2015 Indianapolis 500 entry update, Round 2

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A handful more changes have occurred to this year’s Indianapolis 500 entry list over the last couple weeks. Here’s what’s developed since our first update earlier this month:

WHAT’S BEEN CONFIRMED

  • Chip Ganassi Racing Teams: The confirmation of Sebastian Saavedra in an AFS-backed fifth car for the month of May was a surprise. Notable in the team release was the phrase “with an additional race at the Indianapolis 500 through a fifth entry overseen by CGRT,” not necessarily confirming it as a CGRT-entered car. Watch the team name for Saavedra’s entry for the race. Sage Karam has been formally confirmed in the team’s fourth car, the No. 8 car.
  • CFH Racing: JR Hildebrand (No. 6 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet) joins the all-American pairing of Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden for the month of May. No word on if a photo shoot involving “Old Glory” and/or a bald eagle will follow.
  • Dreyer & Reinbold/Kingdom Racing: NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell is confirmed in Dennis Reinbold’s single No. 24 Robert Graham Chevrolet. The livery will be unveiled on the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis weekend, and the team will retain many of its same DRR personnel, including engineer Jeff Britton.
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Veteran Oriol Servia will saddle up in the team’s second car for a second straight year.
  • Dale Coyne Racing: Pippa Mann will be back for her third straight Indianapolis 500, and second with Susan G. Komen. The identity of her teammates, however, is now a mystery.
  • KVSH/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing: Bryan Clauson will run the No. 88 for the team this year. The No. 82, the original number listed, was a placeholder.
  • Bryan Herta Autosport: Jay Howard’s second entry has been withdrawn, leaving BHA as the lone full-season team running a single car at the 500 for rookie Gabby Chaves.

WHAT’S STILL TBD

  • Dale Coyne Racing: As mentioned above, Mann is the only confirmed driver in what is still on target to be a three-car lineup for Coyne’s squad. Carlos Huertas and Francesco Dracone ran the opening two races, Rocky Moran Jr. and then Conor Daly filled out the No. 18 car in Long Beach, and Dracone is due to run the fourth of his four-race program at Barber. If one seat was already a question mark, now it’s two.
  • Honda’s potential 17th engine: Steve Eriksen, Honda Performance Development COO and vice president, said Honda is still on track to supply 17 engines at Indy. “Our plan from the very beginning has always been for 17 cars at Indy. We always planned to support more than half the field. At 17 cars, that’s a good number for us from a resource standpoint. Based on what I’m hearing from each of our teams, I fully expect we’ll be at 17 cars for the month of May. I’ve also heard Chevy’s at 17. So, if that’s true, that gives us at least one car for Bump Day.” The expected breakdown of Hondas as it stands is: 5 Andretti, 3 Schmidt Peterson, 3 Coyne, 2 RLL, 2 Foyt and 1 Herta. That would mean a 17th – if it happens – could go to a potential Foyt third car, which hasn’t been on the radar for a while.
  • Drivers in play: The five names linked to potential opportunities but currently without confirmed rides are Daly, James Davison, Ryan Briscoe, Alex Tagliani and Katherine Legge. The first two have one ‘500 start apiece, Legge has two and Briscoe and Tagliani is the best of the bunch in terms of experience and stat levels; both are past Indianapolis 500 polesitters. It’s possible to see up to three or perhaps four of those five in seats. Others are possible, but these five have been mentioned by several paddock insiders.

ENTRY LIST AS IT STANDS (Italics denote highly likely but not officially confirmed)

CHEVROLET (17)

  • Team Penske (4): 1-Will Power, 2-Juan Pablo Montoya-W, 3-Helio Castroneves-W, 22-Simon Pagenaud
  • KV Racing Technology (1): 4-Stefano Coletti-R
  • KVSH Racing (1): 11-Sebastien Bourdais
  • KVSH/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing (1): 88-Bryan Clauson
  • Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (5): 8-Sage Karam, 9-Scott Dixon-W, 10-Tony Kanaan-W, 83-Charlie Kimball, 17-Sebastian Saavedra (team name may be different)
  • CFH Racing (3): 6-JR Hildebrand, 20-Ed Carpenter, 21-Josef Newgarden
  • Dreyer & Reinbold/Kingdom Racing (1): 24-Townsend Bell
  • Lazier Partners Racing (1): 91-Buddy Lazier-W

HONDA (16-17)

  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (3): 5-James Hinchcliffe, 7-James Jakes, TBA-third car
  • A.J. Foyt Enterprises (2-3): 14-Takuma Sato, 41-Jack Hawksworth, TBA-possible third car
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (2): 15-Graham Rahal, 16-Oriol Servia
  • Dale Coyne Racing (3): 18-TBA, 19-TBA, 63-Pippa Mann
  • Andretti Autosport (5): 25-Justin Wilson, 26-Carlos Munoz, 27-Marco Andretti, 28-Ryan Hunter-Reay-W, 29-Simona de Silvestro
  • Bryan Herta Autosport (1): 98-Gabby Chaves-R

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.