With a little more than one month to go until the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25, deals to bring the Verizon IndyCar Series field to 33 cars haven’t yet been finalized.
Here’s where things stand at the moment, with a breakdown of the 29 confirmed driver/car combinations made by engine manufacturers, and the second Dale Coyne car with driver TBA (not this TBA):
- Andretti Autosport (5): No. 25 Marco Andretti, No. 27 James Hinchcliffe, No. 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 34 Carlos Munoz, No. 26 Kurt Busch-R
- Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (3): No. 7 Mikhail Aleshin-R, No. 77 Simon Pagenaud, No. 5 Jacques Villeneuve-W
- A.J. Foyt Racing (2): 14 Takuma Sato, No. 41 Martin Plowman-R
- Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (2): 15 Graham Rahal, 16 Oriol Servia
- Dale Coyne Racing (2): No. 18 TBA, No. 19 Justin Wilson
- Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (2): No. 67 Josef Newgarden, No. 68 Alex Tagliani
- Bryan Herta Autosport (1): No. 98 Jack Hawksworth-R
- Chip Ganassi Racing (4): No. 8 Ryan Briscoe, No. 9 Scott Dixon-W, No. 10 Tony Kanaan-W, No. 83 Charlie Kimball
- Team Penske (3): No. 2 Juan Pablo Montoya-W, No. 3 Helio Castroneves-W, No. 12 Will Power
- KVSH/KF AFS Racing (2): No. 11 Sebastien Bourdais, No. 17 Sebastian Saavedra, 6-Townsend Bell
- Ed Carpenter Racing (2): No. 20 Ed Carpenter, No. 21 JR Hildebrand
- Lazier Partners Racing (1): No. 91 Buddy Lazier-W
Time is running out to fill the final four spots, and add either a fifth or sixth to make 34 or 35 cars and open the potential for bumping.
Dale Coyne Racing will have a second car (Car No. 18) as mentioned above and a third car is still very possible. Those two would bring Honda’s number of potential engine leases up to 18, which is the likely maximum for the race per a Honda spokesman. If both of those entries happen, that makes 31 cars.
Other entries are possible from Ganassi (for rookie Sage Karam), Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, a so-called “Indianapolis-based mystery team” per the Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin and a possible entry from Davey Hamilton, who is a partner within the Schmidt Peterson team.
However, NBCSN IndyCar insider Robin Miller, in his RACER.com mailbag, wrote Wednesday that Karam may be farmed out to DRR. If that were to happen, it could knock out one potential car for the race.
Past the second Coyne car, which is the confirmed 30th car, some three-car combination of the above possible entries need to come together for the 33-car field to hit its target.
The field of 33 is still all but certain to happen, but suddenly time is a lot more precious this April 24 than it was a few weeks ago in early March, or when JR Hildebrand’s signing was confirmed just prior to the St. Petersburg opener.