Indy 500 2021: Latest Race Odds and Sleeper Contenders
Scott Dixon will lead the 33-car field to the green flag for the 2021 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.
The driver of the No. 9 Honda is also expected to be one of the top contenders to win, as he will be looking to earn his second career Indy 500 victory, and his first since 2008.
However, there will be some other strong competitors looking to prevent Dixon from racing to victory. So it's far from a sure thing that the 40-year-old could win, even though his car has been the fastest since arriving at Indianapolis for the sport's marquee event.
A pair of youngsters will be starting alongside Dixon on the front row, with Colton Herta (21 years old) and Rinus VeeKay (20) both looking to win the Indy 500 for the first time. But there are also some sleeper contenders throughout the rest of the field.
Here are the latest Indianapolis 500 odds, followed by a look at three sleepers to keep an eye on Sunday.
Latest Indianapolis 500 Odds
Scott Dixon: +350 (bet $100 to win $350)
Colton Herta: +700
Patricio O'Ward: +1000
Josef Newgarden: +1400
Alex Palou: +1400
Alexander Rossi: +1400
Tony Kanaan: +1600
Rinus VeeKay: +1600
Graham Rahal: +1800
Marcus Ericsson: +2000
Takuma Sato: +2000
Ryan Hunter-Reay: +2200
Simon Pagenaud: +2200
Ed Carpenter: +2500
Will Power: +2500
Helio Castroneves: +3300
Complete odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook
Will Power knows what it feels like to drink celebratory milk in Victory Lane as the winner of the Indianapolis 500. He won the race in 2018, becoming the first Australian to do so after leading for 59 laps en route to victory. But if he is going to win again this year, he'll have to overcome adversity.
The 40-year-old almost didn't make it into the 2021 Indy 500. As one of the five slowest qualifiers, he had to participate in the Last Chance Shootout, with the top three drivers from that qualifying session advancing to the race. Despite hitting the wall in Turn 2 during his fourth and final lap, he advanced and will be starting 32nd on Sunday.
"Very, very happy and feel lucky to be in the position I am and lucky to be in the race," Power said, per Bob Kravitz of The Athletic.
Now that Power is in the race, why not go out and win it? There's never been a driver to win the Indianapolis 500 from a starting position worse than 28th, so the Australian would make history if he claims victory.
However, Power is an experienced driver who has finished in the top 10 at five of the past seven Indy 500s. Don't count out the No. 12 Chevrolet making its way up the field.
There have been 10 drivers who have won the Indianapolis 500 at the first attempt. Scott McLaughlin, who will be starting from the middle of Row 6 in the 17th spot, will be looking to join that group on Sunday by becoming the first driver since Alexander Rossi (2016) to achieve the feat.
Team Penske didn't have a great showing in qualifying, and McLaughlin has the best starting spot of the team's four drivers. But he could be a driver to watch, despite having only six races of IndyCar Series experience (which include finishing in the top eight in each of his past three).
While the 27-year-old hasn't been in an IndyCar for long, he's an experienced driver, having won three consecutive Supercars championships from 2018-20. So the New Zealander is no stranger to success.
"I think Scott has as good a chance as any rookie here has ever had," Team Penske president Tim Cindric said, per David Malsher of Autosport.
McLaughlin may be an IndyCar rookie, but he's certainly not a racing rookie. And because of that, keep an eye on the No. 3 Chevrolet on Sunday.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Whenever Juan Pablo Montoya shows up to the Indianapolis 500, he has an opportunity to win.
The Colombian won the event in his first try in 2000, when he raced to victory from the No. 2 starting spot. Then, he didn't race the Indy 500 again until he competed four years in a row from 2014-17. During that stretch, he won in 2015 and finished in the top six two other times.
Now, Montoya is returning to the Indianapolis 500 to try to become the 11th driver to win the race three times. He made his IndyCar Series return at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 15, when he finished 21st in his first race in the series in nearly four years. Montoya will now start 24th in Sunday's Indy 500.
"Honestly, I'm at this point in my career where I'm really happy to be driving, excited to be competitive," the 45-year-old said, per Jerry Bonkowski of Autoweek. "And that's really what it's always been for me. I mean, go get in the car, go fast and that's it."
Because of his starting spot and time away, the former Formula 1 driver can be considered a sleeper in this year's Indy 500, especially with so many talented names near the front of the field.
However, Montoya is more than capable of taking the No. 86 Chevrolet to the front. And perhaps then he will find a way to make it to Victory Lane at Indianapolis once again.
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