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2017 Indianapolis 500 entry list confirms just 33 cars

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As expected, the entry list for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil will feature just 33 cars, with no bumping or additional entries likely to materialize for the marquee event of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Officially, 32 of the 33 cars had been announced with the only one not made official the family run entry for 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier. That car has been confirmed today with a new car number, 49 (Lazier, born in 1967, is 49 years old), sponsors (Lazier Racing-Stalk It-Tivoli Lodge) and team name (back to Lazier Racing Partners after one year as Lazier/Burns Racing).

Lazier becomes the seventh Indianapolis 500 winner in the field, joining five full-season drivers in defending champion Alexander Rossi, then Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves, and two-time champion Juan Pablo Montoya who will be in the fifth Team Penske entry.

Fernando Alonso, of course, is the star attraction among the four rookie drivers, and is the first of the four who’s already completed his Rookie Orientation Program. However Alonso’s presence provides an incredible contrast to the other three rookies, all of whom are talents who’ve come up through the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, in Ed Jones, Jack Harvey and Zach Veach.

The other seven of the 12 Indianapolis-extra entries include Juncos Racing for its IndyCar debut with Spencer Pigot moving over from Ed Carpenter Racing and Sebastian Saavedra, the now-traditional extra entries from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for Oriol Servia, Dale Coyne Racing for Pippa Mann, and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for Sage Karam, Jay Howard in the Tony Stewart Foundation-supported entry for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and Gabby Chaves in Harding Racing’s debut.

The entry list with car names and team names is linked here.

Practice begins on Monday with the rookie and refresher program from 12 to 2 p.m. ET and local time, then the track open to all cars thereafter until 6 p.m.

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.