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2023 Indy 500: Young drivers lead pack, look for first win

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There might be nine former winners running in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, but the five fastest drivers in the starting grid are still trying to get their face on the Borg-Warner Trophy.

“I love that I’m a part of the new youth wave that’s coming into IndyCar,” said Pato O’Ward of the Arrow McLaren team. “We’re obviously here and competitive, so it’s great to mix it up with the older guys.”

“I get close every year,” said Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, who will start in Position 2. “We’ve missed it all in the race every time. We’re looking to finally do it. I think I’ve got the experience and so does the team to do it now.”

“It’s really close and really competitive nowadays. We’ll see what happens,” polesitter Alex Palou said. “Hopefully we have the experience that we need. I’m sure we will have the speed on the car. We will give everything that we have to get the win.”

Benjamin Pedersen is the only rookie in the top 12, recording the fastest single qualifying lap in Indy 500 history. He gives all the credit to the IndyCar feeder system.

“I think it’s just a testament to how good the junior formula ladder system is,” Pedersen said. “The next generation coming into this, we’re very quick. The transition series is great. The NXT car is great for that. I just feel very, very comfortable in the car.”

“I think the future’s great,” Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist said. “Every year it gets tighter and tighter, and there’s new guys coming in but the veterans keep performing and that’s why you have such a big age range in IndyCar, so I think that’s awesome. The series is going in a good direction, and the competition is higher than ever.”

Will there be another first time winner heading up to Victory Circle? The drama will unfold Sunday.

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