“The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” continues this weekend with the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.   Qualifications are in the books, and the final touches are ahead on Carb Day before race day.

Canadian James Hinchcliffe has the pole for the race after last year’s near death crash during a post qualification practice.  It is a Hollywood story for Hinch coming back and sitting atop the scoring pylon after qualifying.  Three Americans are starting in the Top 4 this year (Newgarden 2nd, Hunter-Reay 3rd, and Towsend Bell 4th).    Below are my drivers to watch for this Sunday’s race and my prediction at the end.

Ryan Hunter-Reay
Ryan Hunter Reay – The 2014 champion has had a fast car all month and followed up with a great qualifying run and will start 3rd on Sunday.  Hunter-Reay has had 2- Top 5 performances and will look to give Andretti Autosport another Indy 500 title.  Hunter-Reay currently sits 9th in points and has a rocky start to the season due to the numerous road courses but now coming to an Oval and one that he’s won at….the former champ will factor into the end.

Carlos Munoz

Carols Munoz-  Carlos has been one of my favorite’s to watch ever since he came into the Verizon Series.  During his rookie year in 2013, Munoz qualified 2nd and finished 2nd and took home Rookie of the Year honors.  The following year he finished 4th.  Carlos starts this Sunday in 5th and he has been fast all month and has a swagger about him that to me fits winning the 100th running of the 500.  Watch for Munoz to be at the top of the standings on Sunday.

Will Power
Alexander RossiWill Power –  You can’t look at potential winners for the Indianapolis 500 without looking at Team Penske.  Will Power is the golden boy who has yet to taste the milk for Team Penske.  Teammate Helio Castroneves has won 3 times and Juan Pablo Montoya has tasted the milk twice (including last year).  Will finished 2nd last year to JPM and had his best month of May last year.  Will has been plagued by bad luck in previous years but this could be the year that Will gets his face on the Borg-Warner

Alexander Rossi (R)- This guy is my dark horse pick to win the Indy 500.  The rookie ran well during the Grand Prix and has had a good month of May.  Rossi will start 11th on Sunday and I predict him to win the Rookie of the Year award.

Josef NewgardenJosef Newgarden-   Newgarden has been FAST all month of May and came within seconds of winning the pole for Sunday.  He will start 2nd and will be driving for Hometown team Ed Carpenter Racing.  What a great way to celebrate the 100th running with a Hoosier State team winning ?   The young driver has the skill and determination to get it done on Sunday if he can avoid the mistake that has plagued him in past 500’s.  Newgarden’s best finish is 9th in the 500.

Marco Andretti
Marco Andretti –  Can an Andretti win another Indy 500???  Can Marco finally move past the close finish in 2006 when Hornish beat him to the line…..unfortunately not this year.  Marco hasn’t had the speed or car all month.  I expect Marco to be around 11th-17th range on Sunday.

James Hinchcliffe
Pole Sitter- James Hinchcliffe –   What a great story book ending it could be if Hinchtown can capture the Indy 500 after a near death crash last year at the Speedway.  As much as I want Hinchcliffe to win this race, I’m sure he will run well on Sunday and due to a lengthy late pitstop, I think Hinch finishes towards the back of the Top 10.

Brandon’s 100th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Prediction :  I know it’s a longshot to call 1-33 but will be fun to see how close I am on some of them.

1.    Carlos Munoz   (2016 Indy 500 Champion)
2.    Josef Newgarden
3.    Will Power
4.    Ryan Hunter Reay
5.    Scott Dixon
6.    Juan Pablo Montoya
7.    Helio Castroneves
8.    James Hinchcliffe
9.    Simon Pagenaud
10.  Graham Rahal
11.   Tony Kannan
12.   Alexander Rossi  (Rookie of Year Award Winner)
13.   Charlie Kimball
14.   Marco Andretti
15.   Sage Karam
16.   Ed Carpenter
17.   Towsend Bell
18.   Mikhail Aleshin
19.   Takuma Sato
20.  Sebastien Bourdais
21.  Conor Daly
22.  Gabby Chaves
23.  Oriol Servia
24.  JR Hildebrand
25.  Matt Brabham
26.  Max Chilton
27.  Spencer Pigot
28.  Bryan Clauson
29.  Pippa Mann
30.  Buddy Lazier
31.  Alex Tagliani
32.  Jack Hawksworth
33.  Stephan Wilson

Lady and Gentlemen…..Start Your Engines…… Enjoy the 100th running everyone !!!!

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