With DragonSpeed’s announcement on Monday, the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 officially has 30 car and driver combinations on the entry list. That’s impressive because we’re still a little over a week away from Christmas still. There were recent years where we didn’t hit 30 entries until April.
That just goes to show you the rise of the IndyCar Series and how well the top brass is doing over there on the west side of Indianapolis. It’s a series everyone wants to be in. McLaren and DragonSpeed will join in some capacity in 2019. Juncos, Shank, Carlin, Scuderia Corsa and Harding are recent additions in the last few years too. NBC Sports has come on board full time. It’s a very bright future.
With where things stand, there’s a very realistic chance of us getting to 36-40 entries next May. Byrd Racing is wanting to come back. Carlin is wanting to not just show up with two cars, but three. Juncos wants to come with two cars, Dale Coyne Racing has run four cars the last few years. Andretti most certainly will expand at least one ‘500 only car. If Byrd doesn’t team with Foyt, does A.J. and Larry bring out a third car again?
See where this is going?
Team Penske (4) Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves
Ed Carpenter Racing/Scuderia Corsa (3) – Ed Carpenter, Spencer Pigot, Ed Jones
AJ Foyt Racing (2) – Matheus Leist, Tony Kanaan
Carlin (2) – TBA on both (Expected to be Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball again)
McLaren (1) – Fernando Alonso
DragonSpeed (1) – Ben Hanley R
Juncos (1) – TBA
Andretti Autosport (4) – Zach Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti
Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing (3) – Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Jordan King R
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports/Meyer Shank (3) – James Hinchcliffe, Marcus Ericsson R, Jack Harvey
Chip Ganassi Racing (2) – Scott Dixon, Felix Rosenqvist R
Harding Steinbrenner Racing (2) – Colton Herta R, Patricio O’Ward R
Dale Coyne Racing (2) – Sebastien Bourdais, Santino Ferrucci R
AJ Foyt Racing (1) – Have run a third entry the last few years. Expected to do so again.
Carlin (1) – Trevor Carlin said towards the end of the 2018 season that there’s a 70-30 chance of running a third car.
Juncos (1) – Ricardo Juncos said that he has a second car and wants to at least run it at Indy.
Byrd Racing (1) – Has a car and wants to run James Davison again.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (1-2) – They have two cars and likely will come back with two again
Andretti Autosport (1-2) – Have run at least five cars lately. Will likely do so again. But, with alliance with Harding, does that cut into a sixth car?
Dale Coyne Racing (1-2) – Has run four cars the last few years. Expect Pippa Mann and someone else to be in the four car lineup in 2019.
Notable Free Agents
AJ Allmendinger – Lost his NASCAR ride but has an open wheel history and a relationship with Shank. Does he come back? He started fifth and finished seventh in his lone Indy 500 start in 2013 with Penske.
Rene Binder R- No starts in the ‘500 but made six IndyCar starts last year with Juncos. They want to add a second car, does he get it?
Gabby Chaves – 4 Indy 500 starts, all consecutively, with a best finish of ninth in 2017
Max Chilton – Expected back with Carlin. 3 Indy 500 starts, led 50 laps and finished fourth in 2017
Zachary Claman DeMelo – Impressive as a rookie with DCR last year. Started 13th and finished 19th. Signed with Belardi for Indy Lights in 2019, but that team ran the ‘500 with Byrd Racing last year and ZCD should be a contender for that seat if they return.
James Davison – Teamed with Byrd Racing last year. Has ran every Indy 500 with the exception of one since 2014. Best finish is 16th in 2014.
Conor Daly – Has made five starts in the last six Indy 500’s. Best finish was 21st last year.
JR Hildebrand – Has made eight Indy 500 starts, all consecutively. He ran for DRR last year and has four top 11 finishes in his last five starts, all in Indy only roles too.
Jay Howard – Has teamed up with SPM and Tony Stewart the last two years. Is a third on the horizon?
Kasey Kahne – The interest level is there. His NASCAR days are over but he was in Sonoma with Ed Carpenter this past September. He’s a past Brickyard winner.
Kyle Kaiser – Started 17th and finished 29th last year with Juncos. Likely the top pick to return.
Sage Karam – Has competed in the last five Indy 500’s, four of which with DRR.
Charlie Kimball – Has raced in eight straight Indy 500’s, four resulted in a top 10 finish. Expected to be back with Carlin.
Pippa Mann – Was a DNQ last year but she likely will be back. Has made six starts in the ‘500 with a best finish of 17th in 2017.
Carlos Munoz – Has made six Indy 500 starts, all consecutively. He’s the top free agent in terms of the ‘500 out there. Munoz, has five top 10’s in six tries including two runner-ups.
Sebastian Saavedra – Has six Indy 500 starts, his last coming in 2017 with Juncos. With them wanting to expand to second car, does he get that seat again?
Oriol Servia – Has 10 Indy 500 starts under his belt and nearly got the win a year ago.
Stefan Wilson – Has two Indy 500 starts, with a best finish of 15th coming just last year with Andretti.
Santi Urrutia – A rookie with no ride but has come money.