Indy 500 2020: Starting Grid, TV Schedule, Lineup, Odds and Pre-Race Storylines

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 23, 2020

The top of the Borg-Warner Trophy  complete with checkered flag mask, is shown on the start/finish line before the the practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be unlike any other in IndyCar history.

Typically held in late May, the race was moved to the second-last Sunday in August because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the changes don't stop there.

The Greatest Spectacle in Racing will have noticeably fewer fans in attendance this year, with the pandemic meaning the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is unable to host fans. IMS previously hoped it could have a 25 percent capacity but cited conversations with state and county officials in reversing the decision August 4.

That's not to say there isn't plenty to watch for when the drivers take to the track Sunday. Here's a look at what to keep an eye on when the biggest race of the summer goes green.

                     

Indy 500 Fast Nine

Row 1

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1. No. 98, Marco Andretti, Honda, 231.068

2. No. 9, Scott Dixon, Honda, 231.051

3. No. 30, Takuma Sato, Honda, 230.725

        

Row 2

4. No. 21, Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet,  230.704

5. No. 28, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 230.648

6. No. 29, James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 229.870

        

Row 3

7. No. 55, Alex Palou, Honda, 229.676

8. No. 15, Graham Rahal, Honda, 229.380

9. No. 27, Alexander Rossi, Honda, 229.234

All speeds mph. Full grid available at Indianapolis Motor Speedway website.

                 

Notable Odds

Scott Dixon: +425 (Bet $100 to win $425)

Alexander Rossi: +750

Ryan Hunter-Reay: +800

Marco Andretti: +900

Will Power: +1000

Simon Pagenaud: +1100

Takuma Sato: +1500

Graham Rahal: +2200

Helio Castroneves: +2500

Ed Carpenter: +4000

Via Caesars Palace.

                 

Date: Sunday, August 23

Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

TV Info: NBC coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET

Live Stream: NBC Sports app (U.S.)

         

Andretti on Pole

It's been 33 years since a member of the Andretti family began the Indy 500 on pole. That streak ends Sunday.

Marco Andretti shocked plenty of racing fans by grabbing the lead position and moving one step closer to breaking the so-called Andretti Curse. No member of the family has won the Borg-Warner Trophy since Marco's grandfather, Mario, kissed the bricks in 1969.

Marco has started in the Fast Nine on nine occasions at the Indy 500 but missed out in both 2018 and 2019. Andretti placed second in his rookie year of 2006, but he hasn't made the top three since 2014.

While the question is asked every spring, it's never been uttered in the summer, so it bears repeating: Is this the year the Andretti Curse ends?

                  

Former Champions Flood the Field

Eight former Indy 500 winners will take to the track Sunday, and given the unusual nature of this year's race, it wouldn't be a surprise if one of them comes away with the checkered flag again.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan, Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato are all veteran drivers with plenty of experience at IMS.

How much will that come into play with the race having been moved to the end of the summer rather than the beginning of it?

            

Track Conditions

One of the benefits of the Indianapolis 500 taking place at the end of May is the heat hasn't become too unbearable and the odds of a nice, cloudy day keeping the track cool are much higher.

That won't be the case Sunday.

Temperatures are expected to remain in the mid-80s for the majority of the race, per AccuWeather. How drivers handle the heat will have a lot to do with who ends up in Victory Lane once the 500 miles have been completed.