A starting grid of 33 drivers will compete for the 2019 Indy 500 on Sunday, with Simon Pagenaud on pole position for the sixth leg of this year's IndyCar Series.
It's been 10 years since a driver won this race from first on the grid, but Pagenaud is looking to end the drought after recording his first victory of 2019 at the IndyCar Grand Prix in his last outing.
Josef Newgarden leads the driver standings ahead of the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, but he faces a difficult task if he's to win from eighth place. That said, he is still among the leading favourites, per Oddschecker.com.
He sits one grid place ahead of Alexander Rossi—third in the IndyCar Series standings—who is also in that top bracket of odds leaders around 8-1, Pagenaud included.
It's less common for a champion to emerge from outside the top 10, though five of the seven winners since 2012 have started 11th or further back.
Date: Sunday, May 26
Time: 12:45 p.m. ET/5:45 p.m. BST
Indy 500 Starting Grid, Lineup (all times in mph)
1. No. 22 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 229.992
2. No. 20 Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 229.889
3. No. 21 Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 229.826
4. No. 63 Ed Jones, Chevrolet, 229.646
5. No. 88 Colton Herta, Honda, 229.086
6. No. 12 Will Power, Chevrolet, 228.645
7. No. 18 Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 228.621
8. No. 2 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 228.396
9. No. 27 Alexander Rossi, Honda, 228.247
10. No. 98 Marco Andretti, Honda, 228.756
11. No. 25 Conor Daly, Honda, 228.617
12. No. 3 Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 228.523
13. No. 7 Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 228.511
14. No. 30 Takuma Sato, Honda, 228.300
15. No. 33 James Davison, Honda, 228.273
16. No. 14 Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 228.120
17. No. 15 Graham Rahal, Honda, 228.104
18. No. 9 Scott Dixon, Honda, 228.100
19. No. 77 Oriol Servia, Honda, 227.991
20. No. 23 Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 227.915
21. No. 48 JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 227.908
22. No. 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 227.877
23. No. 19 Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 227.731
24. No. 4 Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 227.717
25. No. 60 Jack Harvey, Honda, 227.695
26. No. 42 Jordan King, Honda, 227.502
27. No. 81 Ben Hanley, Chevrolet, 227.482
28. No. 26 Zach Veach, Honda, 227.341
29. No. 10 Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 227.297
30. No. 39 Pippa Mann, Chevrolet, 227.244
31. No. 24 Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 227.740
32. No. 5 James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 227.543
33. No. 32 Kyle Kaiser, Chevrolet, 227.372
It's an intimidating task to lead the Indy 500 from the first flag, but Pagenaud will attempt to do what no driver has managed in a decade by turning that position into victory.
The Team Penske driver has finished top 10 three times at the Indy 500. NBC commentators sung Pagenaud's praises after he clocked the fastest time in qualifying by 0.003 miles per hour:
No European has won the race since Britons Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon won three between 2010 and 2012. Since then, the United States has produced two winners, while Brazil, Japan, Colombia and Australia have each produced one apiece.
Scott Dixon knows what it feels like to win the Indy 500 following his triumph in 2008, when he started on pole.
The New Zealander and other former winners of the Indy 500 race spoke to Mobil 1 The Grid to preview the 103rd edition of the race:
Mobil 1 The Grid @Mobil1TheGrid
To Be An Indy 500 Winner – Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Marco Andretti look ahead to the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. https://t.co/qL082xpnSl #Indy500 @IndyCar @IMS @TonyKanaan @ScottDixon9 @HinchTown @MarcoAndretti @RyanHunterReay https://t.co/G4AXTCHKZH
Dixon has a much greater challenge on his hands this time around as he lines up 18th, a position from which no driver has ever won.
That said, Ryan Hunter-Reay—22nd on Sunday's grid—won from 19th five years ago, and Wheldon recorded back-to-back runner-up finishes from 18th in 2009-10.
Will Power won last year's Indy 500, but no driver has managed to win the Indy in successive years since Brazilian legend Helio Castroneves did so in 2001 and 2002.
The Australian sits sixth in the IndyCar Series standings and is yet to win a race this year, his best finish being third place in the first event of the season.
The Indy 500 has a habit of disregarding form, however, and Power told NBC's Kim Coon of his affection for this annual fixture:
Dixon traditionally hasn't performed well at the Indy 500 when starting outside the top 10, and only three of his 11 top-10 finishes have come from those circumstances. What's more, 18th is the lowest he's ever started at Indianapolis.
Nevertheless, the IndyCar Series' second-place driver has shown tremendously consistent form with four top-three finishes in five races this season, and Dixon packs the potential to spring a shock.
Prediction: Scott Dixon to win the 2019 Indy 500.