An early look at the Indianapolis 500 entry list with what’s filled and what’s left

INDIANAPOLIS — We’re still a little more than four months away from the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500, but with Arrow McLaren SP’s announcement on Tuesday morning that Juan Pablo Montoya will once again drive the No. 6 Chevrolet for them for a second consecutive year, it gives us great reason to take an early look at the current entry list.

Right now, we’ve got 29 cars entered for the big race with all signs pointing to us getting to a max number of 36 entries again. While some may speculate more, I just don’t see that with a new engine formula coming out in 2023, that there’s any reason to believe that either Honda or Chevrolet will expand past their 18 engines that each supply currently. There’s not much of an incentive to do so when you’re going to have more expenses than years past between 2022 and 2023 in developing the new engine.

With that said, 28 of those 29 cars entered have drivers. Among those 28 confirmed drivers, 1/4 of them are rookies (Jimmie Johnson, Romain Grosjean, Devlin DeFrancesco, Kyle Kirkwood, David Malukas, Callum Ilott and Christian Lundgaard).

What’s wild is, between Penske and Andretti, they have two combined Indy 500 wins among their driver current respective lineups. Those triumphs came via Alexander Rossi (2016) and Will Power (2018). That also equals the same number of Indy 500 wins that Rick Ware Racing/Dale Coyne Racing has via Takuma Sato (2017, 2020) and is almost a third of what Meyer Shank Racing (Simon Pagenaud 2019, Helio Castroneves 2001, 2002, 2009, 2021) has.

Below is the confirmed list.

Chevrolet (14)

  • Team Penske (3) – Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Scott McLaughlin are back as they’re scaling down from four cars to three.
  • Arrow McLaren SP (3) –  Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist are back full time. Juan Pablo Montoya will drive the third car in the Indy 500.
  • Ed Carpenter Racing (3) – Rinus VeeKay is back in the 21. Ed Carpenter is in the 20 on all ovals. If US Air Force came back, it was going to either be Conor Daly or Ryan Hunter-Reay in the 20 on all road/street courses and in a third car for the ‘500 only. Now that they won’t be, this seat is wide open for the taking.
  • AJ Foyt Racing (2) – Kyle Kirkwood will be in the 14 full time. Dalton Kellett will return to the seat of the 4 car. The team wants a third full time car and they’re moving closer to this happening but at this rate, it may end up being Indy only.
  • Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (2) – They’ll have two cars next May for Indy only and Sage Karam (No. 24) and Santino Ferrucci (No. 23) will drive them.
  • Juncos Hollinger Racing (1) – Callum Ilott will be in the car but there’s a strong indication that they’ll merge with Carlin here for a second entry.



Honda (15)

  • Chip Ganassi Racing (4) – All five drivers should be back (Scott Dixon, Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Kanaan). Johnson is full time so now the focus is finding a fifth seat for Tony Kanaan for Indy. That fifth car would likely come from Andretti Autosport’s inventory of six that they had last year. The thing is, they’ve not formally announced that yet.
  • Andretti Autosport (4) – They’ll run four cars full time (Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, Romain Grosjean and Devlin DeFrancesco) with Marco Andretti likely coming back to the Indy 500 again as a part time one off. With a lot of Honda expansion this offseason, Andretti is essentially capped at five cars for Indy next May but they’ve not formally announced that fifth ride yet.
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (3) – Graham Rahal, Jack Harvey and Christian Lundgaard make up this team as they’ll expand from two full time cars to three.
  • Meyer Shank Racing (2) – Here’s another expansion with them growing to two full time cars now too. Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud) will drive them.
  • Dale Coyne Racing (2) – HMD Racing replaces Vasser Sullivan in the 18 ride and brings David Malukas with them. Rick Ware is back on the 51 Honda and will have Takuma Sato.

Left To Be Announced

Is Paretta back? Foyt is after a third car but nothing has materialized yet. Top Gun appears primed to return. That leaves Carlin and Juncos and their expected partnership. More than likely this will be an Indy only entry with a ride open.

Top Gun will be with RC Enerson if they return. Paretta would be Simona de Silvestro. I’ve been hearing that if Foyt secures a third car for Indy, it will be for JR Hildebrand again.

Carlin/Juncos ride is either Max Chilton or completely open while ECR has an open Indy seat for their third car. These two rides and the third car in the Coyne umbrella, the one in conjunction with Rick Ware Racing are all that’s left in securing an Indy 500 ride this year.

Here’s the kicker, Cusick is wanting to have a team. They actually eyed being on their own after merging with Andretti Autosport on an entry for Stefan Wilson last May. Without any cars available, they have since shifted their focus on another joint entry for May only.

Vasser Sullivan Racing is also actively looking for a new partner since they’ve parted ways with DCR. Like Cusick, they’d eventually like to run a full season on their own.

Carlin/Juncos appears to be another merger.

So, where does Cusick and VSR merge? Is it with Foyt? Is it with ECR? If so, Wilson will be in one of those seats with Cuscick where VSR is a little more open.

Plus, VSR’s merger makes the most sense to do so with Chip Ganassi Racing. Think about it. The stars are aligning for this. The “V” in VSR stands for Jimmy Vasser. He had his best years of his racing career with Chip Ganassi Racing. When he had his own team in KVSH, they had Tony Kanaan as a driver and together, won the 2013 Indy 500. CGR is looking for a fifth car for Indy for Kanaan…

VSR is looking for a merger and was with another Honda team the last several years. Doesn’t it add up for Ganassi and VSR to combine forces for a fifth car for Kanaan?

Does it make sense for ECR who needs a sponsor to maybe merge with Cusick and have Stefan Wilson in that ride? It gives Cusick more races than Indy and puts Wilson on an inside track. It also gives ECR the funding it needs.

If that fails, Foyt makes the most sense which unfortunately boots Hildebrand out.

Either way, Hildebrand, Conor Daly, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Charlie Kimball, Max Chilton or another big name isn’t going to be on the entry list in May. There’s just not enough room.

Chevrolet

Top Gun (1) – They still have their car and looking to show up to more races than Indy in 2022 with RC Enerson but nothing has been formally announced yet.

Carlin (1) – They have a car and a team but need funding. Word is maybe the 59 works in house with Juncos Hollinger Racing as an alliance for a two car outfit which would bring Max Chilton in a return if he wants

Is Paretta back or was that a one off year? Is Foyt going to snag a third entry? This is what’s left for Chevrolet to announce.

Honda (3)

Chip Ganassi Racing (1) – A fifth car for Tony Kanaan is left to announce.

Andretti Autosport (1) – Marco Andretti is in the drivers seat for this car but they’ve not formally announced this one yet either.

Dale Coyne Racing/Rick Ware Racing (1) – They have another car (No. 52 Honda) that Pietro Fittipaldi raced for them in the ‘500 last year. Cody Ware ran it some on road courses last year as well.

The only ride open here is really the DCR/RWR team. That’s it.

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