May 21, 2024

Indy 500: When it starts, how to watch, betting odds for 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing'

Scott McLaughlin, front, of New Zealand, celebrates after winning the pole for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday, May 19, 2024, in Indianapolis. - Darron Cummings / Associated Press

Scott McLaughlin, front, of New Zealand, celebrates after winning the pole for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday, May 19, 2024, in Indianapolis.

Darron Cummings / Associated Press

It's race week for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500, when a field of 33 cars will cross the famed yard of bricks Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for what is considered “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske will be on the pole after breaking the four-lap qualifying record with an average of 234.220 mph.

Next to him are teammates Will Power and defending winner Josef Newgarden, whose last-lap pass of Marcus Ericsson during a controversial finish a year ago gave team owner Roger Penske his record-extending 19th win.

Team Penske arrived at Gasoline Alley this year under scrutiny, though. The team owner suspended two senior leaders and two engineers as punishment for a cheating scandal centered on Newgarden’s illegal use of his push-to-pass system in his March 10 win in St. Petersburg, Florida. IndyCar stripped Newgarden of the win and McLaughlin of a third-place finish.

Beyond the controversy, storylines abound: How will Larson, who qualified fifth, fare in his Indy 500 debut, and will he be able to complete “The Double” by also finishing the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte the same night? Will Alex Palou finally be able to win the Indy 500 after coming close the past three years? Can Helio Castroneves win a record fifth Indy 500?

WHEN IS THE INDY 500?

The green flag falls for the Indy 500 at 12:45 p.m. EDT on May 26. The final practice, known as Carb Day, takes place Friday. There are several festivities, including the annual Indy 500 parade, that take place Saturday.

HOW WILL THEY LINE UP?

The final car on the track among six in the pole shootout, McLaughlin ripped around Indianapolis Motor Speedway to post a four-lap average of 234.220 mph last Sunday. Power and Newgarden joined him in giving Team Penske its first front-row sweep since 1988, when polesitter and eventual race winner Rick Mears was joined by Danny Sullivan and Al Unser Sr.

Larson will start in the middle of the second row with Arrow McLaren teammate Alexander Rossi to his inside and Santino Ferrucci of A.J. Foyt Racing to his outside, giving Chevrolet-powered cars the first two rows on the starting grid.

HOW CAN I WATCH THE INDY 500?

Carb Day will be streamed Friday on Peacock beginning at 11 a.m. EDT. Race coverage on Sunday also begins at 11 a.m. with pre-race festivities on NBC, Peacock and Universo.

WHO SHOULD I WATCH IN THE INDY 500?

There will be plenty of eyes on Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, who is trying to join Tony Stewart as the only drivers ever to complete “the double,” finishing every lap of the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Several have tried over the years, most recently Kurt Busch in 2014, to complete one of the most grueling tasks in in motorsports.

Newgarden and 2018 winner Power will be trying to give team owner Roger Penske his 20th victory at the track he now owns, along with the IndyCar Series itself. Their teammate, McLaughlin, would love to win for the first time.

Castroneves can break a tie with Foyt, Unser and Mears for the most wins with his fifth. Palou is chasing his first win. So are Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal, who survived a tense bump day and qualified last in the 33-car field.

WHO ARE THE INDY 500 FAVORITES?

McLaughlin was installed as the 9-2 favorite Monday after qualifying on the pole, according to BetMGM Sportsbook. Newgarden was the second choice at 11-2, followed by Power (13-2), Larson (27-4) and Pato O'Ward (19-2).

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