Indy 500 predictions: Find out who NOT to pick from the IndyStar staff

So you want to gamble on the Indianapolis 500? Have I got the article for you. Read every word ... and cross off every name listed below.

IndyStar takes great pride in its award-winning Indianapolis 500 coverage but we are terrible at predicting the race.

One person, who shall remain nameless (OK, it was Scott Horner), picked Rinus VeeKay to win. He finished last. Not only did no one predict Marcus Ericsson would win the race, none of us had him in our top three.

The winner of last year's predictions was Dana Hunsinger Benbow, despite picking 28th-place-finisher Jimmie Johnson to win, she correctly predicted Pato O'Ward's second-place finish -- the only one of us to get any of the top 8 -- and had Alex Palou, who finished ninth, third. Here are the much-lamented IndyStar Indianapolis 500 predictions:

Nathan Brown, motor sports insider

1. Alex Palou: After a dominant GMR Grand Prix win, followed by the 500 pole, what better way to cement himself as IndyCar’s preeminent young talent than with a sweep of May.

2. Pato O’Ward: With a progression of 6th, 4th and then 2nd in last year’s 500, O’Ward’s been nearing a breakthrough. Plus, he’s started 2023 with three runner-up finishes.

3. Scott Dixon: After starting on pole and having the car to beat each of the last two years, the 2008 winner enters the 500 rather quietly. What better time to finally grab that second win.

Dana Hunsinger Benbow, enterprise writer

  1. Marcus Ericsson: For the first time in 21 years, the Indy 500 will have a back-to-back victor (Helio Castroneves won in 2001 and 2002). Ericsson, a 32-year-old Swedish-born driver, knows what it takes to defeat the iconic track. Does he think he can repeat? “That’s why we’re here,” he told IndyStar.

  2. Alex Palou: The pole sitter has won the Indy 500 21 times in 106 years. This race won’t be one of those. Palou is the driver, with a top speed of 234.217 mph, many are predicting will win. He celebrates with fried chicken after his race wins. No chicken for him Sunday. But second place is a respectable finish.

  3. Tony Kanaan: This will be his last Indy 500 and the 48-year-old racing legend has one final thing to prove at IMS: He’s leaving at the top of his game. Ten years after his Indy 500 win, Kanaan will have a sweet ending at the track, finishing in the top 3.

Gregg Doyel, columnist

1. Santino Ferrucci: Because he always finishes much better than he qualifies here – and he qualified fourth!

2. Alex Palou: The Spaniard is having a good season and a great May, and Chip Ganassi has the speed.

3. Alexander Rossi: He’s as good as it gets on this track, and Arrow McLaren has the speed to match Ganassi.

Scott Horner, producer

  1. Santino Ferrucci: In recent years, the average starting spot of race winners is fourth, where he begins. He has been strong throughout practice and qualifying, and he has improved at least five spots from his starting position in all of his four Indy 500 starts. (He'll have to settle for moving up three spots this year.)

  2. Marcus Ericsson: The defending champ has been quietly consistent on track. He should be in position to challenge for the win late.

  3. Rinus VeeKay: Look, he started third last year, so picking him to win was reasonable. And he's starting one spot better this year.

Grace Hollars, photographer

  1. Tony Kanaan: Because it’s freakin’ Tony Kanaan.

  2. Rinus Veekay: He’s got a fast car and he always smiles when I take his picture. People who smile deserve nice things.

  3. Alex Palou: His whole fit (car included) looks slick. Look good, feel good, drive good. He pulled away in the Grand Prix and no one could catch him. He’ll probably do the same on Sunday

Mykal McEldowney, photographer

  1. Alex Palou: In 2021, I picked Alex Palou to win. In 2022, I picked him to finish second but secretly had my fingers crossed he’d win. This year, I know he’s going to do it. There’s no question.

  2. Marcus Ericsson: Ericsson is sneaky good. As the defending champ, he’s got confidence. I also think it’d be neat to see a repeat winner.

  3. Felix Rosenqvist: Rosenqvist is on a solid team in Arrow McLaren. Feels like Rosenqvist has a swagger about him this year.

Clark Wade, videographer

  1. Marcus Ericsson: Fresh off his first Indy 500 win, Marcus is ready to pull off the first back-to-back wins since Helio Castroneves did it in 2001 and 2002.

  2. Takuma Sato: Taku drives hard and fast and Chip Ganassi has given him the car to compete for his third Indy 500 win.

  3. Ryan Hunter-Reay: Captain America is back after taking a year off. Dreyer and Reinbold spend the entire year getting ready for this race.

Nat Newell, sports editor

  1. Josef Newgarden: Picked him last year and he finished 13th but that was the top driver in my top 3 so no reason to fix what's not broken. The Team Penske driver gets his first Indianapolis 500 victory.

  2. Pato O'Ward: He's finished second three times this season and finished second last year. Someone is trying to tell me something and I'm listening.

  3. Scott Dixon: Going out on a limb and picking, arguably, the three best drivers in the series.

Chloe Peterson, sportswriter

1. Felix Rosenqvist: This is my first time paying attention to the Indy 500, and I just have a good feeling about Rosenqvist.

2. Santino Ferrucci: A.J. Foyt Racing is back in business and Ferrucci will make sure of it on Sunday.

3. Alex Palou: From my unextensive knowledge of the Indy 500, polesitters barely actually win the thing.

Tyler Tachman, intern

  1. Alex Palou: Palou has been phenomenal of late, placing in the top five in all but one race this season. He has continued to shine at the Indy 500, winning the pole.

  2. Takuma Sato: Sato has experience winning the Indianapolis 500, in 2017 and 2020, plus he impressed during practice.

  3. Marcus Ericsson: The defending Indianapolis 500 champion has put together a strong start to the season and could be primed to go back-to-back.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indy 500 predictions: IndyStar staff makes their predictions