Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Hendrickson, a leading global manufacturer and supplier of suspension systems and components to the commercial transportation industry, will be the primary sponsor of the team’s No. 44 Honda-powered entry for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500. Katherine Legge, who is one of 9 women to compete in the Indy 500, will return to the team to pilot the entry for her third appearance in the race.
British driver Legge, who currently races an Acura NSX GT3 full time in the GTD class in IMSA, scored a win and pole with RLL in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series in the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E season and finished on the podium three times in 10 races. She competed in the Champ Car World Series fulltime in 2006-07 and made 10 Indy car starts in 2012 while sharing an entry with four-time Indy car champion Sebastien Bourdais at Dragon Racing. In total, she has made 39 Champ or Indy car starts with a best finish of sixth, two times. A long time Honda/Acura competitor, she brought NSX its first win worldwide in Detroit in 2017.
Hendrickson joined the team as an associate sponsor in 2019 and created a purpose-built engineering support trailer that made its debut at the 2019 Indianapolis 500. The trailer enables the team to maximize the information sharing between their three fulltime INDYCAR programs at each of the race events in the interest of performance. Hendrickson extended their partnership with the team in 2022 and expanded it to become the primary sponsor of Christian Lundgaard’s entry at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio last year. This will be their second appearance as a primary sponsor of a racing event.
This will mark the 32nd entry into the field.
Jimmie Johnson is the top domino left for the 33rd but it’s sounding more and more likely that he won’t race. Ganassi and Johnson still talk and Johnson has no one blocking his move to race. His best option is to come back to Ganassi, if he does in fact come. However, does he actually make it happen?
Sounds like he may not for this year’s version.
That leaves 1 Honda engine allotment open. Who takes it is the question? DCR was in the market for it and now has a path to take it so long as Johnson/Ganassi don’t. Can they do so?
The most growth left is with the Chevrolet camp. They have 3 engine packages open. 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.
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.
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. The only former winner since 2013 not on the list is Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014).
This also has a wide range of experience vs. inexperience among this current field too. You have 6 drivers (Kirkwood, Grosjean, DeFrancesco, Malukas, Ilott, Lundgaard) attempting to make their 2nd ‘500 and two drivers (McLaughlin and Legg) trying to make their third. Combine that with the 3 rookies and 11 of the 32 drivers (34%) 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 19 of 32 (59%) 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, Katherine Legge 2 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 (32 Confirmed Entries)
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 (4) – Graham Rahal (No. 15), Jack Harvey (No. 30), Katherine Legge (No. 44), 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).
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) – Conor Daly (No. 20), Rinus VeeKay (No. 21), Ed Carpenter (No. 33)
AJ Foyt Racing (2) –Santino Ferrucci (No. 14), Benjamin Pedersen (No. 55)
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.
Ganassi (1) – Jimmie Johnson’s landing point should he want to return to Indy. If he doesn’t, Honda has an opening.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (1)
Paretta Autosport (1)
Drivers With Ties
- Jimmie Johnson – Obviously is free to run for whomever he wants but Ganassi makes the most sense here.
- 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?
- 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.