The best story before the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is the comeback of Canadian James Hinchcliffe, but this year’s pole-sitter isn’t the heavy favorite to capture the “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing.”
Hinchcliffe, 29, won the pole and top position for Sunday’s mammoth race with a four-lap average of 230.760 mph one year removed from near-fatal accident at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. During a practice session Hinchcliffe’s car spun out and hit a wall, causing a piece of debris to land in his thigh. Hinchcliffe could’ve bled to death but the track’s medical team did enough to keep him alive until he could undergo emergency surgery.
Now Hinchcliffe will lead off the Indy Series’ biggest race, sitting at respectable 10/1 odds, but well behind projected 11/2 favorite and Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, according to Sportsbook.ag.
After claiming the pole, and hoping to be the first sitter to follow-up with a 500 victory since 2009, Hinchcliffe said he wants to put the accident behind him and focus on the race.
“I get it. It was a big deal. It was a big deal to me, too,” Hinchcliffe said. “And I understand that. And I really appreciated that people wanted to hear the story, wanted to tell the story for me. There was a lot of really, really nice pieces done, a lot of nice tributes done in that sense. But no, then you’re coming back to this place and you want to focus on the here and now and not remember or focus on hitting the wall at 125 G’s.
“Hopefully this is the topic of conversation for the next week, and a week from now we’ve got an even better story to tell.”
Owning three victories and two-runner-ups over five starts, the 32-year-old Pagenaud will line up at the No. 8 pole position after posting a 229.139 mph average speed. Pagenaud, who rides for Team Penske is only four years removed from his IndyCar Rookie of the Year run, hopes to claim the first Indy 500 win of his career and will have to beat out several past winners to do so.
Three-time 500 champion Helio Castroneves, defending champ Juan Pablo Montoya, and 2008 winner Scott Dixon are listed at 6/1 odds behind Pagenaud. The next tier of contenders, in the eyes of oddsmakers, also includes 2014 victor and American Ryan Hunter-Reay and Brazil’s Tony Kanaan, who won in 2013, at 10/1 odds.
Odds To Win 2015 Indianapolis 500
Simon Pagenaud 11/2
Helio Castroneves 6/1
Juan Montoya 6/1
Scott Dixon 6/1
Will Power 6/1
Ed Carpenter 10/1
James Hinchcliffe 10/1
Josef Newgarden 10/1
Tony Kanaan 10/1
Ryan Hunter-Reay 14/1
Marco Andretti 20/1
Sebastien Bourdais 20/1
Carlos Munoz 30/1
Graham Rahal 30/1
JR Hildebrand 35/1
Charlie Kimball 40/1