Autoweek's 10 Bold Predictions for 2024 IndyCar Season

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10 Bold Predictions for 2024 IndyCar SeasonGreg Doherty - Getty Images

Autoweek took a deep dive into this season and what we can expect—or not expect—and here’s what we came up with, a little ditty we call “10 Bold Predictions for IndyCar in 2024”:

Alex Palou Will Not Win the 2024 Championship

Even though he’s won two of the last three IndyCar championships, we predict Alex Palou is going to struggle in 2024.

No driver, no matter how good he is, can keep up the pace Palou has done in the last three seasons, particularly what he did in 2023, which was a career year for him with five wins, 10 podiums and 2 poles, all personal single-season highs.

Which leads us to who we believe will be the 2024 IndyCar champion—and it’s not going to be Palou.

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Scott Dixon Will Win a Seventh Championship

Scott Dixon may turn 44 this year, but we strongly believe he still has at least one—and maybe even two—championships left within himself.


Lost in all the Alex Palou excitement last year was the fact Dixon wound up winning three of the last four races of the season (and finished third in the fourth race) and finishing runner-up to Palou. Had he managed to earn a few wins earlier in the season, Dixon could have given Palou a run for his money—the championship money, that is. And, let’s face it, as good of a teammate as Dixon is, he has to be a bit tired of letting Palou get all the glory and adulation.

Dixon, whose sixth and most recent championship was in 2020, is poised to win a seventh championship in 2024 and prove why, even with everything Palou has done in recent seasons, the plucky New Zealander is still the best driver in the series, period.

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IndyCar Will End Racing Marriage with NBC

Dale Earnhardt Jr. may not be the only racing luminary leaving NBC Sports.

We predict that following the 2024 season, IndyCar will take its broadcast package and put NBC in its rearview mirror. In order, here’s who we think are the most likely favorites to televise IndyCar from 2025 and beyond: Fox Sports, ESPN, Apple or Amazon.

While some people have suggested The CW, we just don’t see it being a good match for IndyCar’s demographics.

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Scott McLaughlin Will Be No. 1 at Penske

Scott McLaughlin has done an outstanding job since coming across the Pacific from his native New Zealand to earn his fame and fortune in the IndyCar world.

A three-time champion in Australian SuperCars, McLaughlin has done an outstanding job in adapting to IndyCar in his first three seasons in the series. He has four wins and 12 podiums and 2024 will be his time to break out of the shadow of his more famous Team Penske teammates, Josef Newgarden and Will Power, and make a statement of his own.

We can easily see McLaughlin not only following up defending Indianapolis 500 winner Newgarden as the 2024 winner of the 500, but also will give guys like Palou, Dixon and Newgarden a stiff battle for the championship.

One other footnote: If McLaughlin or one of his teammates win the 500, it will be Roger Penske’s 20th as a team owner.

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Scott Dixon Will Win the Indianapolis 500

The Indianapolis 500 has seen several unexpected winners in the last eight races, starting with rookie Alexander Rossi’s triumph in the 100th edition of the 500 in 2016, Takuma Sato’s unexpected victories in the 2017 and 2020 editions of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing, Helio Castroneves’ record-tying fourth 500 win in 2021, Marcus Ericsson’s unexpected triumph in 2022 (and almost did so again in 2023), and Josef Newgarden finally winning what had long been anticipated for him in 2023.

So who gets to drink milk in victory lane in Indy in 2024?

There are two guys we envision battling it out to cross the finish line first, and they’re both teammates: Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou and Scott Dixon. Palou has won two of the last three IndyCar championships, but never has claimed the sport’s biggest prize with a win in the 500. Dixon, meanwhile, even though he has six season championships, has come close several times but has actually won the 500 just once (2008).

Our prediction: Dixon and Palou cross the finish line 1-2 in 2024.

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Kyle Larson Will Finish Bottom Third of Indy 500

Speaking of the Indy 500, former NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Larson will realize a lifelong dream when he competes in the 108th edition of the world’s biggest race—and then a few hours after the checkered flag, will go for two wins in the same day by competing in that evening’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Cup race in Charlotte.

Yes, we’re talking the greatest test of any race car driver, competing in the 1,100 total miles (not counting overtime) proverbial “The Double,” racing in the late morning and early afternoon in the 500 and then the 600 that evening. No driver has ever won even one of the two halves of The Double, let alone winning both halves in the same day. What can we expect from Larson?

While he’s arguably the greatest current driver when it comes to overall versatility of driving in several different series including NASCAR and sprint car racing, IndyCar is a whole other animal. While Larson is to be commended for being the first driver to attempt The Double since Kurt Busch in 2014, unfortunately we don’t see him finishing in the top 10 in the 500—if he manages to finish it at all.

Given Larson’s penchant for making unorthodox passes and where he likes to race on a track (like riding the high line alongside the outside wall), he could be an early exit from Indy if he and his car find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. But there is one bit of consolation: while Larson will likely finish in the bottom third of the 33 drivers at Indy, he can roar back with a strong finish in the 600 in Charlotte.

We can easily predict him finishing in the top 5 in the evening’s finale.

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Big Rebound for Graham Rahal at Indianapolis

Graham Rahal failed to qualify for last year’s Indy 500 for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. But from the midst of that disappointment came an incredible twist of fate for Rahal, when Stefan Wilson crashed during practice and Rahal was tabbed to be Wilson’s replacement for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, ultimately finishing 22nd.

This year, we anticipate the younger Rahal to qualify in the top third of the 500 and, barring any incidents, we expect him to finish in the top 10, a dramatic rebound from how last year’s 500 played out both in qualifying and the race itself.

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Santino Ferrucci Will Prove 2023 Indy 500 Was No Fluke

Santino Ferrucci shocked the IndyCar world when he finished third in last year’s Indianapolis 500, including leading 11 laps. Had he been able to hold on to the lead, Ferrucci would have claimed arguably one of the greatest upsets in 500 history.

So, if Ferrucci and A.J. Foyt Racing almost pulled off a win in the 500 in 2023, who’s to say they can’t do just as well – or perhaps even better, finishing runner-up or maybe even win it all in 2024?

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IndyCar (and Fans) Will Miss Downtown Nashville

While we never wish bad things upon any race track or promoter, the recent announcement that the season-ending race in Nashville has been moved from the downtown streets of Music City to a half-hour away at Nashville Superspeedway in suburban Lebanon, is going to be disappointing event, we feel.

Maybe not so much on the racing surface of the 1.33-mile oval, but we predict a lot of fans who either already bought or planned to buy tickets for the downtown street race will not want to see a follow-the-leader type event, which has historically been part of Nashville Superspeedway’s past DNA, particularly during its days of hosting the NASCAR Trucks and Xfinity Series.

The reason for the relocation of the IndyCar race to the Superspeedway is due to extensive construction underway in downtown, including a new football stadium for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, as well as various related street infrastructure projects. While we hope IndyCar will be back to downtown Nashville by 2025, it’s more than likely not going to happen until 2026—or maybe even 2027—at the earliest.

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IndyCar Goes International in 2025

This could be the boldest prediction of all, which we save for last: Don’t be surprised if IndyCar announces at some point during this season it will add an international race—or maybe a couple—to its 2025 schedule.

Locations that could likely be included: Surfer’s Paradise on Australia’s Gold Coast, Brazil, Mexico City, Europe (most likely Great Britain or Germany) or Japan.

Given how much Formula 1 has encroached upon IndyCar’s home turf in the U.S. in recent years in Texas, Miami and Las Vegas, it’s time for IndyCar to fight back by running at least a few of its own races in F1’s own backyard.

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