The 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 goes down later this month, and while it looked touch and go there for a hot minute, there will actually be two entries exiting the event on Saturday, May 22nd, bump day. With final entries confirmed Wednesday following the official release of the list of 35 for the five-hundred.
In addition to the regular field of IndyCar regulars, entries will be fielded for Marco Andretti, Juan Pablo Montoya, RC Enerson, Tony Kanaan, Santino Ferrucci, Stefan Wilson, Simona De Silvestro, and Pietro Fittipaldi. A third Dale Coyne Racing car was planned for Cody Ware in conjunction with Rick Ware Racing, but it was withdrawn.
Among the field of 35 attempting to make the race, and all of them are quite likely to do so, are nine former Indy 500 champions. Helio Castroneves is back for what is probably his last attempt, and has started on the front row for this race a whopping five times, won it three times, and finished on the podium a further four! 40-year-old Scott Dixon has three poles, but only one victory at the Brickyard, and this year is probably his best opportunity to secure a second. Takuma Sato took his second 500 win last year with no fans, and he desperately wants to hear the crowd roar as he repeats this year. Other cars will be driven by the likes of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, and Alexander Rossi.
Three rookies will attempt to make the field in Scott McLaughlin, Pietro Fittipaldi, and RC Enerson. Pietro is the third Fittipaldi to race in the 500, following grandfather Emerson and cousin (once removed) Christian. Kiwi Scott McLaughlin has proved himself quite adept at adapting to the oval format, and is practically a shoe-in for Rookie of the Year.
In recent years I’ve actually found qualifying to be almost as much fun as the race itself, so you’ll definitely want to tune in for this one. It’s an intense combination of high-stress single-car qualifying and trying to work out averages math on the fly. If you like that sort of thing, check it out next weekend.