ESPN.com picks the Indy 500 podium
INDIANAPOLIS -- You'd think that with a combined 80-something years of covering this event, the ESPN.com motor racing staff would be more reluctant to flout the historic Andretti jinx.
But our consensus pick to win Sunday's 96th Indianapolis 500 is Marco Andretti, third generation driver in a family that has but one 500 win, Mario's in 1969, since the patriarch arrived here in 1965.
Not only is Marco on every ballot, he is no worse than second.
Writers Terry Blount, John Oreovicz and I all have him to win. Editors K. Lee Davis and Joe Breeze pick him second.
The only other real plunge on a winner is Joe's pick of Will Power.
I'm unabashedly picking with my heart here, for the good of this grand old race. But I'm not irrational. Marco Andretti feels more confident going into this race than ever before. And he's better here than anywhere else.
"Andretti Wins Indy 500" would be news flashed around the world, a headline in newspapers from Tokyo to Paris to Madrid to Buenos Aires. It would be as much of a jump-start for this race's prestige as any result you could ask for.
Franchitti is as good as they come at surviving 500 miles, but the Ganassi team's Honda power might not quite match the Chevrolets in the pinch.
It's a little precarious to pick Castroneves third, because the likelihood is, if he's near the win he'll get it. But once in a while Team Penske has a discombobulated day in its pits, and I'm sensing this might be one of those days. Then, Castroneves would salvage the best result for the team.
-- Ed Hinton
Marco Andretti hasn't done much this year, but he was beaming with confidence this week.
He truly believes he's the guy to beat. So does Scott Dixon, who listed Marco's car the favorite on Thursday. And it's time for the Andretti jinx to end.
Maybe Dixon was trying to lull Marco into over-confidence. Scott isn't the most ecxiting guy in the series, but he definitely is one of the best drivers. He rarely makes a mistake, which is critical to winning at Indy over 800 turns in three hours.
Helio Castroneves wants that fourth win here to join the legends. He has the car to do it with one of the Team Penske Chevys, which haven't lost yet this season.
-- Terry Blount
We know Will Power can dominate a road course.
Why should we think he can duplicate that success on the massive Indy rectangle? Because Power is feeling more confident and more comfortable than he ever has in his Penske machine. He finally can quiet his critics with a victory in the biggest race of all.
The famous Andretti clan has failed to win at Indy since grandfather Mario's only one in 1969. Marco Andretti's confidence is soaring. He came oh so close in 2006, and he would love nothing more than to end the family's 43-year jinx in the grand ol' race.
We knew Dario Franchitti, a two-time Indy winner, would eventually find the speed. That happened on Carb Day. But will his new Honda engine keep pace with the Chevys in Sunday's searing heat? It'll be close.
-- Joe Breeze
I'm trying not to let Carb Day practice influence me too much.
But honestly, I felt like the Target Chip Ganassi Racing gang would get things figured out by raceday anyway. Carb Day just told me to move Dario Franchitti up a spot.
Noticeably absent from my podium is the power trio from Penske Racing. Pole-sitter Ryan Briscoe, Will Power -- who has won the three races leading into Indy -- and three-time 500 winner Helio Castroneves would be easy picks, but I'm shying away from them this time.
-- K. Lee Davis
Marco Andretti has three top-three finishes in the Indianapolis 500, and I reckon this is the year the kid will finally bury the so-called Andretti curse and win the big one.
He's qualified a career-best fourth, and in the seventh year of his Indy car career (!) he knows that people are watching and judging. Marco talks a lot about silencing the doubters, and in the space of about three hours on Sunday, he has the opportunity to do just that.
I'm pretty sure the Chevys will outrun the Hondas, but I'm going to pick Scott Dixon for second place. And I expect Will Power to have his most competitive run to date in the Indy 500, rounding out the podium.
New track record? Maybe the temperature, which is expected to approach 100 degrees. The record of 92 degrees was set in 1937.
-- John Oreovicz
Here's a voter-by-voter breakdown of the results:
Pick Your Podium
ESPN.com writers Terry Blount, Ed Hinton and John Oreovicz as well as editors Joe Breeze and K. Lee Davis give their predictions for the top-three finishers in the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500.
|Finish||Terry Blount||Joe Breeze||K. Lee Davis||Ed Hinton||John Oreovicz|
|1.||Marco Andretti||Will Power||Dario Franchitti||Marco Andretti||Marco Andretti|
|2.||Scott Dixon||Marco Andretti||Marco Andretti||Dario Franchitti||Scott Dixon|
|3.||Helio Castroneves||Dario Franchitti||Scott Dixon||Helio Castroneves||Will Power|
MORE RACING HEADLINES
- IndyCar officials aim for higher safe speeds
- Record-tying 4 women in the field for Indy 500
- Danica: Running Indy 500 'less and less likely'
- Indy 500 security tightened after Boston attack
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
96TH INDIANAPOLIS 500-MILE RACE
The 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 is in the books. New stars, new cars and the venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway came together for a thriller as a great tradition ended its 101st year.
Monday, May 28• Hinton: The best of his generation
• Video: Franchitti sits down with Musburger
Race day, May 27• Hinton: Franchitti simply flawless • Blount: Wheldon friends finish 1-2-3
• Oreovicz: Honda answers the bell
• Recap: Franchitti wins his third | Results
• Video: Indianapolis 500 highlights
• Video: Franchitti emotional after third win
• Video: Sato disappointed with crash
• Video: Kanaan falls short again
• Racing Live! Indy 500 rewind
Saturday, May 26• Blount: Two stars gone, many new ones ready
• Hinton: Magic remains in Indy
• ESPN.com staff's podium picks
• Newton: Dream weekend for Penske?
Carb Day, May 25• Oreovicz: Franchitti, Dixon make a charge
• Blount: Five feel-good stories for the 500
• Blount blog: How about Andretti-Rahal rivalry?
• Oreovicz chat wrap
• Andrews: Legge racing from behind
• Wilson blog: Martina McBride gets the call
• Guerrieri wins Freedom 100
• Racing Live! Indy 500 on ESPN.com, Sunday, noon ET
Features• Hinton: One-on-one with Mario Andretti
• Oreovicz: Handicapping the 500 field
• Blount: The heartache lingers
• Oreovicz: Briscoe puts Penske on pole
• James: Indy 500 on Danica's mind
• Oreovicz: Pole Day surprise?
• Oreovicz: Young guns taking charge
• Oreovicz: Storylines to watch at Indy
News & Notes• Briscoe wins Indy 500 pole | Starting grid
• Food Network's Fieri to drive pace car
• American drivers impress in practice
• Andrettis split up for Indy race-day radio calls
• Jay Penske needs engines for two cars at Indy
• Dario Franchitti to run No. 50 at Indy
• Herta Autosport chooses Honda
• Pagenaud hits bird during practice
• Jim Nabors to miss Indy 500
Video• Indy 500 memories: Wheldon thrills in 2011
• Indy 500 preview
• Helio says he's ready
• The Andretti-Foyt rivalry
• Franchitti's take on Dan Wheldon, Indy
• Indy 500 memories: Hornish thrills in 2006
• A.J. Foyt a NASCAR legend, too
• Indy 500 memories: Wheldon's 2005 victory
• Indy 500 memories: Danica leads a lap
• Indy 500 memories: Helio goes back-to-back
• Analysis: Indy 500 qualifying
• Pole Day: Briscoe stars for Penske
• Indy 500 memories: Little Al holds on
• Indy 500 memories: Mears wins his fourth
• Indy 500 memories: Unser vs. Goodyear
• Indy 500 memories: Mears joins elite club
• Indy 500 memories: Foyt wins fourth
• Indy 500 memories: Sullivan spins and wins
Indy 500 Rewind• 2011 Flashback: Wheldon's Cinderella story
• 2010 Flashback: Dario's all the way back
• 2009 Flashback: Castroneves wins again
• 2008 Flashback: Quiet Dixon makes noise • 2007 Flashback: Franchitti comes up big
• 2006 Flashback: Hornish gets his "Holy Grail"