Indy 500 Qualifying: Breaking Down the Odds of Race's Top Qualifiers

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IMay 26, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 20:  Ryan Briscoe the pole sitter for the Indianpolis 500 and driver of the IZOD Team Penske car poses on the track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 20, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Winning pole position as the top qualifier at the Indy 500 is a prestigious honor, but history shows us that it's a rare occasion that the top-qualifying racer then goes on to win the race.

There have been 100 Indy 500 races before this year's event. Out of that number, the winner has been the pole sitter only 20 times, according to Furthermore, there have been 56 winners in the history of this race who have won after qualifying outside the top five.

With that in mind, I'm going to take a look at the odds that this year's top qualifiers have what it takes to win the race.


1. Briscoe, Ryan, 226.484 

Briscoe hasn't won in the IndyCar Series in almost two years, his last victory coming at the Texas Motor Speedway on June 5, 2010. Since that time, he's only finished on the podium two other times, both coming in 2010, according to

His best finish so far this year was a fifth-place finish in the first race of the season at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. 

Briscoe will need to drive on a razor's edge the entire time if he has any hope of winning the 2012 Indianapolis 500.

Odds of Winning: 10/1


2. Hinchcliffe, James, 226.481 

Hinchcliffe is a relative newcomer to the IZOD IndyCar Series, but he's far from unknown. He was the 2011 Rookie of the Year award winner.

He has yet to win a race thus far in his young career and only has one career podium finish, but his strong showing as a qualifier for this race is indicative of the talent he possesses.

Odds of Winning: 20/1


3. Hunter-Reay, Ryan, 226.240 

Hunter-Reay has come awfully close to breaking out with a win thus far in 2012, finishing two races on the podium and another as a top-10 racer, according to

He is a three-time winner in the IZOD IndyCar Series, and his recent success leads me to believe that he has a good chance to overtake heavy favorite Will Power in this year's race.

If there is anyone out of Row 1 with a chance to drink the milk at the finish line, it's going to be Hunter-Reay.

Odds of Winning: 5/1