We now have 33 cars for 33 spots for this May’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500. On Wednesday afternoon, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced the addition for Ryan Hunter-Reay to team with Stefan Wilson.
Hunter-Reay will be attempting to make his 15th start in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and doing so in the No. 23 Dallara-Honda. “Captain America” is a former Indy 500 champion (2014) as well as a season champion (2012) too. The 18-time NTT INDYCAR Series winner didn’t race last year with his final start in the Indy 500 coming in 2021 to where he finished 22nd. Prior to that though, the Florida native had 5 top 10 finishes in an 8 year span which includes his 2014 triumph as well as a third place finish in 2013 and fifth in 2018. He was also 8th in 2019 and 10th in 2020 too.
This will mark the fifth different team that Hunter-Reay has driven at Indy for. He ran with RLL in his first start here in 2008. A year later, he was with Vision Racing. He then raced for Andretti Autosport in 11 of the remaining 12 tries. The lone time he didn’t was in 2011 when he missed the show but later hopped into AJ Foyt Racing’s qualified car to which he finished 23rd.
Now, he’s with DRR for which this being his first time back with Chevrolet power since the two years that Andretti was with them in 2012 and 2013.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has been competing in the famed 500-mile event since 2000 and qualified 45 cars over its course of competition. They’ve been phenomenal at Indy lately too which could make Hunter-Reay a darkhorse this spring. Sage Karam finished 7th in this car in 2021 while Santino Ferrucci was 10th a year ago in the 2nd entry.
By being an Indy only operation, it allows them the luxury of preparing for just one race, on one discipline of tracks and can throw all their eggs in one basket. It clearly worked in 2022. It can work in 2023.
“We feel like we have as good a shot as anyone. We specialize in the 500,” says Reinbold. “We don’t specialize on those other tracks. We specialize at the Indy 500. We’re confident in our ability to get out there and prepare and do what it takes to be in the mix.
“We were in the mix last year, fortunately, with Santino and Sage as well running in the top five to six cars with Santino and around the 12th place car for much of the race last year.
“So we know what it takes and the preparation, dedication, offseason testing to get to that level, and it’s not inconsequential. There’s a lot that goes into it. You have to have the driver that can deliver on that once you get in that position. We feel good about it.
“So I’m just excited about going into the month of May and starting our testing. And we’ve already started our testing, but continuing our testing. And it’s like the old saying, is it May yet? We’re ready to go.”
With that said, will we see any bumping?
Honda has 1 engine left but word is that they’re not going to use it. That leaves it down to Chevrolet. They have 2 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 2 Chevy entries are going to be one-offs.
RC Enerson has equipment but no engine. Paretta and DragonSpeed have expressed interest but I don’t see the resources working out on their own. AJ Foyt Racing can always expand to a third, but it may not be in their best interest to do so. It’s all dependent on sponsorship for the primary cars there.
“Yeah, on the JR (Hildebrand) side, I don’t know that we’ll run an extra car at the 500. We just have to see how that shakes out,” Larry Foyt said last Fall on the manner.
“At the moment some of that funding has gone into this program to make sure it was a full-time program. I think we may just not worry about an extra car at the Speedway this year is kind of the thought. Hate to speculate too much. Yeah, that’s kind of where it’s at.
“If we ran a third, it would only be with Dalton, so… Not looking for a third outside of that at the moment.”
AJ Foyt Racing has run three cars in six of the last seven years (2019 the only exception) but has run four cars just twice this century (2000, 2021). In both years, they didn’t get all four cars in. Roberto Guerrero didn’t make the race in the 20T entry in 2000 and Charlie Kimball in the No. 11 in 2021. In fact, in four of the five years that they ran four cars here, one of the cars didn’t make the race. The only time that four cars for Foyt made the race was in 1987.
Which is why I don’t see them adding a fourth car but the third is a possibility.
There’s also currently 3 rookies on the entry-list with Canapino, Pedersen and Robb. There’s also 9 former winners including Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009, 2021), Ericsson (2022), Sato (2017, 2020), Pagenaud (2019), Power (2018), Rossi (2016), Hunter-Reay (2014), Kanaan (2013) and Dixon (2008) on the list.
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 33 drivers (33%) 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 33 (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 and Hunter-Reay’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.
JHR will roll out a combined 1-year experience between their 2 drivers. Foyt has 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 (33 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) – Pato O’Ward (No. 5), Felix Rosenqvist (No. 6), Alexander Rossi (No. 7), Tony Kanaan (No. 66)
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 (2) – Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 23), Stefan Wilson (No. 24)
Drivers With Ties
- 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. Didn’t have a full-time budget but could for Indy only.