Indy 500 Carb Day Update

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This is it folks: all the information you’re going to get before the 105th Running of the Indy 500 on NBC Sunday, May 29 at 12:45 ET.

Carb Day is in the books, which was the IndyCar drivers’ last chance to tune on their cars ahead of the Sunday’s race and Scott Dixon (+380) further solidified himself as the favorite. Posting a lap of 228.323 mph, he easily outpaced the field by more than two-tenths of a second. Among the five fastest drivers, he spent the least time on course, which suggest he was happy with his car.

“Everybody felt like King Kong out there with the weather conditions,” Dixon said at IndyCar.com [https://www.indycar.com/News/2021/05/05-28-CarbDay-RainShort]. “That may give you an indication of how the race will be. If it’s like this, it’s going to be mentally draining. There’s going to be a lot of action going on.”


Bettors have been waiting to see if Team Penske’s assertion that they would race better than they practiced was true. If Final Practice is an indicator, they did have an ace up their sleeves – perhaps even four of them.

Simon Pagenaud (+2200) and Josef Newgarden (+1600) took the next two slots with the driver of the No. 22 turning in a speed of 227.157 mph and the No. 2 going half a hundredth slower at 226.856 mph. Both drivers posted their fast times late in the session. Pagenaud’s best lap came on Lap 57 of 89; Newgarden’s at Lap 88 of 93. That both drivers spent so much time on the track is also a good indicator because it shows they were working on a lot of things to find that speed.

With odds greater than 15/1, they have a lot of Return on Investment (ROI).

Conor Daly (+5000) has some ground to make up after qualifying 19th on the grid. But 500 miles is a long time to catch the leaders when one has the fourth-fastest speed. His top speed of 226.399 mph shows that Ed Carpenter Racing has a special connection to the Brickyard. His track record is not on his side, however. In seven previous starts, Daly has only one top-10.

But Daly may have a little extra speed because he did not want to be as aggressive as his competitors.

“It was like we were sacrificing our vehicles for a prize today,” Daly said. “Did you win anything today? I didn’t.”

CLICK HERE FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF CARB DAY SPEEDS

Marco Andretti (+5000) rounds out the top five. He made the decision at the beginning of the season to concentrate on the Indy 500 and told NBC Sports earlier this week that he does not regret it. Despite winning the pole for last year’s race, he has not had a top-10 in three years and his last top-five came in 2014.

We find the other two Penske pals just outside the top five.

Will Power (+2500) probably got a few gray hairs in the two days it took him to qualify for the 500. He was not quite as fast as teammates Pagenaud and Newgarden, but a lap of 226.223 mph settled his nerves some. He has nearly fourth-tenths of a second per lap to close on Dixon, but this was certainly a step in the right direction. Now he will rely on experience to make up the difference.

Scott McLaughlin (+3500) is making a strong statement that he should be the Indy 500 Rookie of the Race with his seventh-fastest lap on Carb Day. He was the fastest Penske driver in qualification. The balance of those two factors make him an interesting pick for Sunday’s race. Betting on a rookie to win the 500 is risky, but he can be had for +155 to score a top 10.

The wily veteran Tony Kanaan (+1600) posted the eighth-fastest time with a speed of 225.929 mph. Kanaan is the 2013 winner of this race and he has back-to-back top-fives in 2016/2017 in the years since. He hasn’t been nearly as strong with AJ Foyt Racing, but those top-fives came with his current owner Chip Ganassi. If you want to pass on the outright win wager, his top-three odds are +450.

Last year’s winner, Takuma Sato (+2000) and Sage Karam (+15000) round out the top 10.

Given his long odds of +350 for a top-10, Karam is worth a unit.

On this week’s Beat the Edge podcast, Steve Letarte believes Sato is a lock for a top-10 bet with odds of +105.

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