Indy 500 2020: Complete Starting Grid, Lineup, Race Schedule and Predictions

Jake RillSenior Writer IAugust 22, 2020

Marco Andretti climbs into his car during the final practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The Indianapolis 500 is a Memorial Day tradition. Every year, one of the most illustrious races in motorsports takes place in late May as the beginning of summer nears. Except in 2020.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year's Indy 500 will take place outside May for the first time since the marquee event's first race in 1911. Instead, 33 drivers will converge on Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon for this year's edition. 

Here's everything you need to know for this year's race, along with predictions for how it will unfold this year.


2020 Indianapolis 500 Information

Date: Sunday, Aug. 23

Time: 1 p.m. ET



Starting Lineup

Row 1: Marco Andretti (231.068 mph), Scott Dixon (231.051), Takuma Sato (230.725)

Row 2: Rinus VeeKay (230.704), Ryan Hunter-Reay (230.648), James Hinchcliffe (229.870)

Row 3: Alex Palou (229.676), Graham Rahal (229.380), Alexander Rossi (229.234)

Row 4: Colton Herta (230.775), Marcus Ericsson (230.566), Spencer Pigot (230.539)

Row 5: Josef Newgarden (230.296), Felix Rosenqvist (230.254), Pato O'Ward (230.213)

Row 6: Ed Carpenter (230.211), Zach Veach (229.961), Conor Daly (229.955)

Row 7: Santino Ferrucci (229.924), Jack Harvey (229.861), Oliver Askew (229.760)

Row 8: Will Power (229.701), Tony Kanaan (229.154), Dalton Kellett (228.880)

Row 9: Simon Pagenaud (228.836), Fernando Alonso (228.768), James Davison (228.747)

Row 10: Helio Castroneves (228.373), Charlie Kimball (227.758), Max Chilton (227.303)

Row 11: Sage Karam (227.099), JR Hildebrand (226.341), Ben Hanley (222.917)


Race Predictions

Andretti can't end the family curse

Although Andretti is one of the most illustrious last names in motorsports history, the family hasn't had much success driving to victory in the Indianapolis 500. In fact, the only Andretti to win the marquee event was Mario in 1969.

Marco Andretti, Mario's grandson, has come close, though. He finished second in his Indy 500 debut in 2006 and has finished third three times, most recently in 2014. 

This year could be one of Andretti's best chances to join his grandfather as an Indy 500 champion. He became the first member of his family to earn the pole position for the race since his grandfather in 1988, so he'll be starting at the front of the field.

However, Andretti hasn't won an IndyCar Series race since 2011, and he's gotten off to a bit of a slow start in the delayed 2020 season, posting only one top-10 finish in six races. It would be an incredible story (and he's raced well at Indianapolis over the years), but the curse will continue in 2020 as Andretti will fall back at least a few spots early and won't be able to overtake a strong field of challengers.


No repeat, and no new four-time winner

Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves are both looking to make some history in this year's race. But they're both starting near the back of the field, so it might be difficult to accomplish.

Last year, Pagenaud started on the pole, then led 116 of 200 laps to earn his first career Indy 500 win. No driver has won the race in back-to-back years since Castroneves in 2001 and 2002, and only five drivers have ever done it (Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, Bill Vukovich and Al Unser Sr.).

Castroneves hopes to join an even more exclusive group. He's a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, last taking the crown in 2009. The record for most Indy 500 victories is four, a mark held by A.J. Foyt, Unser and Rick Mears.

But Pagenaud is starting in Row 9, with Castroneves directly behind him in Row 10. There have only been four winners to start worse Row 9, which gives both potential history-makers long odds to overcome.

Both are talented drivers, but neither will notch another Indy 500 victory this year.


Dixon becomes two-time Indy 500 champion

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

It's been more than a decade since Scott Dixon won his lone Indianapolis 500. In 2008, he started on pole, led 115 of 200 laps and drove to victory. And although he's had plenty of IndyCar Series success since (he's a five-time IndyCar Series champion, and his 46 career wins rank third all-time), Dixon has only once tasted the milk at Indianapolis.

That will change in 2020. Dixon has not only made a strong start this season, notching three wins and five top-five finishes in the first six races, but he's starting in second Sunday and will have the strong track position that is so valuable at this event.

Dixon has had a fast car all week, including during Friday's Carb Day final practice, when he posted the second-fastest time of the day (224.646 mph).

"The car was pretty comfortable," Dixon said, according to Matt Weaver of Autoweek.com. "Some of those laps you kind of get lucky and roll into it. Threw out four or five 224s. The car was pulling up pretty well."

But on Sunday, it will be Dixon's skill, not luck, that leads to him becoming the 20th driver to win the Indianapolis 500 more than once.