2013 Indianapolis 500: Power ranking the field of 33

Jamie Squire

Who has the best shot to win the Indianapolis 500-mile Race? This week's IndyCar Power Rankings has the answers.

Instead of compiling a traditional power rankings list like we normally do on Tuesday afternoons at SB Nation IndyCar, this week's post will rank the top-10 drivers most likely to win the Indianapolis 500-mile Race.

Drivers can typically be categorized into three groups entering the month of May:

1.) The top-10 drivers that have the easiest path to winning the Borg-Warner Trophy.

2.) The group of 10 that will need some help or a little bit of luck.

3.) The final 13 that are best described as long shots.

Conceivably any of the 33 drivers have a shot after 500-miles, as fuel strategy has generated some surprise winners over the last century. That's one of the many reasons the Greatest Spectacle in Racing is still the greatest race in the world - it's still the 500-mile sweepstakes.

And yet, there is still a clear hierarchy led by traditional powers Andretti Autosport, Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing. Our top-10 picks to win the 2013 Indianapolis 500 can be found below, with an explanation for each of the top contenders. For reference's sake, we've also included a complete ranking to the last driver.

1. Marco Andretti

The entire month of May seemingly has been dedicated to Andretti Autosport, the Andretti Curse and Marco Andretti's career resurgence. While just a little off the pole speed on Saturday, the number 25 team appears fastest in traffic, picking up a toe and several other deciding factors in traffic.

With all due respect to Helio and Dario's quest for four victories or Carlos Munoz's opportunity to win the race as a rookie, Marco Andretti is the top story entering Sunday afternoon based on his name, family heritage and near-misses in the Greatest Spectacle.

He's also number 1 on the power rankings list because he's shown the most consistent speed at Indianapolis since teams unloaded the DW12 oval model last May, leading the most laps of the 2012 race and dominating the practice sessions leading up to the 2013 race.

After dominating in recent years and his near victory in 2006, numbers indicate that the Andretti Curse is nearing its long reign.

2. Ed Carpenter

One of the biggest misconceptions about the buildup to this year's Indianapolis 500 is that Ed Carpenter is some sort of heartwarming underdog victory after capturing the pole on Saturday afternoon. Sure, Ed Carpenter Racing doesn't have the same budget as Penske or Ganassi, but he is the most prolific oval racer of the post-split era.

In largely underfunded teams, Carpenter has won two oval races over the past two seasons and has been a factor in every race that doesn't involve turning right. That's not a knock of Carpenter's skillset, it's just a reality.

While not the most-funded driver in the field, Ed Carpenter is the most-talented oval driver in the field and he's already going to start the race from the point.

Don't call Ed Carpenter an underdog.

3. Carlos Muñoz

With reservation, a 21-year-old rookie makes the podium in the most-likely to win the Indianapolis 500 power rankings post.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway doesn't take kindly to rookies looking for success in their initial attempt to win the world's greatest race. But Muñoz has shown no hesitation, no fear and zero damns towards what the Speedway wants for Sunday.

Only Marco Andretti has shown quicker pace in practice, and Muñoz has looked confident running in a pack with his Andretti Autosport teammates. He's looking to do what JR Hildebrand couldn't do in 2011, and that is winning this race in just his very first attempt -- so don't be surprised if it actually happens.

4. Hélio Castroneves

If youthful disregard could win on Sunday for Muñoz, experience and patience will do it for Hélio Castroneves. There is more than one way to win this race, and it will be interesting to see how Castroneves approaches another attempt to win his fourth Borg-Warner.

He and his Penske teammates have been fast all week, and with the advantage Chevrolet has combined with Castroneves' Indy pedigree, this very well could be the year that we have another four-time winner looking towards wining his fifth.

5. Dario Franchitti

Repeat everything that was said about Hélio Castroneves in regards to Dario Franchitti. The only thing placing Castroneves over Franchitti is his Chevy turbocharger which appears much-stronger at Indianapolis.

Dario is also looking for his fourth win at the Speedway, and if the 2012 event is any indication, Franchitti will find a way to the front regardless of adversity or technical obstacles.

6. Will Power

Based on his championship finishes over the past three seasons, Will Power has inherited the title of Team Penske's number 1 driver. With that title comes a lot of responsibility at Indianapolis Motor Speedway but not a lot of success thus far.

Like most high-speed ovals, Indy has been a tricky obstacle for Power. And once he adopted the skill set necessary to win, he has been subject to a variety of bad luck, including loose wheels, crashes not of his design, and mismanaged pit stops.

Will Power can absolutely win this race. And in a season where he has somehow gone winless through four-consecutive road and street course events, wouldn't a victory in the Indianapolis 500 just make sense?

7. James Hinchcliffe

The Go Daddy Andretti driver has been sneaky competitive at Indianapolis, qualifying 13th for Newman/Haas in 2011 and finishing sixth in last year's race. Brimming with the confidence off two wins to start the 2013 season and the powerful Andretti Autosport backing his entry in 2013, Hinchcliffe could finally and completely break out of her shadow with a win in the Indianapolis 500.

8. EJ Viso

Andretti Autosport has seemingly concentrated the raw potential of EJ Viso, and that could again show itself with a surprise victory in the Indianapolis 500.

9. AJ Allmendinger

Casual observers were quick to point out that AJ Allmendinger's lack of results in his first two races back in Indy car was a sign of his inability to drive these cars after six seasons or the result of his mixed commitments to both IndyCar and NASCAR.

But the month of May was an indication of what happens when you give an elite diver like Allmendinger two whole weeks to integrate himself into a discipline. Combine that intent with Team Penske's Indianapolis expertise, and AJ Allmendinger's road to redemption could end with the greatest moment of his career.

Like any Penske car, the No. 2 has speed the driver has shown the ability to wield it for brief practice or qualifying spurts, but can he do it for 500 miles? That's the only question separating AJ Allmendinger from the Borg-Warner trophy.

10. Scott Dixon

In a repeat of last season, Honda and Target Chip Ganassi Racing look to be just off the pace set by their Chevrolet rivals. But like last season, Honda and Ganassi will rise to the occasion and will be a constant threat for the lead in the late stages of the race.

Lost in the shuffle between the legendary Dario Franchitti/Takuma Sato duel last year was that Scott Dixon was leading the Indianapolis 500 up until three laps to go. That isn't likely to change on Sunday.

11. Ryan Hunter-Reay

12. Tony Kanaan

13. Takuma Sato

14. JR Hildebrand

15. Ryan Briscoe

16. Alex Tagliani

17. Charlie Kimball

18. Graham Rahal

19. Justin Wilson

20. Oriol Servia

21. Townsend Bell

22. Simon Pagenaud

23. Simona de Silvestro

24. Josef Newgarden

25. Sebastien Bourdais

26. James Jakes

27. Sebastian Saavedra

28. Conor Daly

29. Tristan Vautier

30. Pippa Mann

31. Buddy Lazier

32. Ana Beatriz

33. Katherine Legge

Keep in mind that this list is extremely subjective and just for fun. If you disagree and want to give us your own list or general predictions for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, feel free to do so in the comments section below.

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