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  • Bryan Herta Autosport: Jay Howard’s second entry has been withdrawn, leaving BHA as the lone full-season team running a single car at the 500 for rookie Gabby Chaves.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