100 days out from Indy 500, questions abound to get to 33 cars

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Today marks 100 days until the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

In those 100 days, there’s going to be a heck of a lot of questions and documenting exactly how the field will get to 33 cars this year.

It will, as it always has, but for the first time since the North American open-wheel merger in 2008 there seems to be fewer confirmed cars for this time of year.

Here’s what we know will be happening from what we’ve gathered and what’s already been announced:

You can count 21 expected full-season cars:

  • Chip Ganassi Racing (4): Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Max Chilton
  • Team Penske (4): Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud
  • Andretti Autosport (4): Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz, TBA
  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (2): James Hinchcliffe, Mikhail Aleshin
  • A.J. Foyt Enterprises (2): Takuma Sato, Jack Hawksworth
  • Dale Coyne Racing (2): Conor Daly, TBA
  • KVSH Racing (1): Sebastien Bourdais
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (1): Graham Rahal
  • Ed Carpenter Racing (1): Josef Newgarden

Then we factor in the cars that have already been announced as extras for either the month of May only or selected races:

  • Dale Coyne Racing (1): Bryan Clauson
  • PIRTEK Team Murray (KVRT technical alliance) (1): Matthew Brabham
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (1): Spencer Pigot
  • Ed Carpenter Racing (1): Ed Carpenter
  • Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (1): Sage Karam
  • Grace Autosport (1): Katherine Legge

Grace, as we noted last week in an interview with team principal Beth Paretta, is at an important stage in its race to make the field – it will need a team technical partnership and an engine partner to be determined probably by early next month.

From the aforementioned 27 cars, the six extras joining the 21 full-season, here’s the projected engine breakdown:

  • Honda (13): Andretti 4, Coyne 3, SPM 2, Foyt 2, RLL 2
  • Chevrolet (13): Ganassi 4, Penske 4, Carpenter 2, KVSH 1, PIRTEK 1, DRR 1
  • TBD (1): Grace

The engine numbers are vitally important here. If Honda and Chevrolet can provide up to a total of 17 engine leases apiece – Honda’s Steve Eriksen has already told MotorSportsTalk that’s it’s likely target – that means there’s only four remaining engine leases per manufacturer still available.

For it being only February 19, Honda’s four “extras” as you were beyond the 13 that we know are confirmed could already be accounted for.

In recent years, Andretti, Schmidt Peterson and Foyt have each run an extra car at the Indianapolis 500. Even with Thursday’s news that Andretti Autosport and Bryan Herta Autosport have partnered, Andretti still has the capabilities to add a fifth car.

It’s a de facto net loss of one potential extra car between the two of them. Andretti accounted for five cars in 2015 (Hunter-Reay, Andretti, Munoz, Simona de Silvestro and the late Justin Wilson) and Herta one (Gabby Chaves).

Then, if you factor in a potential fourth Coyne entry for Pippa Mann, as was not-quite-confirmed-but-strongly-suggested in December, that coupled with the same three teams adding one car each would take Honda up to 17, and its potential limit.

The Chevrolet teams tend to keep their cards closer to their vest. Ganassi has added an extra car each of the last three years, for Ryan Briscoe (2013), Karam (2014, DRR with Ganassi technical support) and Sebastian Saavedra (2015). Carpenter, KV and DRR could have the potential to add extras as well. But whether Ganassi goes to five and/or Carpenter and KV goes to three this year remains to be seen. Buddy Lazier’s family-run team has been present at each of the last three Indianapolis 500s, but failed to qualify last year.

Assuming Grace Autosport secures its lease and a team partnership, that removes one extra spot at either manufacturer and limits the number to three remaining leases, again if 17 is what we’re going for to make 34 cars and thus one over the limit of 33.

Then you get to the drivers who could be in the frame for seats, again, based on past history.

  • 2015 Indianapolis 500 drivers not currently announced (13): JR Hildebrand, Ryan Briscoe, Townsend Bell, Gabby Chaves, Alex Tagliani, James Jakes, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Sebastian Saavedra, Stefano Coletti, James Davison, Tristan Vautier, Oriol Servia
  • Young guns of note seeking to make their way in (3-plus): Stefan Wilson, Jack Harvey, Alexander Rossi, others TBD
  • Other veterans who’d be keen to race: TBD, but they’re out there

Bell, Mann and Saavedra have generally, consistently assembled programs to make their Indianapolis 500 dreams come true.

Of the others in that 2015 range, Tagliani or Servia are solid veterans who can help a team, Chaves is a rising talent now left sidelined, Vautier impressed in limited running last year at the Speedway and Hildebrand could well be in the frame too.

Where they fit is the question, and where the other cars come from for the race is also a question.

It’s going to likely be an interesting next 30 days, as the countdown to the 100th hits 100 today.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Detroit


The focus of the Detroit Monster Energy Supercross round was on the mid-pack battle while Aaron Plessinger pulled away from the field, but when he crashed after hooking his foot in the dirt, the results once more looked like we’ve come to expect, with Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac sharing the podium for the fifth time in 10 rounds.

Supercross Results Detroit
Justin Barcia was part of an exciting, four-rider battle in the middle of Detroit’s A-Main. – Feld Motor Sports

For Sexton, Plessinger’s late-race crash was a vindication of sorts. Several times already this season, Sexton has crashed while battling for the lead and the points that has cost him keeps him sporting the red plate. He lost points in Detroit for a different reason, however.

Sexton was allowed to keep the win, but was penalized seven points for jumping in a red cross section of the course. As a result, he dropped four points to Webb and two to Tomac. Sexton is now 17 points behind Webb in the championship hunt.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Overall Results; Click here for 250 Overall Results

One week after snatching the red plate from Tomac for the first time in 2023, Webb stretched his advantage by two. With his second-place finish, Webb holds a three-point lead over Tomac, which essentially means both riders control their fate in the coming weeks. Webb continues to have a sweep of the top five this season with his sixth consecutive podium.

Coming off his worst finish of the season, Tomac rebounded to finish third. His eighth-place result last week was partially attributed to a stiff neck that hindered him in traffic and he still suffered some of those same effects in Detroit. Before Plessinger’s crash, he was destined to be the only rider in the three-man title scrum to finish off the podium in Detroit.

It is surprising what one position can do for one’s confidence.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Justin Barcia scored his fourth top-five of the season. He was part of the exciting four-man battle that dominated the middle stages of the race before Sexton and Webb gained a little separation. Finishing less than three seconds behind Tomac, he kept that rider honest for the entire race.

Coming off his first win of the season, Ken Roczen finished fifth. It was his seventh top-five of the season and it elevated him to fifth in the standings.

Plessinger’s fall took the wind from his sails. He attempted to right his bike after a hard crash, but as it smoked and pinged, he dropped to 13th in the final rundown.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

Hunter Lawrence tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 wins each after another dominating ride in the Detroit Supercross race and the results in the points continue to widen. With his fifth win in six rounds and a worst finish of third, Lawrence now has a 35-point advantage over Nate Thrasher with four rounds remaining. Finishes of 14th or better in the final four mains will give him his first 250 championship.

Supercross Results Detroit
Strong starts have been one of the keys to Hunter Lawrence’s success in 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

Jett will have an opportunity to retake his wins’ lead as Supercross heads west for the next two rounds in Seattle and Glendale, Arizona.

Nate Thrasher earned his third second-place finish of the season with a gap of 7.6 seconds to Lawrence. He won the overall in Arlington earlier this season, but a 15th-place finish in the opening round in Houston and 10th in Daytona hurts his championship chances.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Haiden Deegan scored his second podium and fourth top-five in six rounds of his young career. On his way to that finish, he rode aggressively against his teammate Jordon Smith in the heat race. Fans are getting a glimpse of what his on-track personality might be.

Jeremy Martin continues to be the model of consistency. He has not finished worse than sixth or better than fourth in six rounds now and that has allowed him to close to within two points of third in the 250 East championship standings.

Rounding out the top five is Chris Blose, who was pressed into service at the start of the season because of a rash of injuries at Pro Circuit Kawasaki. This is Blose’s first top-five of the season, although he’s steadily improved over the past five rounds.

Click here for 250 Overall results | 250 East Rider Points | 250 Combined Rider Points

Max Anstie entered the race weekend second in the points, but a hard crash in heavy traffic early in the main forced him to retire after two laps. Earning only one point for the round, he plummeted to fifth in the standings.

The news was worse for Smith, who was dropped out of the top nine in his heat after the altercation with Deegan and failed to advance through the LCQ. In the last chance race, he stalled his engine and had to mount a determined charge. He got only as high as seventh in that race after crashing while attempting to make a pass on fourth-place Jack Chambers.

2023 Results

Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Tomac, H Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, J Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 8: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Cooper Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s