Indy 500 entries getting shored up early this year

INDIANAPOLIS — I wrote a 2023 NTT INDYCAR Series silly season post on Thursday, but what about for Indy? While we’re still over 7 months from the 107th Running of the big race, it’s never too early to look at where rides are shaping up.

For next year’s, most of the rides are already shored up.

The max we’d see is 36 cars (18 each for Honda, Chevrolet) but most of those are already accounted for or have drivers down the line for rides already.

Chevrolet has 16 of their 18 engines spoken for. That could fall to 15 depending on if AJ Foyt Racing can make their 3rd car work for Dalton Kellett. If not, then there’s 3 engine packages open for the bowties for Indy.

If they can, then it’s down to 2 packages but the favorite to land 1 of the 2 is AMSP. They’d like a veteran in that 4th seat which I’m hearing it could be down to Kanaan or Montoya for it. The only engine left is the RC Enerson/Top Gun saga and what JHR does with their 2nd car however that ride will be a full-time driver though.

What about Honda? They too are pretty much set.

Andretti has 5 cars back (same drivers), Ganassi and RLL each have 3, DRR and MSR both have 2. That’s 15 spoken for. Ganassi will likely keep a 4th which would go to Jimmie Johnson more than likely. That’s 16. The final 2 engines come from the 5th that Ganassi held last year for Kanaan and the old Vasser Sullivan one.

DCR/HMD would like to snag an extra lease and would love to use it full time for Linus Lundqvist. That’s all dependent on Ganassi, Johnson and Takuma Sato. If Johnson wants to run Indy and Ganassi keeps him, then it’s down to Ganassi to figure out if that 4th entry is full time or not. If it’s not, then they can use the engine from Kanaan’s entry last year which leaves a full-time package open for HMD/DCR and Lundqvist. That’s though if Sato comes back. If he doesn’t, then Lundqvist slides into the 51 and they don’t need that engine.

I don’t get the indication that Sato is hanging it up, so they at least can get a 3rd Indy only car at the very least for Lundqvist still.

That leaves 1 engine package left on Honda’s side.

Still, on this day in early October, we know of 26 drivers already confirmed for next May with 28 cars already signed up. However, the path to grow that is more than likely already taken leaving not much room for teams or drivers to jump in…

Chevrolet (16)

Team Penske (3) – All 3 drivers are returning

Arrow McLaren SP (3) – They’ll use all 3 engines full-time next year with O’Ward, Rosenqvist and Rossi in them. Do they get a 4th for Kyle Busch? Word is it’s likely down to Tony Kanaan or Juan Pablo Montoya instead.

Ed Carpenter Racing (3) – Both drivers are back. Ed is likely back on ovals.

AJ Foyt Racing (3) – They had 3 engines this year but will they use all 3 next season? If they do, it’s only for Dalton Kellett

Juncos Hollinger Racing (2) – They’ll have 2 cars next year with Callum Ilott in 1 of them and a TBA driver in the 2nd car.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (2) – I don’t get any indication that they’ll scale back to 1 or 0 cars in 2023 after a strong show this past May. I also don’t get any sense they’ll add more races outside of Indy either.

The Top Gun/RC Enerson saga has 1 engine. AJ Foyt has another but do they use all 3? That leaves 1 engine left. Cusick and Paretta are interested. Can they each secure 1?

Honda (17)

Andretti Autosport (5) – They have 4 drivers signed for 2023 and all will be back. I’d expect Marco Andretti to return in the Indy only role again.

Chip Ganassi Racing (4) – I don’t see them running a 5th car for Indy only next year. They can let go of 1 of their chassis/engines now.

Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing (3) – All 3 drivers are back in 2023.

Meyer Shank Racing (2) – They’ll have both drivers back. They’re eyeing expansion but I don’t see how that gets done yet.

Dale Coyne Racing (2) – They’re after a 3rd engine but can they secure it? Malukas is back but is Sato? They could have 1 seat open. If they don’t, then they want a 3rd engine for Linus Lundqvist.

There’s 1 engine left out there (Vasser Sullivan’s) that could be used. Then the rest gets interesting. Does Ganassi drop 1 of their engines and can DCR gain it? Does MSR secure a 3rd one to use part-time?

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