With the now unveiling of a new NTT IndyCar Series team, Paretta Autosport, where do the car counts sit for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 as of mid January? Simona de Silvestro will drive the No. 16 Chevrolet with Team Penske’s support. She joins a talented one-off list that also includes Juan Pablo Montoya (Arrow McLaren SP).
Yes, we may still be a little more than four months away from the 105th Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, but with an announcement like we saw on Tuesday, you can’t help but to think forward to what’s ahead.
So far, we have 29 cars that we know of that will show up in May with plenty of more rides in the works.
Montoya, has won two of his five starts in that race and despite not having raced in it since 2017, I feel like he’s going to have a say in who wins next year’s race.
You also have Helio Castroneves in the second Meyer Shank Racing car which has an alliance with Andretti Autosport. Then, you get Tony Kanaan back in a Chip Ganassi Racing entry again. Does Jimmie Johnson jump in the fray in a fifth car at CGR?
Also, we have Scott McLaughlin joining Team Penske too and Sebastien Bourdais back again, this time with AJ Foyt Racing.
Just look at that star power. Montoya, Castroneves, Kanaan, Bourdais, McLaughlin and maybe Johnson?
That doesn’t even mention the fact that you’ll have Alexander Rossi, Colton Herta, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal, Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson, Ed Carpenter, Rinus VeeKay, Conor Daly, Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist already signed.
James Hinchcliffe should find a ride with AA again too.
Every Indy 500 winner since 2013 is here again. There’s 13 Indy 500 wins already on the entry list.
Now, with that said, where does this land on the car count factor? Andretti is planning on four full time cars with Marco Andretti focusing on a move to part time. It also appears James Hinchcliffe will be in the No. 29 Honda which will serve as the fourth full time entry for them this season.
MSR is set at two cars. CGR will be set at four unless Johnson decides to run. RLL has run three lately including last year with an alliance. Do they do so again? Dale Coyne Racing will have at least two, but do they get a third for Indy again?
Penske is set at four for themselves but a fifth now with this venture. McLaren/SPM should stand pat at three. ECR has three. Foyt will have at least two. DRR should show back up with two again and what about Carlin?
It’s going to be the new teams that propel us to a bump day but to what extent. Honda has 15 at the very minimum right now with the potential for 18-19. Chevrolet has 14 at their minimum but can grow to 17 or 18.
This field may get to 35-38 but that’s going to be a high quality 35-38 too. This could be one of the toughest fields to get into next year in the 105 year history of this event. I know the glory years saw more cars go home than starting spots, but their depth from top to the bottom wasn’t like this. The speeds were as close to each other then either. The disparity from first to last over four laps now can be separated by a slight bobble on one of your laps.
Throw in high class drivers in every ride and you get what should be a memorable Month of May next year with the best field to ever grace us at the Brickyard.
Entries So Far
Team Penske (4) – Josef Newgarden (No. 2), Scott McLaughlin (No. 3), Will Power No. 12), Simon Pagenaud (No. 22)
Arrow McLaren SP (3) – Pato O’Ward (No. 5), Felix Rosenqvist (No. 7), Juan Pablo Montoya (Number TBA)
Ed Carpenter Racing (3) – Ed Carpenter (No. 20), Rinus VeeKay (No. 21), Conor Daly (Number TBA)
AJ Foyt Racing (2) – Dalton Kellett (No. 4), Sebastien Bourdais (No. 14)
Carlin (1) – Max Chilton (No. 59)
Paretta Autosport (1) – Simona de Silvestro (1)
Andretti Autosport (5) – Colton Herta (No. 26), Alexander Rossi (No. 27), Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28), Marco Andretti (No. 98), No. 29 (open – likely James Hinchcliffe)
Chip Ganassi Racing (4) – Marcus Ericsson (No. 8), Scott Dixon (No. 9), Alex Palou (No. 10), Tony Kanaan (No. 48)
Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing (2) – Graham Rahal (No. 15), Takuma Sato (No. 30)
Meyer Shank Racing (2) – Helio Castroneves (No. 06), Jack Harvey (No. 60)
Dale Coyne Racing (2) – No. 18 (open), No. 19 (open)
Part Time (8)
No. 88 Honda – Harding/Steinbrenner Racing?. The car is there, do they have the funding to go back to part time with maybe and Indy only entry?
No. 24 Chevrolet – Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (ran at least 1 car for every Indy 500 since 2000)
DRR – 2nd car (ran this car for 3 straight years)
RLL (3rd car) – ran an Indy only entry for 13 straight years now. Brought a 3rd car out in 2004, 2013 (DNQ), 2018 (Servia), 2019 (Jordan King), 2020 (Pigot).
AJ Foyt Racing (3rd car) – Interest is there. Ran a 3rd car in 5 of the last 6 years
Dale Coyne Racing (3rd car) – ran additional cars every year since 2013. Ran 4 in 2016 and again in 2018
Buhl Cirtrone – ran Pigot with RLL last year. Do they run on their own or team up with another existing team for an extra car?
Top Gun Racing? – Was supposed to show up last year but ran out of time. Do they try again this May?
Byrd Racing? – Has had a car in each of the last 3 years for James Davison and in 2015 and 2016 for Bryan Clauson. Do they come back for the 6th time in the last 7 years? Odds are if they do, it will be an alliance.
Rick Ware Racing? – They have a car. Do they use it like they did last year?
Juncos Racing? – Sold a car to another team, so do they even have enough parts and a car left?
Notable Non Rookie Drivers Available
Oriol Servia – 11 starts, best finish 4th (2012), last start came in 2019
Charlie Kimball – 10 starts (all consecutively) – best finish 3rd (2015), has driven for 3 different teams in the last 4 years
JR Hildebrand – 10 starts (all consecutively) – best finish 2nd (2011) – drove for DRR last 3 years
James Hinchcliffe – 8 starts, best finish 6th (2012), won pole for 100th Running, has 3 top 10’s as well
Sage Karam – 7 starts, best finish 9th (2014) – drove for DRR in 6 of 7 years
James Davison – 6 starts, best finish 12th (2019)
Spencer Pigot – 5 starts, best finish 14th (2019)
Zach Veach – 4 starts, best finish 15th (2020)
Ed Jones – 3 starts, best finish 3rd (2017) – drove for 3 different teams too (DCR, Ganassi, ECR), last start 2019
Santino Ferrucci – 2 starts, improved each time. Was 7th in 2019 and 4th last year
Oliver Askew – 1 starts (2020) – finished 30th. Won the 2019 Freedom 100