2015 Indianapolis 500 entry update, Round 2


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:


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  • Bryan Herta Autosport: Jay Howard’s second entry has been withdrawn, leaving BHA as the lone full-season team running a single car at the 500 for rookie Gabby Chaves.


  • 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)


  • 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

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.