INDIANAPOLIS – It shouldn’t come to any surprise, but this year more than ever, the Indianapolis 500 is going to be Team Penske’s and/or Chip Ganassi Racing’s to lose. Yes, the eight combined drivers that make up the two teams on this year’s entry list are going to be the ones to beat as practice opens up for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Monday.
The two teams have combined to win 20 of the 99 previous Indy 500’s, but since 2006, they’ve won six of the last 10.
Furthermore, the two combined to lead 193 of the 200 laps in the ‘500 a year ago, including sweeping the top four finishing positions and having five of the eight cars finish in the top seven.
That’s enough to make them favorites in itself, but take this other major stat for example, entering this year’s Indy 500, Penske and Ganassi cars have combined to lead 572 of the 612 laps in 2016. That equates out to 93-percent of the laps run this entire season.
With them combining to lead 97-percent of the laps in last year’s Indy 500 and having led 93-percent of the overall laps this year, I don’t see how the path to drinking the milk on May 29 doesn’t go though them.
Those are two very dominating numbers as they’re honestly unprecedented.
Also, the two teams have combined to win all five races so far this year, with Penske having won four of them and Ganassi just one with Scott Dixon taking the checkered flag first at Phoenix on April 2.
Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya won the season opener at St. Pete while his teammate Simon Pagenaud won the last three races at Long Beach, Barber and the GP of Indy on Saturday.
So, if you think anyone is going to come into the biggest race arguably ever in the history of the sport, and beat the top two teams ever in the history of the sport, especially with how dominant they’ve been over the course of the last year, you’re crazy.
This race is Penske’s or Ganassi’s to lose.