When the green flag waves this Sunday to start the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, veteran driver Scott Dixon will find himself in familiar position as pole-sitter and overall favorite.
After posting a truly impressive qualifying speed of 232.164 miles per hour – the fastest since 1996, when Arie Luyendyk hit 236.986 mph – Dixon earned the third Indy 500 pole of his stellar 15-season career.
He parlayed the pole into a fourth-place finish in 2015, but Dixon won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” from the pole position in 2008, a fact he’s well aware of entering Sunday’s race.
After finishing with the second-fastest qualifying speed in race history, Dixon told Autosport that he appreciates this rare opportunity to claim IndyCar Racing’s most prestigious crown:
“The emotions that you get at Indianapolis are just crazy. Obviously, this isn’t job one. The real deal comes up in a week’s time. The pole is its own race, its own deal, its own weekend.
The significance of winning the pole is big, but obviously, we’re here to win the race. In 2008, we won from the pole, so hopefully we can replicate that year.”
The bookmakers at online sportsbook Bovada believe the pole will propel Dixon to his second Indy 500 victory, as they’ve installed the New Zealand native as a (+550) favorite one day before the race. And while Dixon doesn’t have a win on record this season, the four-time circuit champion surely knows what to do with the inside track.
Dixon’s primary competition, at least according to the odds, will be Fernando Alonso (+575), a two-time Formula One world champion making his IndyCar debut. With millions of international racing fans tuning in to a live stream of Alonso’s qualifying session, the Spanish superstar averaged 231.300 mph for the fifth-fasted speed.
Given the long history of Formula One racers making their way to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and dominating the Indy 500 – which runs from Graham Hill in 1966 to Alexander Rossi just last year – IndyCar veterans have been vocal in their desire to see Alonso fall short.
In an interview with the Indy Star, Graham Rahal – getting nearly 10 times worse odds of winning at (+5500) – described his first impressions of Alonso’s highly touted pre-race status:
“Is (Alonso) the guy you want to see win? For us, no. Alonso winning this year certainly would be a story. Would it make it look like what we do is easy? I think in part, but we all know it’s not.”
The only other driver getting better than 10 to 1 odds at Bovada is Will Power at (+950), as the Aussie has earned three poles in this young season. Power is fresh off a win at the Indy Grand Prix as well, so he’ll have momentum on his side.
As for the usual suspects, former Indy 500 winners Helio Castroneves (+1200), Juan Pablo Montoya (+1300), Ryan Hunter-Reay (+1300), and Tony Kanaan (+1400) are all offering better than 15-1 for decent value picks.
The 2017 Indy 500 starts Sunday, May 28 at 12:19pm ET, with coverage provided by the ABC Network. Below you’ll find the full table of odds on all 33 drivers in the field, as found on Bovada:
2017 Indianapolis 500 Odds
|Driver (Number)||Indy 500 Odds|
|Scott Dixon (#9)||+550|
|Fernando Alonso (#29)||+575|
|Will Power (#12)||+950|
|Marco Andretti (#27)||+1000|
|Helio Castroneves (#3)||+1200|
|Juan Pablo Montoya (#22)||+1300|
|Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28)||+1300|
|Tony Kanaan (#10)||+1400|
|Ed Carpenter (#20)||+1600|
|Josef Newgarden (#2)||+1600|
|Simon Pagenaud (#1)||+1600|
|Alexander Rossi (#98)||+1800|
|Takuma Sato (#26)||+1800|
|James Hinchcliffe (#5)||+2400|
|J.R. Hildebrand (#21)||+2500|
|Carloz Munoz (#14)||+4400|
|Charlie Kimball (#83)||+5000|
|Graham Rahal (#15)||+5500|
|Mikhail Aleshin (#7)||+5500|
|Max Chilton (#8)||+6600|
|Ed Jones (#19)||+7000|
|Oriol Sevia (#16)||+7000|
|Sage Karam (#24)||+8000|
|James Davison (#18)||+10000|
|Jay Howard (#77)||+12500|
|Gabby Chaves (#98)||+15000|
|Jack Harvey (#50)||+15000|
|Conor Daly (#4)||+15000|
|Sebastian Saavedra (#17)||+25000|
|Buddy Lazier (#44)||+25000|
|Zach Veach (#40)||+30000|
|Spencer Pigot (#11)||+30000|