Yesterday Dragonspeed confirmed Ben Hanley will drive the number 81 in the 104th running for the Indianapolis 500. The entry is the 33rd for the race, avoiding a less than full field for the first time since 1947. Given the economic climate I think it is quite an accomplishment to have 33 cars this year.
Two other possible entries, Juncos Racing and Top Gun Racing, decided not to pursue an entry until next year. Juncos ran out of time to secure sponsorship and get a car built in time. Top Gun had a sponsor withdraw because there would be no track activation. Cutting the purse in half also figured into their decision. R. C. Enerson was scheduled to drive for Top Gun.
Five rookies are entered- Pato O’Ward, Oliver Askew, Rinus VeeKay, Alex Palou, and Dalton Kellett. O’Ward passed his rookie test last year but did not qualify for the race.
This year’s race will be the first without a female driver since 1999. Pippa Mann was unable to put a program together for this year.
Because there are only 33 cars, there will be no Last Row Shootout next Sunday, but the Fats Nine will still take place.
The entry list, thanks to Eric Smith of Race Review Online:
Team Penske (4) – Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves
Ed Carpenter Racing (3) – Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly, Rinus VeeKay R
Arrow McLaren SP (3) – Pato O’Ward R, Oliver Askew R, Fernando Alonso
AJ Foyt Racing (3) – Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Dalton Kellett R
Carlin (1) – Max Chilton
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (2) – Sage Karam, JR Hildebrand
DragonSpeed (1) – Ben Hanley
Andretti Autosport (6) – Zach Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Colton Herta, Marco Andretti
Chip Ganassi Racing (3) – Scott Dixon, Felix Rosenqvist, Marcus Ericsson
Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing (3) – Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Spencer Pigot (Citrone/Buhl partnership)
Dale Coyne Racing (3) – Santino Ferrucci, Alex Palou R, James Davison
Meyer Shank Racing (1) – Jack Harvey (Andretti alliance)
Hoosier Hundred Gets New Life
The Hoosier Hundred, thought to be gone after 2019, will return to Indiana State Fairgrounds August 23. The race began in 1953 as part of the USAC national championship. It is now an event in the USAC Silver Crown series. Ther ace is scheduled for 8pm, well after the 500 is over, but activities begin with practice and qualifying during the 500.
The race is able to return because of the pandemic. The track was going to be resurfaced with a limestone base and become a full time harness racing facility. The work never got started due to the pandemic, so this may truly be the final Hoosier 100.
Tickets go on sale Tuesday at 10 am ET at usactickets.com. Seating capacity is limited to 25%.