The 106th Indianapolis 500 is 106 days away and the roster of teams and drivers for the event is nearly complete. There are a few seats left that could materialize if sufficient funding is found, but for the most part the list of candidates is quite short and dry at the moment.
According to the two manufacturers, Honda and Chevrolet, each is likely to produce 17 or 18 entries for this year’s event. This means that there will only be a maximum of 36 cars vying for the 33 starting positions, but it might not reach that point, as once thought.
Of the full-time registrations, only one seat is available at this time. AJ Foyt Racing will race three cars at each round this year, but rookie Tatiana Calderon will only race the road and street courses in the #11 Chevrolet. This leaves the door open to an oval-only program for one driver, which will likely be JR Hildebrand, who raced for the team last season.
Foyt’s other two drivers, Dalton Kellett and talented rookie Kyle Kirkwood will both be on the entry list. In the Andretti Autosport camp there will be at least five cars entered with full-time drivers Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, Romain Grosjean and Devlin DeFrancesco. The extra car will be for Marco Andretti, who will be looking to make his 17th start in racing’s biggest show.
Arrow McLaren SP will have the same three drivers as last year, with full-time drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist teaming up with two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Montoya. Chip Ganassi will join Andretti as the sole team to field five cars in May. Full-time riders Marcus Ericsson, Scott Dixon, defending series champion Alex Palou and Jimmie Johnson will be joined by 2013 winner Tony Kanaan in a fifth Honda machine.
Dale Coyne Racing will be Honda’s wild card. At the moment they only have two cars to enter with rookie David Malukas and two-time 500 champion Takuma Sato. There’s a strong possibility they’ll feature a third entry, but only if it makes business sense. If they stick to just two cars, that available Honda engine lease could become a sixth entry for Andretti, possibly for James Hinchcliffe or Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Ed Carpenter Racing is finally doing what many people thought it should have done a few years ago. Instead of splitting duties with another driver in the #20 car, it’s now a full-time commute for Conor Daly. Rinus VeeKay remains in the #21 car and Carpenter will field a separate car for him this year. Juncos Hollinger Racing will return with Callum Ilott after merging with Carlin Racing.
Last year’s winning team, Meyer Shank Racing, will return to IMS with a strong two-car lineup. Helio Castroneves will be back to defend his crown and aim to become the first driver to win the race five times. His new teammate is a familiar face to 2019 winner Simon Pagenaud, as the two former Penske drivers look to keep the momentum going after winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona this year. The team will not field a third entry.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan has typically raced three cars at Indy, and will do so again this year, but with all three being full-time starters. Graham Rahal returns with former MSR pilot Jack Harvey now on board. They will team up with rookie sensation Christian Lundgaard, giving the team a realistic chance of winning this race again. A fourth car will not come out of this stable.
Team Penske will be aiming to get back on track after a tough few years for The Captain. The team will likely remain with its three current full-time drivers, Josef Newgarden, Scott McLaughlin and Will Power. If a marquee driver comes along and it makes sense to race him, Roger might just pull the trigger on a fourth entry.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will return to the Speedway with two talented young drivers this year in Sage Karam and Santino Ferrucci. Apart from these entries, there are only a few unanswered questions.
Paretta Autosport is set to return this year with driver Simona de Silvestro. They qualified 33rd last year but have continued to set up new sponsors which should see them return in May. Team owner Beth Paretta reportedly made an effort to order an all-new chassis from Dallara ahead of open testing at IMS in late April. Whether that materializes or not, they are expected to seek a partnership with an existing team again this year.
Marotti Autosport has been trying to raise funds to field an entry for several years now, but is now closer than ever to realizing that goal. The team is said to have a team and a driver, but no agreement has been signed. They could end up with Foyt in their third entry this year.
After a tough break last year where they failed to qualify for the race, Top Gun Racing now has a bigger hurdle to overcome. The team parted ways with RC Enerson, and the 24-year-old’s family took full ownership of the chassis and extra tub they were using. That leaves both sides struggling to find their way back to the grid in 2022.
Cusick Motorsports was supposed to be in the series this year, but after being unable to secure an engine lease and a team to partner with, it could be 2023 before they hit the grid. Don Cusick has his driver in Stefan Wilson, but admitted their chances of running in May this year are very slim. The team still plans to enter the series full-time in 2023.
Unless there are last-minute deals or issues, the list of entries will look a lot like this. Drivers available and trying to secure a seat include Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Enerson, Sebastien Bourdais, Spencer Pigot, Charlie Kimball, Ed Jones, Max Chilton, Linus Lundqvist and Stoffel Vandoorne. The official entry list will probably be 34 to 35 cars again this year.
The Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 29, with the first day of practice taking place on May 17.