INDIANAPOLIS — Rick Ware Racing appears to be dropping one car this month. They’ll still show up in the No. 51 Honda with rookie Pietro Fittipaldi but the 52 car likely isn’t going to be here in Indy unless they can find a driver who brings funding. The time has run out for funding for Cody Ware, who passed his rookie orientation last month and now RWR says they can’t field that entry anymore.
Ed Jones will be in the full time seat for Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 18 Honda, but the third car never materialized. With that said, it leaves us with 34 entries at the moment. Does Honda try to find another suitor? Does RWR seek to fill that seat if anyone can bring a check?
Then you have the Top Gun saga. They keep saying that they’re in. They even tested earlier this week at the World Wide Technology Raceway. RC Enerson is their driver. They have a car and an engine. Everything seems to be there. The only problem is, it’s May 12 and they’ve yet to announce their Indy 500 entry. Until their formally do so, it’s hard to count them for the entry list.
I’ve seen this too many times to where teams say what Top Gun is saying but then never actually show up. Without them coming out and making a formal announcement that they’ll indeed be here for practice next Tuesday, it’s hard to take anything seriously. I mean we’re less than a week away from Indy 500 practice. Enerson has to complete all three phases of orientation still. He was very impressive in his first Indy Car start at Mid-Ohio back in 2016, but he’s not raced in the series since 2019 with Carlin. That race in 2019 was his first start in the series since 2016 in fact.
He’s not raced on the Indy oval since the 2016 Freedom 100. That was his last oval start. So, to count a team that’s never formally announced their entry, with a driver that hasn’t made an oval start in five years, well I’ll be cautious.
I hope they do materialize something. 34 cars for 33 spots is almost to the point of let everyone race. I’m not saying that needs to happen, but do you really need to send one car home. At least having two cars over the 33 car limit is aesthetically more feasible. That happened in 2018. 2019 saw three cars go home while 2020 saw no one.
So, as we sit here going into the GMR Grand Prix race weekend, we have 34 entries for 33 spots with two more cars/engine packages out there for the taking.
For those drivers that are on it, we know that every Indy 500 winner since 2013 is here again. There’s 13 Indy 500 wins already on the entry list. Also, the entire top 14 of last years finishing order is back. Plus, you add a two-time Indy 500 champion back to the fold that wasn’t here a year ago too.
That could make this one of the toughest fields to get into this 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 weren’t 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 this year with the best field to ever grace us at the Brickyard.
With the 34 cars on the list, 25 of them are full time and the other 9 part time rides.
Entries So Far
Team Penske (4) – Josef Newgarden (No. 2), Scott McLaughlin (No. 3), Will Power No. 12), Simon Pagenaud (No. 22)
AJ Foyt Racing (4) – JR Hildebrand (No. 1), Dalton Kellett (No. 4), Charlie Kimball (No. 11), Sebastien Bourdais (No. 14)
Arrow McLaren SP (3) – Pato O’Ward (No. 5), Felix Rosenqvist (No. 7), Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 68)
Ed Carpenter Racing (3) – Ed Carpenter (No. 20), Rinus VeeKay (No. 21), Conor Daly (Number TBA)
Carlin (1) – Max Chilton (No. 59)
Paretta Autosport (1) – Simona de Silvestro (No. 16)
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (1) – Sage Karam (No. 24)
Andretti Autosport (6) – Stefan Wilson (No. 25), Colton Herta (No. 26), Alexander Rossi (No. 27), Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28), James Hinchcliffe (No. 29), Marco Andretti (No. 98)
Chip Ganassi Racing (4) – Marcus Ericsson (No. 8), Scott Dixon (No. 9), Alex Palou (No. 10), Tony Kanaan (No. 48)
Dale Coyne Racing (2) – Ed Jones (No. 18 Honda), Pietro Fittipaldi (No. 51 Honda)
Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing (3) – Graham Rahal (No. 15), Takuma Sato (No. 30), Santino Ferrucci (No. 45 Honda)
Meyer Shank Racing (2) – Helio Castroneves (No. 06), Jack Harvey (No. 60)
Notable Non Rookie Drivers Available
Oriol Servia – 11 starts, best finish 4th (2012), last start came in 2019
Spencer Pigot – 5 starts, best finish 14th (2019)
Zach Veach – 4 starts, best finish 15th (2020)
Oliver Askew – 1 starts (2020) – finished 30th. Won the 2019 Freedom 100