The grid is beginning to take shape for this May 24’s running of the 104th Indianapolis 500. And with several teams still to announce their plans, it’s conceivable there will be bumping again this year to fill the field of 33 Chevrolet and Honda race cars for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
Taking a look at the potential grid by alphabetical order, we see the A.J. Foyt Racing team will likely present three Chevy-powered cars: The No. 4 driven by Charlie Kimball, No. 14 with Tony Kanaan and likely No. 41 for Dalton Kellett. It was just announced that Kimball’s car will have primary sponsorship from ripKurrent, an energy services company for the 500.
Andretti Autosport will have a six-car Honda stable at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with Zach Veach in the No. 26, 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi in his familiar No. 27, the No. 28 of 2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, the second of a three-race No. 29 entry for James Hinchliffe, 2019 two-race winner Colton Herta with his No. 88 and Marco Andretti racing the No. 98 Honda.
As expected, two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will return for his third attempt at the Triple Crown, racing for Arrow McLaren SP in a Chevy-powered No. 66 car, joining rookie contender and reigning Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew (No. 5) together with 2018 Lights titleholder Patricio O’Ward in the No. 7. In announcing the reunification of Alonso and McLaren, with sponsorship from Ruoff Mortgage (which sponsored Takuma Sato in his 2017 victory), Alonso said, “I am a racer and the Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world. I have maximum respect for this race and everyone who competes in it. All I want to do is race against them and give my best.”
At this time Carlin have a single No. 59 Chevrolet entry for Max Chilton, but it’s assumed there will be a second car. Chip Ganassi Racing will have its three full-season drivers on hand for its Honda assault at Indy: No. 8 for Marcus Ericsson, five-tine INDYCAR champ Scott Dixon in his familiar No. 9 and Felix Rosenqvist taking on his second season with the team in No. 10. Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan has second full-year Honda driver Santino Ferrucci in the No. 18 while the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda has rookie Alex Palou aboard.
DragonSpeed returns with a single No. 81 Chevy-powered Dallara – driver to be announced – after Ben Hanley drove the car in 2019, qualifying 27th but only finishing 54 laps and taking 32nd place. Dreyer & Reinbold is expected to field two Chevy-powered cars: the No. 24 for Sage Karam and a likely second entry for J.R. Hildebrand. Ed Carpenter Racing’s trio of Chevy-powered cars are for team owner Ed Carpenter (No. 20), rookie Rinus VeeKay in No. 21 and Conor Daly, whose car number has yet to be determined.
Meyer-Shank Racing, running a full season for the first time with Jack Harvey driving, is affiliated with Andretti Autosport for its Honda-powered No. 60. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will have three Honda entries for the 104th running of the Indy 500. Its regular drivers, Graham Rahal in No. 15 and Sato in the No. 30 Honda, are joined by Citrone/Buhl Autosport’s Spencer Pigot, formerly with Ed Carpenter Racing. Pigot, who made three starts with RLLR in 2016, is a graduate of the Road to Indy, having amassed championships in 2014’s Pro Mazda series and in the 2015 Indy Lights championship. The car number has not been divulged.
Finally, the house that Roger Penske now owns – and the race where he’s got four drivers just yearning to give The Captain another win – brings reigning two-time INDYCAR champion Josef Newgarden (No. 1), Helio Castroneves in his familiar No. 3, Will Power driving the No. 12 Chevrolet and reigning Month of May monster Simon Pagenaud (No. 22), who earned both poles and wins in last year’s Grand Prix and Indy 500.
Who does that leave to fill any remaining spots? Byrd Racing intends to return with James Davison, most likely reuniting with Honda’s Dale Coyne Racing. That leaves Juncos Racing hoping to get sufficient funds to put a Chevy-powered car, likely with Kyle Kaiser on the grid. Also looking for a place for their partial budgets: veterans Carlos Munoz, Pippa Mann, Sebastien Bourdais, Oriol Servia and would-be first-timer Colin Braun.