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Indy 500 2018: Starting Grid, TV Schedule, Lineup, Odds and Pre-Race Storylines

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 27, 2018

Ed Carpenter leads Will Power, of Australia, into the first turn during the final practice session for the IndyCar Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis Friday, May 25, 2018. (AP Photo/R Brent Smith)
R Brent Smith/Associated Press

One of the fastest and most electric events in all of sports takes place Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 102nd edition of the Indianapolis 500 should be as exciting as the first 101 races, as one of the most talented fields in race history fights it out to earn an opportunity to kiss the bricks at the finish line and take a sip of milk in the winner's circle.

Six former champions are in the 33-driver field, with Helio Castroneves being the one in the group with multiple Indy 500 championships.

Ed Carpenter begins the race on the pole, while Simon Pagenaud and Will Power guide the field to the green flag alongside him in Row 1.

In addition to the previous champions, the list of contenders features an array of talented drivers who dominated the IndyCar series but haven't yet broken through at the Indy 500.

              

TV Schedule

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TV: ABC

Start of Coverage: Noon ET

Green Flag: 12:19 p.m. ET

           

Starting Grid

Row 1: Ed Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power

Row 2: Josef Newgarden, Sebastien Bourdais, Spencer Pigot

Row 3: Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon

Row 4: Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist, Marco Andretti 

Row 5: Zachary Claman Demelo, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Charlie Kimball

Row 6: Takuma Sato, Kyle Kaiser, Robert Wickens

Row 7: James Davison, Max Chilton, Carlos Munoz

Row 8: Gabby Chaves, Stefan Wilson, Sage Karam

Row 9: Zach Veach, Oriol Servia, JR Hildebrand

Row 10: Jay Howard, Ed Jones, Graham Rahal

Row 11: Jack Harvey, Alexander Rossi, Conor Daly

           

Indy 500 Odds

Alexander Rossi (+800; bet $100 to win $800) 

Helio Castroneves (+1,000) 

Josef Newgarden (+1,000) 

Will Power (+1,000) 

Ed Carpenter (+1,200) 

Ryan Hunter-Reay (+1,200) 

Scott Dixon (+1,200)

Sebastien Bourdais (+1,200) 

Simon Pagenaud (+1,200) 

Marco Andretti (+1,500) 

Tony Kanaan (+1,500) 

Sage Karam (+2,000) 

Carlos Munoz (+2,500)

Danica Patrick (+2,500) 

Graham Rahal (+3,000) 

Robert Wickens (+3,000) 

Takuma Sato (+3,000) 

Charlie Kimball (+3,000) 

Ed Jones (+4,000)

Gabby Chaves (+4,000) 

JR Hildebrand (+4,000) 

Spencer Pigot (+4,000) 

Stefan Wilson (+4,000) 

Zach Veach (+4,000) 

Jay Howard (+8,000) 

Matheus Leist (+8,000) 

Zachary Claman DeMelo (+8,000) 

Jack Harvey (+10,000)

Oriol Servia (+10,000)

Conor Daly (+15,000) 

James Davison (+20,000) 

Kyle Kaiser (+20,000) 

Max Chilton (+25,000)

Odds according to OddsShark.

      

Pre-Race Storylines

Chevrolet Attempting to Become Dominant Manufacturer

Honda has been the dominant manufacturer at the Indy 500 since the turn of the century, but the trend appears to be changing based off the practice and qualifying sessions in recent weeks. 

Chevrolet put eight cars in the top 10 starting positions, including all three drivers on Row 1.

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Since Helio Castroneves won with a Chevrolet package in 2002 for Team Penske, Tony Kannan in 2013 and Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015 have been the only Chervolet-powered champions.

If the Chevrolet cars are capable of maintaining the same level of dominance from qualifying, we will see most of those machines headline the top 10 positions on track.

However, there is a chance Honda takes control of the race once again, as talented drivers like Kanaan, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato and Marco Andretti work their way up the field.

While it does matter how much power a car contains in its engine, the drivers are still the ones who navigate the vehicles, and Honda possesses the past two Indy 500 champions in Rossi and Sato, as well as 2008 winner Scott Dixon.

             

Top 7 Starters in Search of 1st Indy 500 Win  

The third straight first-time Indy 500 champion could come from the top seven starting positions, as each of the successful drivers is looking to add the missing piece to their resume.

Ed Carpenter sits on the pole, while teammates Spencer Pigot and Danica Patrick begin the race in sixth and seventh, respectively.

Among the drivers in the first two rows, Josef Newgarden, Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power all have victories in the first five races of the IndyCar series season.

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Second-place starter Simon Pagenaud is no slouch, either, as he comes into Sunday's race off a pair of top-10 finishes.

Since every inch of separation is beneficial at the Indy 500, expect the group of drivers in the first three rows to attempt to break away from the field in the first 50 laps.

If that occurs, the jockeying for position will become more intense and an emphasis will be put on pit strategy, as each team looks to gain the upper hand for stretches of the race.

A first-time champion could emerge from further down the starting order, but the collection of seven drivers at the top of the starting grid appears to have the best shot at achieving that feat given its components' respective track records.

              

Statistics obtained from IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.comFollow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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