The Indy 500 Might Have a Full 33-Car Field After All

The Indianapolis 500 traditionally runs a 33-car field with its eleven rows of three cars. The health of sport can often be intuited by the number of cars over the 33 car limit that have entered—but with the coronavirus pandemic not only rescheduling the race but also taking a financial toll on smaller teams, 33 cars actually sounded too ambitious for 2020.

a airplane that is driving down the road with Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the background

© Photo: Jamie Squier (Getty Images)

Thankfully, the Ben Hanley and the No. 81 DragonSpeed Chevy has joined the field at the last minute, rounding out the grid with a solid 33.

Racer reported on August 4 that several teams were aiming to negotiate deals to get their cars on the grid but were cutting it close to the start of practice, which begins on August 12. It’s unlikely that we’ll see any more cars added now that the we have a full 33; it was already pretty unlikely that we’d see an entry added this late in the game.

The No. 81 car was supposed to have made its debut already this year. DragonSpeed had entered the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg that ended up being cancelled due to COVID-19 right at the start of the race weekend. With so much uncertainty, the team tucked away its open-wheel program in favor of its more experienced sports car teams.

The DragonSpeed announcement comes just days after James Davison confirmed his entry with a multi-faceted partnership between Rick Ware Racing, David Byrd, Brian Belardi, and Dale Coyne Racing.

So far, the entry list is as follows:

AJ Foyt Racing (Chevy)No. 4 Charlie Kimball

No. 14 Tony Kanaan

No. 41 Dalton Kellett

Andretti Autosport (Honda)No. 26 Zach Veach

No. 27 Alexander Rossi

No. 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay

No. 29 James Hinchcliffe

No. 88 Colton Herta

No. 98 Marco Andretti

Arrow McLaren SP (Chevy)No. 5 Patricio O’Ward

No. 7 Oliver Askew

No. 66 Fernando Alonso

Carlin Racing (Chevy)No. 59 Max Chilton

Chip Ganassi Racing (Honda)No. 8 Marcus Ericsson

No. 9 Scott Dixon

No. 10 Felix Rosenqvist

Dale Coyne Racing (Honda)No. 18 Santino Ferrucci

No. 51 James Davison

No. 55 Alex Palou

DragonSpeed (Chevy)No. 81 Ben Hanley

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Chevy)No. 24 Sage Karam

No. 67 J.R. Hildebrand

Ed Carpenter Racing (Chevy)No. 20 Ed Carpenter

�No. 21 Rinus Veekay

No. 47 Conor Daly

Meyer Shank Racing (Honda)No. 60 Jack Harvey

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Honda)No. 15 Graham Rahal,

No. 30 Takuma Sato

No. 45 Spencer Pigot

Team Penske (Chevy)No. 1 Josef Newgarden

No. 3 Helio Castroneves

No. 12 Will Power

No. 22 Simon Pagenaud

There are still technically a few possible entrants coming from Juncos or Top Gun Racing, but again, it seems highly unlikely that either team will secure the funding or have the time to get their programs off the ground.

It’ll also be important to keep watch over some of these smaller, last-minute entries and extra cars. While 33 cars means no one will be bumped in qualifying, a nasty crash could leave underfunded teams scrambling to scrape together parts at the last minute, or an unproven car could simply prove to be too slow or dangerous to be worth the risk.

The Indy 500 airs on August 23 at 1pm ET on NBC.

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