May 24, 2024 - Indy 500

These are the drivers to watch at the 2024 Indianapolis 500

Photo illustration of Alex Palou, Josef Newgarden, Helio Castroneves, Scott McLaughlin, and Kyle Larson against a purple background of speed lines.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios; Photos: Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, James Gilbert/Getty Images, and Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

You don't have to be an IndyCar expert to enjoy the Indianapolis 500.

  • Here's a casual fan's guide to some of the sport's biggest names and those to watch during Sunday's race.

Scott McLaughlin: He's the pole sitter after clocking the fastest-ever qualifying run and is the odds-on favorite to win — but there are more reasons to keep an eye on the No. 3 machine.

  • McLaughlin led Team Penske in the first front-row starting lineup sweep by a single team since 1988, when Rick Mears started first in a yellow Pennzoil-sponsored car and won the race.
  • The intrigue: McLaughlin will drive a yellow Pennzoil-sponsored car Sunday.

Josef Newgarden: Last year's winner starts third, completing the Penske sweep with Will Power (starting second) and McLaughlin.

  • Newgarden is a dominant force, especially on the circuit's oval tracks. He won four of the series five oval races last season and turned the fastest lap in practice Monday.
  • He also won the first race of this season but had it stripped after a cheating scandal.

Alex Palou: The Spanish driver is starting 14th, but he knows what it feels like to win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

  • Palau has won on the IMS road course the past two years.
  • Last year's series champ finished second at the Indy 500 in 2021.

Kyle Larson: One of six rookies in the field, Larson is the fifth driver in history to attempt a double-header, racing the 500 and then flying to Charlotte to drive that night in the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR's longest race of the year.

  • He starts fifth and turned the fastest qualifying lap by a rookie in Indianapolis 500 history.

Helio Castroneves: He might be the oldest driver on the starting grid, but with age comes experience.

  • He's both started (23 times) and won the race (four times) more than anyone else suiting up on Sunday.

Go deeper: Your guide to the IMS this weekend


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