The 100th Indianapolis 500 is still 10 weeks away, but it's never too early to start throwing out rash predictions on who's going to win what the Blob has come to think of as The Century.
I think defending champion Juan Pablo Montoya is the man.
I think that because he drove yet another masterful race at St. Petersburg yesterday, winning the IndyCar season opener with a car he basically couldn't steer in the closing laps. He's the most accomplished driver on the circuit, and his focus this year, he says, is on winning races. And I can't imagine he'll want to win one more than The Century.
No one has gone back-to-back at Indy since Helio Castroneves did it in 2001 and 2002, but it has to happen again sometime, right? And Montoya owns the place. Not only did he dominate two Brickyard 400s there before falling back late, but he's won twice in three 500 starts. And in the other one?
Fifth. He finished fifth.
And so you know, or at least can assume, that he's going to be there at the end. And if he's really there at the end ... well, you can close the book. No one's going to outrun him to the checkers.
Montoya. For now.