An 18th Honda remains outside possibility for Indianapolis 500

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Although Gabby Chaves was passed over for the third Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda for the 100th Indianapolis 500 in favor of Oriol Servia, it appears his race dreams may not be over yet.

MotorSportsTalk understands there are multiple potential options in the process of being explored to see an 18th Honda engine/car appear on the Indianapolis 500 entry list, with time of the essence before the month of May kicks off, although nothing is decided as yet.

Chaves is still here this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, and remains committed to working toward an effort for May.

Mike Shank, the veteran sports car team owner who runs a Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, has been rumored to potentially field an entry in partnership with an existing IndyCar team owner.

Meanwhile Grace Autosport, who had been rumored to run with KVSH Racing, is still yet to announce a team alliance.

The Beth Paretta-led team announced its intentions to run last May and has had a seat earmarked for Katherine Legge, who has a bit of Honda experience within sports car racing having raced a Honda Civic Si in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with Compass360 Racing at Road America in 2014.

Nothing is certain yet regarding this potential extra Honda entry, although Honda Performance Development President Art St. Cyr has said in multiple interviews dating to St. Petersburg that the company could have the capacity to expand to an 18th car.

“Yes, 17, that’s what we’re staffed up to do. Given the right situation, we could extend to an 18th,” St. Cyr told NBC Sports last week at Long Beach.

“It’s getting close to when we’d need to pull the trigger.”

Here’s the Honda car/engine breakdown as it stands right now:

  • Andretti (5) – Carlos Munoz, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi (Andretti Herta), Townsend Bell
  • Coyne (4) – Conor Daly, Bryan Clauson (confirmed; Coyne with Byrd); Luca Filippi, Pippa Mann (expected; not official yet)
  • SPM (3) – James Hinchcliffe, Mikhail Aleshin, Oriol Servia
  • Foyt (3) – Takuma Sato, Jack Hawksworth, Alex Tagliani
  • RLL (2) – Graham Rahal, Spencer Pigot