31 Indy 500 entries already, a look at what is announced and what’s potentially to come

INDIANAPOLIS — We’ve had 3 NTT INDYCAR Series driver announcements in a span of a week. Agustin Canapino will drive the No. 78 Dallara-Chevrolet for Juncos Hollinger Racing, Takuma Sato will drive ovals only for Chip Ganassi Racing in their No. 11 Dallara-Honda while Sting Ray Robb was just announced as the driver of the No. 51 Dallara-Honda for Dale Coyne Racing in conjunction with Rick Ware Racing.

With what’s already been announced, we have 31 confirmed entries for this year’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500. That leaves a max of 5 rides left overall with two entries shy of making a full field.

So who takes them?

Jimmie Johnson is the top domino left. Ganassi and Johnson still talk and Johnson has no one blocking his move to race for a Honda team at Indy but a Chevrolet team in NASCAR. His best option is to come back to Ganassi if he does in fact come. However, does he actually make it happen?

A car and engine package is waiting him if he does. Carvana could sponsor. However, he also wants to run the NASCAR All-Star race too and deciding on how he can make this work. It’s entirely up to him on what he wants to do.

The reason it’s up to him is because, that’s the final Honda engine package. Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing hold the keys to a 4th entry. There’s been a hold up on announcing this yet because it’s not been formally unveiled. I kept hearing Ryan Hunter-Reay’s name coming up as a possible driver for it.

That fills Honda’s 18 engine allotment. However, if Johnson elects to now make a second straight appearance, word is Dale Coyne Racing wants it which could open up another avenue for free agents to look at.

The most growth left is with the Chevrolet camp. They have 3 engine packages open. Word is RC Enerson has equipment but needs a team. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing owns a 2nd set of equipment and wants to run it but looking for the best suitors. Obviously Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson are now out of options for that seat.

Arrow McLaren is set with 4, Team Penske and Ed Carpenter Racing each aren’t expanding from 3 to 4 and it seems like AJ Foyt Racing is best suited for their pair of cars. Juncos Hollinger Racing has expanded from 1 to 2, so it seems like the final 3 Chevy entries are going to be one-offs.

DRR can push it to 16 and leave it down to Paretta, DragonSpeed or someone else to take the other. That then leaves Enerson left hoping to maybe pair up with someone.

There’s currently 3 rookies on the entry-list with Canapino, Pedersen and Robb. There’s also 8 former winners including Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009, 2021), Ericsson (2022), Sato (2017, 2020), Pagenaud (2019), Power (2018), Rossi (2016), Kanaan (2013) and Dixon (2008) on the list. Then if Hunter-Reay (2014) joins, that pushes that number to 9 and would include every Indy 500 champion on the entry-list since 2013.

This also has a wide range of experience among this current field. You have 6 drivers (Kirkwood, Grosjean, DeFrancesco, Malukas, Ilott, Lundgaard) attempting to make their 2nd ‘500 and a driver (McLaughlin trying to make his third. Combine that with the 3 rookies and 10 of the 31 drivers are making their 1st, 2nd or 3rd attempts.

You also have two drivers (Palou, VeeKay) making their fourth attempt and six trying for their fifth (Ferrucci, Herta, O’Ward, Rosenqvist, Ericsson and Wilson).

Combined, that’s 18 of 31 (58%) of the current field with 4 or fewer Indy 500 starts at the moment.

Then you have some big veterans. This is Jack Harvey’s 7th attempt, Alexander Rossi’s 8th. Everyone else has double digits.

Conor Daly (10th attempt), Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden’s 12th attempt, Takuma Sato’s 14th, Graham Rahal’ and Will Power’s 16th, Marco Andretti’s 18th, Ed Carpenter’s 20th, Scott Dixon’s 21st, Tony Kanaan’s 22nd and Helio Castroneves’ 23rd.

That’s a lot of experience with the youthful drivers.

DCR and JHR each roll out a combined 1-year experience between their 2 drivers of each team. Foyt had 4 total years, all by Ferrucci and a rookie in Pedersen.

Andretti has 17 past Indy 500’s for Marco Andretti but 7 combined between the other 4 (Herta 4, Kirkwood, Grosjean, DeFrancesco 1). Rahal is in a similar situation. Graham Rahal has 15 Indy 500’s but Jack Harvey has 6 and Christian Lundgaard with 1.

Penske has some experience with just 2 Indy 500’s from McLaughlin but 12 from Newgarden and 16 from Power.

Ganassi has a good mix with 20 Indy 500’s from Dixon, 14 from Sato, 5 from Ericsson and 4 from Palou.

McLaren is similar with 21 starts out of Kanaan, 8 out of Rossi and 5 each out of O’Ward and Rosenqvist.

ECR has Carpenter approaching 20 starts, Daly approaching 10 and VeeKay approaching 4.

MSR may be the most experienced of all with 22 years from Castroneves and 11 out of Pagenaud.

Indy 500 (31 Confirmed Entries)

Marcus Ericsson leads the field during last May’s Indianapolis 500 – Photo Credit: INDYCAR Media Site

Confirmed

Honda (16)

Andretti Autosport (5) – Colton Herta (No. 26), Kyle Kirkwood (No. 27), Romain Grosjean (No. 28), Devlin DeFrancesco (No. 29), Marco Andretti (No. 98).

Chip Ganassi Racing (4) – Marcus Ericsson (No. 8), Scott Dixon (No. 9), Alex Palou (No. 10), Takuma Sato (No. 11)

Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing (3) – Graham Rahal (No. 15), Jack Harvey (No. 30), Christian Lundgaard (No. 45).

Meyer Shank Racing (2) – Helio Castroneves (No. 06), Simon Pagenaud (No. 60).

Dale Coyne Racing (2) – David Malukas (No. 18), Sting Ray Robb R (No. 51).

The AMSP duo at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Photo Credit: INDYCAR Media Site

Chevrolet (15)

Arrow McLaren SP (4) – Tony Kanaan (TBA), Pato O’Ward (No. 5), Felix Rosenqvist (No. 6), Alexander Rossi (No. 7)

Team Penske (3) – Will Power (No. 1), Josef Newgarden (No. 2), Scott McLaughlin (No. 3)

Ed Carpenter Racing (3) – Ed Carpenter (likely returning), Conor Daly (No. 20), Rinus VeeKay (No. 21).

AJ Foyt Racing (2) –Santino Ferrucci (No. 14), Benjamin Pedersen (No. 88)

Juncos Hollinger Racing (2) – Callum Ilott (No. 77) and Agustin Canapino (No. 78)

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (1) – They have 2 packages and will have Stefan Wilson (No. 24) is one with a joint entry from Cusick. The 2nd car remains open though.

Jimmie Johnson and Tony Kanaan chat on pit road at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Photo Credit: INDYCAR Media Site

Potential Rides

Honda (2)

RLL (1) – They’ve had strong talks of a 4th car for Indy. 

Ganassi (1) – Jimmie Johnson’s landing point should he want to return to Indy. 

Chevrolet (3)

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (1) 

Paretta Autosport (1)

DragonSpeed (1)

Ed Carpenter is hoping this is his year at Indy glory. Photo Credit: INDYCAR Media Site

Drivers With Ties

  • Sting Ray Robb – favorite for the DCR/RWR entry.
  • Jimmie Johnson – Obviously is free to run for whomever he wants but Ganassi makes the most sense here.
  • Ed Carpenter – Clearly the favorite for the 3rd ECR seat.
  • Simona de Silvestro – Locked in with Paretta. Can they pair with someone or get that final Chevy lease?
  • RC Enerson – Has an car, can a team help them out and field Enerson who can bring funding and a chassis?
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay – Linked to RLL’s fourth seat.
  • Sage Karam – Shocking departure from DRR leads him here. The kid can flat out drive and would be a great addition for any team looking for a driver.
  • Danial Frost – He too had a strong test with Coyne.
  • Linus Lundqvist – Won the Indy Lights championship for HMD. Doesn’t have a full-time budget but could be in the mix for that potential seat though.

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