100th Indianapolis 500 team preview: Team Penske

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MotorSportsTalk looks through the Verizon IndyCar Series grid ahead of the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. First up, Team Penske.

There is no greater race, no more important race for Team Penske than the Indianapolis 500. And as the team celebrates its 50th anniversary season with the 100th ‘500 a centerpiece of the campaign, nothing less than the team’s 17th Indianapolis victory will suffice.


Juan Pablo Montoya-W, No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves-W, No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet 


Heading into May, the team has three wins from four races – thus matching its entire 2015 win total – and Simon Pagenaud is riding the wave of his IndyCar career to this point with back-to-back wins and a 48-point lead in the championship. He’ll be leading the points into the ‘500 regardless of what happens in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, even if he scores minimum points.

Elsewhere Juan Pablo Montoya has been nearly as good with the St. Petersburg win, while Helio Castroneves has been good if not great to this point and Will Power doing a fair job of playing catch up after missing the season opener. 


It’s hard to bet against any of the four drivers, particularly now that Pagenaud has a wave of momentum entering the event. And keeping in mind Pagenaud probably had the strongest car of the four last year, he’ll be buoyed by his performance.

Castroneves ticks the highest national story line boxes if he were to finally win his fourth – he’s not gone more than seven years in-between Indy wins (2001, 2002, 2009) – while Montoya looks to further etch his place in history, and Power looks to beat Pagenaud to his first Indy triumph.


  • 2015: 1. 2-Montoya (15), 2. 1-Power (2), 7. 3-Castroneves (5), 10. 22-Pagenaud (3)
  • 2014: 2. 3-Castroneves (4), 5. 2-Montoya (10), 8. 12-Power (3)
  • 2013: 6. 3-Castroneves (8), 7. 2-Allmendinger (5), 19. 12-Power (6)
  • 2012: 5. 2-Briscoe (1), 10. 3-Castroneves (6), 28. 12-Power (5)

Ryan Hunter-Reay hired as replacement for Conor Daly at Ed Carpenter Racing

Ryan Hunter-Reay Carpenter
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Ryan Hunter-Reay was named to replace Conor Daly in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet, starting in the NTT IndyCar Series event next week at Road America.

Hunter-Reay is the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner. He finished 11th for Dreyer & Reinbold last month in the 107th Indy 500, his first start since the 2021 season finale. He drove full time for Andretti Autosport from 2010-21.

“We need to improve our competitiveness and I wanted to add a fresh perspective from a driver like Ryan who has a massive amount of experience and success as well as a reputation as a team leader. I am excited to welcome Ryan to the team,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in a team release. “We have worked together in the past as teammates and he tested for ECR at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2021, where he made an immediate impact as we were able to qualify one of our cars on the pole following that test. I am confident that his experience and technical abilities will be an asset to ECR as we move forward toward our goals as a team.”

Hunter-Reay has 18 IndyCar victories, most recently in 2018. He also is a winner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having been a part of winning entries in the 2020 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 2018 Petit Le Mans. Last year, he was an endurance driver for Cadillac Racing while being on standby for Chip Ganassi Racing.

He replaces Daly, whose departure was announced a day earlier in what the driver and team said was a mutual decision.

“I was surprised when I got the call from Ed,” Hunter-Reay said in a team release. “He described how frustrated he was that his team has not been able to realize its potential despite their efforts, investments, as well as technical and personnel changes over the past few years and asked for my help. Ed and I are very close friends and have been for a long time. I’ve worked with the team in the past and they are a very talented group with high expectations and a committed partner in BITNILE.COM.

“This will certainly be a challenge for me as well. It’s a tough situation jumping in a car in the middle of the season without any testing in what I believe to be the most competitive series in the world. Certainly, part of my motivation in saying ‘yes’ to Ed is the great challenge ahead. The last time I turned right driving an NTT IndyCar Series car was in October of 2021 with this team at Barber. However, I remain very confident in both my driving and technical abilities and believe by working with the talented people at ECR and Team Chevy, while representing BITNILE.COM, we will make progress. I am going to do everything I can do to help the team achieve its long-term objectives.”

Said Milton “Todd” Ault, the chairman of sponsor BitNile.com: “It is great for BitNile.com to be aligned with an Indy 500 Winner and an NTT IndyCar Series champion. I have followed Ryan’s career for years and I am confident he will challenge the entire ECR team to perform at higher levels. I wish everyone luck at Road America.”