Some 500 Statistics

Numbers can tell us a lot about future events. The Indianapolis 500 is no different. Looking at past data from the 96 other runnings of the Indianapolis, we can begin to understand and look at how qualify and race data translates into odds for drivers without taking into consideration other variables. Before I go on, I am by no means predicting the 500 and downplaying certain drivers. This is merely looking at the race from a statistical standpoint. Here are some of the statistics that we can look into and how it can translate this year's 500:

  • The pole sitter for the Indianapolis 500 has won 22 of the 96 times, or 27% of the time, the most by any starting position by far. This bodes well for this year's pole sitter Ed Carpenter. 

  • Former winners of the race include Dario Franchitti (2007, 2010, 2012), Scott Dixon (2009), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2008), and Buddy Lazier (1996). 

  • Active teams who have won at Indianapolis include Team Penske (15), Chip Ganassi Racing (4), Andretti Autosport (2), Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (1), Bryan Herta Autosport (1), and AJ Foyt Enterprises (1).

  • Former pole sitters of the race include Ryan Briscoe (2012), Alex Tagliani (2011), Helio Castroneves (2003, 2007, 2009, 2010), Scott Dixon (2008), and Tony Kanaan (2005).

  • 68 of the 96 Indianapolis 500's have been won by drivers starting ninth or better, which amounts to 70.8% of the races. Good news again for Carpenter, as well as Carlos Munoz, Marco Andretti, EJ Viso, AJ Allmendinger, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, and James Hinchcliffe.

AJ Allmendinger (closest) and Will Power on among those who have the odds in
 their favors. Being on Team Penske doesn't hurt either (Photo: Marshall Pruett)

  • The race has only been won 6 times between P22 and P28, or 6.3% of the time. Not good news for Townsend Bell, Ryan Briscoe, Simona de Silvestro, Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, Sebastian Saavedra, and Tristan Vautier.

  • Even worse news for drivers starting P29-P33, which includes Ana Beatriz, Pippa Mann, Conor Daly, Buddy Lazier, and Katherine Legge: A driver has never won starting in positions 29-33 in all 96 Indianapolis 500s.

  • General statistic: The driver who has led the most laps have won 52 of the 96 Indianapolis 500s, or 54% of the races. The trend recently has been different, with three of the last ten drivers who have led the most laps have gone on to win, so we'll see what affect it has on race day.

  • The five drivers in the field with the highest average finish are Dario Franchitti (7.5), Helio Castroneves (7.6), Scott Dixon (7.6), JR Hildebrand (8), and Charlie Kimball (10.5). 

  • A rookie has only won the Greatest Spectacle eight times, or 8.3% of the time. Will Carlos Munoz, AJ Allmendinger, Tristan Vautier, or Conor Daly change that?

  • I have been trying to look up specific data for this last one, but can't find anything. So feel free to quote me when I say: There is a 100% chance the race will be great! Enjoy the race as you see 

Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey