The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will officially have 33 cars and drivers entered.
The official entry list was unveiled today, with no surprises to announce. With the recent additions of James Davison and Ben Hanley, the full field was essentially all but done despite Dreyer & Reinbold Racing never officially announcing JR Hildebrand. There are eight former Indy 500 winners in the field, with Simon Pagenaud as the defending race winner after he swept the Month of May at Indianapolis last year. Six former series champions are also in the race, and all but one (Josef Newgarden) have their face on the Borg-Warner Trophy already.
Five drivers will compete for the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award. Those drivers are Oliver Askew, Dalton Kellett, Pato O’Ward, Alex Palou, and Rinus VeeKay. You can click here to see the full list of Indy 500 ROY winners dating back to the first one in 1952 with Art Cross. Santino Ferrucci earned the honors last year, and two years before him it was two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso who claimed the award. Alonso will be back in the race after being bumped out during qualifications last year.
The Arrow McLaren SP team has been performing well so far this season, and the two rookie drivers will now get to work closely with a legend behind the wheel. Alonso will attempt to become just the second driver (Graham Hill) ever to complete the “Triple Crown” of global auto racing with victories in the Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Monaco Grand Prix.
Andretti Autosport once again has the most cars entered in the event, with six. They welcome James Hinchcliffe back as he returns to his former team where his career-best finish of 6th came in 2012. A good result in this race could go a long way in determining his full-time status next season. Three-time winner Helio Castroneves returns for quite possibly his last race with Team Penske. The popular Brazilian is seeking a return to full-time in the series for next year.
While most teams will be running three cars this month, Carlin Racing will have just one with Max Chilton behind the wheel of their Chevrolet. Dragonspeed was able to secure funding to return with Ben Hanley, and Spencer Pigot returns with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing now after a front-row qualifying effort last year with Ed Carpenter Racing.
Practice opens Wednesday, August 12th and runs through Friday, August 14th. Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday, August 15th and Sunday, August 16th will set the first three rows, including pole position. The traditional final practice, expanded to two hours as part of Miller Lite Carb Day, will be held Friday, August 21st. NBC’s live broadcast begins at 1 PM ET Sunday, August 23, with the green flag set for 2:30 PM. Central Indiana fans can watch the race live on WTHR-13.