Indy 500: Power rankings for the 106th running

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo Credit: The Indianapolis Star)
Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo Credit: The Indianapolis Star) /

Where do the 12 IndyCar teams set to compete in this year’s Indy 500 stack up ahead of Sunday afternoon’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

The starting lineup for the 106th running of the Indy 500 was solidified this past weekend, with positions 13 through 33 set in a rain-shortened qualifying session on Saturday.

Positions 1 through 12 were set in Sunday’s Top 12 Qualifying and Firestone Fast Six sessions.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon took the pole position for this 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in Speedway, Indiana.

He did so with a four-lap average speed of 234.046 miles per hour behind the wheel of his #9 Honda in the Firestone Fast Six.

With the 33-car lineup set, how do the 12 teams fielding cars in this year’s edition of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” stack up with the race just four days away?

1. Chip Ganassi Racing

Drivers: Scott Dixon (P1), Alex Palou (P2), Marcus Ericsson (P5), Tony Kanaan (P6), Jimmie Johnson (P12) – average starting position: 5.20

Chip Ganassi Racing inexplicably haven’t won the Indy 500 since 2012. It would be somewhat of a shock if that winless streak doesn’t end this year after the strength that the five-car team showed in both practice and qualifying.

2. Ed Carpenter Racing

Drivers: Rinus VeeKay (P3), Ed Carpenter (P4), Conor Daly (P18) – average starting position: 8.33

Yet again, Ed Carpenter Racing have shown up strong in May. While they haven’t always raced as well as they’ve qualified at Indy, strong runs by all three cars last year indicate that they could very well finally break through for that first win in 2022.

3. Arrow McLaren SP

Drivers: Pato O’Ward (P7), Felix Rosenqvist (P8), Juan Pablo Montoya (P30) – average starting position: 15.00

In the last nine Indy 500s, the top three teams in this year’s Indy 500 qualifying have a total of zero wins and two DNQs. If one of the top two teams can’t end the win drought, don’t put it past Arrow McLaren SP to do so after strong runs the last two years.

4. Dale Coyne Racing

Drivers: Takuma Sato (P10), David Malukas (P13) – average starting position: 11.50

Dale Coyne Racing are another team that always show up strong to Indy, yet they have yet to win the race. Pairing a two-time winner with a fast rookie may be what they need to get over the top and at least contend in the final few laps.

5. Meyer Shank Racing

Drivers: Simon Pagenaud (P16), Helio Castroneves (P27) – average starting position: 21.50

Don’t count out the reigning Indy 500 winners, even after a lackluster qualifying effort. These two drivers have five combined Indy 500 wins, including two in the last three years, and they occupied two of the top three spots in last year’s race.

6. Andretti Autosport

Drivers: Romain Grosjean (P9), Alexander Rossi (P20), Marco Andretti (P23), Devlin DeFrancesco (P24), Colton Herta (P25) – average starting position: 20.20

After major disappointment in each of the last two years, Andretti Autosport aren’t exactly back in 2014, 2016, or 2017 form. But three of the team’s five qualifying results were unnecessarily hampered, and their cars look like they’ll race better than they qualified.

7. Team Penske

Drivers: Will Power (P11), Josef Newgarden (P14), Scott McLaughlin (P26) – average starting position: 17.00

Things don’t look nearly as bad as they did for Team Penske in 2020 or 2021, but the 18-time Indy 500 winners still don’t seem like their usual selves at Indy. At least this time, there was never a doubt that all of their cars would qualify, and all three should race quite well.

8. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

Drivers: Santino Ferrucci (P15), Sage Karam (P22) – average starting position: 18.50

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing have been known more for their race pace than qualifying pace, but both of their drivers qualified much better than usual. Neither one lacks experience making up ground in the race itself. In 2021, these two drivers made up a combined 41 spots on race day.

9. Juncos Hollinger Racing

Driver: Callum Ilott (P19) – average starting position: 19.00

Juncos Hollinger Racing have come a long way since Kyle Kaiser and Juncos Racing’s David vs. Goliath upset over Fernando Alonso and McLaren back in 2019, and Callum Ilott’s recent speed and progression are promising to say the least. This isn’t just the “little team that could” anymore.

10. A.J. Foyt Enterprises

Drivers: J.R. Hildebrand (P17), Kyle Kirkwood (P28), Dalton Kellett (P29) – average starting position: 24.67

I don’t think anybody who knows anything about IndyCar would be opposed to seeing J.R. Hildebrand drink the milk on Sunday after what happened in 2011. A.J. Foyt Enterprises have shown well at Indy in the past, and if they do so again, he could be one to watch. Rookie Kyle Kirkwood is a sleeper as well after an impressive run at Texas Motor Speedway.

11. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Drivers: Graham Rahal (P21), Christian Lundgaard (P31), Jack Harvey (P32) – average starting position: 28.00

The fact that a 21st place effort was considered “impressive” for Graham Rahal says all you need to know about the qualifying disaster endured by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing on Saturday. Can the two slowest qualifiers — by far — up the ante on race day?

12. DragonSpeed/Cusick Motorsports

Driver: Stefan Wilson (P33) – average starting position: 33.00

The “field filler” is doing just that after not making a qualifying attempt. While we’re not expecting much on race day, there is potential for a good storyline here.

Next. Top 25 IndyCar drivers of all-time. dark

Tune in to NBC this Sunday, May 29 for the live broadcast of the 106th running of the Indy 500 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Don’t miss the opportunity to begin your free trial of FuboTV now!