Indy 500 Lineup 2020: Starting Grid and Breakdown of Sunday's Thrilling Event

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 20, 2020

Marco Andretti drives into turn one during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The front row of the 2020 Indianapolis 500 starting grid features two previous winners and a driver who has chased after the illustrious prize for over a decade. 

Marco Andretti, who is looking for his first Indy 500 win, will lead the field to the green flag Sunday alongside 2008 champion Scott Dixon and 2017 winner Takuma Sato. 

The first four rows are dominated by Honda vehicles. Only one Chevrolet car will begin the race in the top 12 positions. 

Defending champion Simon Pagenaud is one of the Chevy drivers who will have to work his way up from the back of the pack to have a chance to contend over 500 miles. 


Indianapolis 500 Starting Grid

Row 1: Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato

Row 2: Rinus VeeKay, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe

Row 3: Alex Palou, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi

Row 4: Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson, Spencer Pigot

Row 5: Josef Newgarden, Felix Rosenqvist, Pato O'Ward

Row 6: Ed Carpenter, Zach Veach, Conor Daly

Row 7: Santino Ferrucci, Jack Harvey, Oliver Askew

Row 8: Will Power, Tony Kanaan, Dalton Kellett

Row 9: Simon Pagenaud, Fernando Alonso, James Davison

Row 10: Helio Castroneves, Charlie Kimball, Max Chilton

Row 11: Sage Karam, JR Hildebrand, Ben Hanley



Andretti is the first member of his third-generation racing family to land on the Indy 500 pole in 33 years. 

He is looking to break the Andretti Curse that has plagued his family since his grandfather, Mario Andretti, won the race in 1969.

Despite decades worth of Indy 500 starts, Marco and his father, Michael, have not reached Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

Andretti had the fastest car during Friday's practice session, Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's Fast Nine Shootout pole competition. 

The 33-year-old told NBCSports.com's Nate Ryan that this is one of the best cars he has had going into the Indy 500: 

"I mean, as far as like raw horsepower and dominance through the month, it's been a whirlwind of a start for me. It's like almost every time we go out on track, we can almost go to the top when we want. It's almost too good to be true. So from that standpoint, 2012 we were gone in the lead. 2013, we were fast, but as far as horsepower, Honda really brought it."

Andretti is looking to become the second driver in a row to win the event from pole position. 

A high starting spot has been a good indicator of success recently. Sato won in 2017 from fourth, and Will Power started third in 2018 on his way to victory. 

Even though he has the fastest car, Andretti needs to put in a near-perfect race to fend off the experienced competitors around him.

Dixon is a five-time IndyCar Series champion, but the New Zealand native hasn't won the 500 since 2008. His four-lap average Sunday was only 0.017 miles per hour slower than Andretti. 

If the 40-year-old does not turn into Andretti's top competitor, it could be another Honda driver, such as Sato or Graham Rahal. 

Honda had 11 of the 12 fastest cars in qualifying, with Rinus VeeKay being the only Chevrolet driver to break that dominance. The 19-year-old, a rookie from the Netherlands, starts fourth on the grid. 

Josef Newgarden had the fastest Chevrolet of the manufacturer's top drivers, but the series' reigning champion was 0.772 seconds off Andretti's pace. 

If Chevrolet's engines can be adjusted during the week, it could make the race competitive between the two companies. 

Even if that is the case, Newgarden, Power and others may have to be more aggressive or use a different pit strategy to maneuver their way up the field. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com.