every car and positioned just in front of the cockpit — disrupted some drivers while others seemingly had no issues with it at all.
The device will feature in the Indy 500 for the first time in May and was designed with the purpose of deflecting debris away from the heads of drivers.
One of the big complaints of the new feature came from Sato, who complained that it is distracting. However, the Japanese star did add that it was welcome and is something that drivers will just have to get used to.
Sato expanded on his concerns regarding the device.
“I’m having a really hard time finding my guys,” Sato said. “I was trying to figure out what the problem was, so I closed my left eye going down pit lane and it’s blocking my whole right eye from seeing all the pit boxes. So you really lose all depth perception.
“To me that’s a little concerning because there’s a lot of people out there. But we’ll adjust. It is what it is.… It’s one of those things where I don’t make the rules, I just live by them. If that’s what they want to do, that’s what we’ll do.”
Betting on the Indianapolis 500
While the initial practice session was an informal one, the month of May will see things getting serious.
Events begin on Saturday, May 11, with the IndyCar Grand Prix which will be held at the combined road course. Then, on May 14, practice for the big race will take place before time trials for the Indy 500 on May 18-19.
Carb Day, the annual Pit Stop Challenge, and Indy Lights Freedom 100 will all go down on May 24, before drivers take to the grid for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26.
While we are approximately a month away from the race itself, it pays to get familiar with who the betting favorites should be, prior to then.
Of course, when betting on the Indy 500, you want to look for value bets. Unfortunately, the odds have not been released just yet, but what we are going to do today is look at the drivers who stand the best chance of emerging victoriously.
If you are new to betting on the Indianapolis 500, it’s definitely a great idea to start reading up on how the top drivers are preparing ahead of May 26.
Predicted Odds for the Indy 500
Just for a little fun and to help you get an idea of what to expect when odds are released, you will find my predicted odds for the Indy 500, below.
Bear in mind that these are not official odds and may not be accurate when it gets closer to race day.
Here is how I see the odds for drivers that will be involved in the 2019 version of the race.
I’ll provide a post nearer the time with the actual odds. In the meantime, you should keep your eye on the online betting sites as they could be releasing their odds at any point.
Indy 500 – Five Drivers to Keep an Eye On
The bad weather wasn’t enough to keep the defending Indianapolis 500 champion Will Power from enjoying a little taste of May. Another driver that seemingly enjoyed himself was three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves.
These two, in particular, are certainly looking like attractive bets for this year’s Indy 500.
Alongside Power and Castroneves, you can expect the likes of Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, Scott Dixon, and Ryan Hunter-Reay to be up there at the end of the race.
Below, you will find five drivers I believe stand the best chance of coming away with a win in the 2019 Indy 500.
The champion of last year’s race is being tipped by many to be the first back-to-back winner since Helio Castroneves’ triumphs in 2001 and 2002.
Power is bound to be among the bookmakers’ favorites — if not the favorite — to win the Indy 500 in 2019. The 2014 IndyCar Champion clearly enjoys racing at Speedway and will be aiming to add another win here to his resume.
Prior to 2018’s triumph, Power finished second in the 2015 version, crossing the line after his Team Penske teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya.
Power currently sits in sixth place in this year’s IndyCar table with a tally of 93 points after four championship races.
The legendary Scott Dixon is a five-time IndyCar Series champ who will undoubtedly be eyeing up his second Indy 500 win following his one and only triumph in 2008.
Dixon finished in third place last year and has high hopes of crossing the line first this time around.
Given his pedigree in IndyCar racing and his current position of third place in the Drivers’ Standings this year, Dixon will more than likely be among the big favorites for this year’s race.
This is one driver you certainly do not want to sleep on.
Rossi won the Indy 500 as a rookie in 2016, becoming just the ninth driver in the history of the race with such a claim.
Rossi, who finished second in the Drivers’ Standings last year, is currently in second place in 2019 with 138 points.
The 27-year-old is another driver that bookmakers will likely be reluctant to offer big prices on, but if you act fast when the odds are announced soon, you might snag some value.
The Long Beach winner in 2019 looks set to have a very interesting series ahead of him this year.
Last year’s fifth-place finish in the IndyCar Series was a little disappointing for Hunter-Reay.
This year, he finds himself in fifth place with 96 points and will be hoping to improve on 2018’s returns.
The Texan won the 2014 Indy 500 having won the IndyCar Series two years prior.
Without any notable success since 2014, you might be excused for thinking that there are better options when it comes to your cash.
However, I believe Hunter-Reay to be well in with a shot this year — depending on his odds, that is.
If there is one driver that many are strangely overlooking for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” it has to be Josef Newgarden.
The 2017 NTT IndyCar Series champion is currently sitting atop the IndyCar Drivers’ standings this year and will be slipping slightly under the radar with casual bettors.
The Team Penske driver just might surprise people this year, providing he has a focused and composed May. If he can keep doing what he has been doing so far this year, he might even add the championship to an Indy 500 win later down the line.
Keep your eye on this man.
The 2019 Indy 500 is set to be one of the closest in recent memory.
With a crew of stellar drivers set to take to the grid, fans will get to witness what competition looks like at the elite level of auto racing.
While this early preview is a nod to what to expect come May, be sure to watch this space for a more detailed breakdown closer to the race.
Early Betting Preview of the 2019 Indianapolis 500
The 2019 Indianapolis 500 is nearly upon us. Ahead of the “Great American Race,” here’s an early look at a few likely winners .