Who will win Sunday's Indianapolis 500?

May 27, 2011

Franchitti favorite

George Diaz

Orlando Sentinel

Dario Franchitti.

It's a safe pick to go with a three-time IndyCar champion who also has won two Indy 500s.

But it's also the right pick.

He should be the favorite. He drives for Target-Ganassi, the team to beat. And there is a matter of consistency for the man behind the wheel: Franchitti has not finished worse than seventh in the previous six races in Indianapolis. He will start ninth on Sunday, but only because he ran out of fuel on the final qualifying lap, giving away a spot on the front row.

Franchitti, who turned 38 this month, is at the top of his game.

"He's fast, and (he has) a good team," said rival Will Power. "That's what it takes."

Look for Franchitti to be gulping down some celebratory milk Sunday afternoon.

gdiaz@tribune.com

Power play

Jim Peltz

Los Angeles Times

Headline writers, sharpen your pencils, because the wink-wink plays on Will Power's name will be in abundance after the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500.

The Australian is a bona fide expert on curvy street and road courses — the first four races of this season were held on those courses and Power won two of the four — but he has yet to win on an oval.

That will change Sunday. Power is steadily learning the nuances of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and he's driving a top-notch car provided by Team Penske. This will be Power's fourth race at the Brickyard (he finished eighth last year after clawing back from an early pit-road miscue) and he has finished every lap in his three prior attempts.

jpeltz@tribune.com

A nod to the past

Dave van Dyck

Chicago Tribune

If the race gods could have their way, the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 would end before it begins — with A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti battling it out in pace cars.

Next best would be a Foyt- or Andretti-owned car (with grandson Marco driving) winning.

But the gods are rarely fair in racing, and tradition at the Brickyard has mostly vanished.

Given recent events, the winner will come from a handful of drivers in well-financed cars. Which means Dario Franchitti or Helio Castroneves, who have won a combined five races.

In keeping with the past as best we can, let's go with Castroneves in a car owned by Foyt-Andretti contemporary Roger Penske. Oh, Penske's first ownership year at Indy was 1969 — when Andretti won his only 500.

dvandyck@tribune.com

Franchitti vs. Dixon

Keith Groller

Morning Call

In this special 100th anniversary edition, it would be most appropriate if a driver with a strong racing pedigree such as an Andretti or Rahal wound up in Victory Lane.

A better bet is for an owner who is synonymous with the sport to be celebrating on Sunday; perhaps Roger Penske with either Ryan Briscoe or Will Power. Maybe even the sport's Babe Ruth, A.J. Foyt, will celebrate his 50th anniversary with a victory by Vitor Meira.

But as long as they can stay out of harm's way, the race will come down to a battle between Ganassi teammates Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon. Both have won before and have been fast all month. On a day that so many of Indy's past legends are honored, Franchitti will ensure his place as a present one.

kgroller@tribune.com

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