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) /
7 of 12
Rinus VeeKay, Indy 500, IndyCar
Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Indy 500 rankings: No. 18 – Rinus VeeKay

Rinus VeeKay has made three Indy 500 starts, and only one has come from somewhere other than the front row. His worst starting spot is fourth place, on the inside of row two, as a 19-year-old in 2020. He is hard to beat on qualifying weekend, there is no doubt about it.

But actually converting that speed has been a major issue for him in the race itself. His average finish is 20.33, 17 spots lower than his average starting position. He had an issue in the pits in 2020, finished in eighth place in 2021, and was the first to crash out in 2022. He is in need of a big result after a lackluster start to the 2023 season.

Indy 500 rankings: No. 17 – Kyle Kirkwood

Kyle Kirkwood is a major X-factor heading into this year’s Indy 500. In his first year with Andretti Autosport, he has shown that he clearly has the pace to compete for IndyCar wins. Even after his domination throughout every Road to Indy series, this was not a sure thing after a rookie season in which he struggled not only to run well but to keep his car off the wall.

But how fast will he be at the fastest oval on the schedule after not getting much of a chance to compete at Texas Motor Speedway? And will Michael Andretti’s team be finally more competitive in the Indy 500 than they have been over the last few years?

Indy 500 rankings: No. 16 – Ryan Hunter-Reay

Ryan Hunter-Reay is definitely underrated when you consider his resume at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but there are a few other factors consider, most importantly the fact that he hasn’t competed in an IndyCar race in two years.

Hunter-Reay was the driver to beat in 2016 and 2017, but since his win in 2014, he has just one other top five finish, that being a fifth place effort in 2018. A potential for a solid top five run in 2021 also escaped him. With a new team in Dreyer & Reinbold Racing this year, he’ll need to rediscover some of his old magic to have a shot.