Indy 500: Ranking all 34 drivers, from No. 34 to No. 1

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Josef Newgarden, Indy 500, IndyCar
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, Indy 500, IndyCar – Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

Indy 500 rankings: No. 9 – Josef Newgarden

The best active driver without an Indy 500 win is Josef Newgarden, hands down. The 26-time race winner and two-time IndyCar champion has finished no higher than third place in 11 starts, and he has finished no higher than fourth since joining Team Penske in 2017.

In six starts with Team Penske, he has only really been a factor in 2019, when he battled for the lead late with teammate Simon Pagenaud before settling for a fourth place finish. He hasn’t finished in the top 10 since 2020. Until he wins one, the same exact question is going to be asked every year. He has won five of the series’ last seven oval races, however.

Indy 500 rankings: No. 8 – Takuma Sato

Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato has a chance to win three Indy 500s for three different teams. It took three years for him to win number two after winning number one, and win number two now happened three years ago.

His first start with Chip Ganassi Racing did not go according to plan at Texas Motor Speedway, as he crashed out early, but Sato is a driver for whom it usually is all or nothing; no attack, no chance. Given the fact that his contract doesn’t currently include oval races beyond the Indy 500, could this be his final start?

Indy 500 rankings: No. 7 – Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi hasn’t had the best of fortune at Indianapolis Motor Speedway lately. Whether it be the qualifying format in 2018, which knocked him from just outside the Fast Nine Shootout to 32nd place, the extended caution after the red flag in 2019, which ultimately helped eventual winner Simon Pagenaud save fuel, the controversial pit road speeding penalty in 2020, which knocked him out of contention, or the first caution and subsequent pit closure in 2021, which led to him running out of fuel, he has had a rough go of it since winning seven years ago.

He needed a change of scenery after seven years with Andretti Autosport, where he won the Indy 500 as a rookie in 2016, and he has gotten it this year with Arrow McLaren, which placed two cars in the top four last year.