COMMENTARY | Top winners of the 2013 Indy 500 will take to the podium, but only one driver gets to have their face sculpted on the Borg-Warner Trophy. Here are five contenders that have high odds at winning the Indianapolis 500 motorsports race over the Memorial Day weekend.
Several of these names are no-brainers. But at least one IndyCar Series driver may shock you.
With the media establishment squarely behind the rookie from Colombia, it's not surprising Carlos made my list of favorites.
Racing with Team Andretti Autosport, the 21-year-old began single seat racing in 2007 with Formula TR Pro Series. In just four races, he captured a podium victory and went on to finish fifth at the end of the season.
He logged some impressive finishes with Formula and racked up points in the Eurocup standings.
In 2012, Carlos Munoz set his eyes on the United States with Firestone Indy Lights. Of 12 starts, he captured two wins, a pole and five podiums.
Munoz ran a qualifying speed of 228.342 at the Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway that placed him first among all rookies and second overall.
Unless he makes a decent showing in a crowded pack of seasoned drivers, Munoz will just be remembered as a one-trick-pony with a blazing qualifying round.
He doesn't just have a famous last name; Marco ran the third-fastest qualifying speed (228.261). Obviously, his pedigree places him in the conversation about potential Indy 500 winners.
Of Marco's 118 IZOD IndyCar Series starts, he has two victories, two poles, 29 top-5s and 54 top-10s.
At the 2012 Indy 500, Marco led 59 laps from a fourth starting position. Again, he has great positioning on the oval track and is expected make set an early pace and let his RC Cola Chevrolet do the talking.
Helio Castroneves (three-time Indy 500 winner)
The 38-year-old Brazilian-born racer aka "Spider-Man," ran a qualifying time of 227.762. While it is far off the fastest time this year, the Team Penske driver has been there before.
Of his 182 starts, 22 wins and 33 poles, undoubtedly, the most impressive victories for Helio were at the Indianapolis 500.
His first victory at Indy was in 2001, which was the same year he won "Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year."
He won the next year in 2002 and then again in 2009, which made him the 9th three-time Indy 500 winner. He also became the first foreign-born driver to win the honors.
And to prove he has a knack for winning, Helio Castroneves won the fifth season of "Dancing With the Stars."
The 32-year-old New Zealander captured an Indianapolis 500 checkered flag in 2008, having started from the pole position.
Dixon is a consummate professional with a long history of single seat racing. Unlike many racers that etch a win on their resumes, but fail to finish in future in the money races, Dixon has consistency on his side.
Of his 166 starts, Dixon has 29 wins and 18 poles. Twice in his racing career, Scott Dixon set the record for winning the most races in a row (28).
His storied career resembles that of a driver many years his senior.
Although his qualifying time this year (226.158) is average at best, Dixon has the experience, winning team and car to move up in position quickly.
Simona de Silvestro
At first glance, it may appear Simona was thrown in the mix as a consolation prize, to mix up the field of possible Indy 500 winners.
Sure, Danica Patrick is the closest example women can use to bolster their claim that they belong in the field of contenders.
Gender aside, Simona de Silvestro is a serious contender and has her resume to back it up. In my opinion, her qualifying time of 225.226 doesn't tell the whole story about her potential.
Of the 51 starts in the IZOD IndyCar Series, de Silvestro has one top-5 and eight top-10s. On five different occasions, she led laps.
In 2009, Simona also became the most decorated female driver in series history.
I imagine the 2010 "Rookie of the Year" is not called the "Iron Maiden" for nothing.
2013 Indianapolis 500 date, start of race
Date: Sunday, May 26, 2013
Start Time: 12:12 p.m. ET
Bradley is a professional writer, journalist, sportswriter, and avid fan of the NBA, Motorsports, NFL, PGA and all things tennis.
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- Indy 500
- Helio Castroneves
- Scott Dixon