IndyCar team completely disrespected in Indy 500 odds

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing, IndyCar, Indy 500 - Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing, IndyCar, Indy 500 - Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

One IndyCar team’s odds are considerably longer than what you might expect to win this year’s running of the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Practice for the 106th running of the Indy 500 began at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier today. Today is the first of four straight practice days, including Friday’s “Fast Friday” session, ahead of qualifying on Saturday and Sunday to set the 33-car starting lineup for IndyCar‘s biggest race.

After that, there are just two more practice sessions before the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) oval in Speedway, Indiana is scheduled to take place on Memorial Day Sunday, May 29, one next Monday and another next Friday.

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WynnBET released their odds for this year’s running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, and there were a few surprises.

While the drivers listed among the favorites were not all that surprising (full list of odds here), there were drivers from one particular team who were listed with longer odds than you might expect.

Those odds belong to the Ed Carpenter Racing trio.

Rinus VeeKay, the team’s full-time driver of the #21 Chevrolet, leads the group at +2250 (bet $100 to win $2250). Team owner Ed Carpenter, who is driving the #33 Chevrolet, and Conor Daly, the full-time driver of the #20 Chevrolet, are tied at +4000.

While they have yet to win the race, Ed Carpenter Racing always show up to Indianapolis Motor Speedway with fast race cars, and it looks to be only a matter of time before they break through.

VeeKay has qualified in fourth and third place in his two Indy 500 starts. Had it not been for an incident in the pits in 2020, he likely would have contended for a solid finish, and he led 32 laps last year en route to an eighth place result.

Carpenter, a three-time Indy 500 polesitter, hasn’t won the race in 18 starts, but he is widely considered one of the best non-winners in the field on a yearly basis. He finished in fifth place last year after rallying from an early pit stop issue, giving him three top six finishes, including a runner-up finish in 2018, in his last four starts. He had just one of such finishes in his first 14 starts.

And Daly has shown well at his home track in good equipment, most notably last year. He led all drivers in the field with 40 laps led, only to see his chances at a solid finish derailed by, of all things, damage caused by contact with a flying tire off of Graham Rahal’s car.

Yet you add up the implied odds of these three drivers (and the rest of the field), you get a less than 6% chance of Ed Carpenter Racing winning the race this year.

In terms of raw speed, that number seems way too low.

Is VeeKay, one of only four drivers to start and finish last year’s race in the top eight, really only worthy of being deemed a mid-pack driver? Is Carpenter, one of the other three, really only better than only nine of the other 32 drivers? Is Daly really only better than those same nine, considering what he did last year with Carpenter’s team?

We asked similar questions last year when Helio Castroneves was listed at +2800, 16th best in the field. We saw how that turned out, with Castroneves becoming the race’s fourth ever four-time winner.

UPDATE: Carpenter has since moved from +4000 to +2500.

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The 106th running of the Indy 500 is set to be broadcast live from Indianapolis Motor Speedway on NBC beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 29.