As expected, the entry list for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil will feature just 33 cars, with no bumping or additional entries likely to materialize for the marquee event of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Officially, 32 of the 33 cars had been announced with the only one not made official the family run entry for 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier. That car has been confirmed today with a new car number, 49 (Lazier, born in 1967, is 49 years old), sponsors (Lazier Racing-Stalk It-Tivoli Lodge) and team name (back to Lazier Racing Partners after one year as Lazier/Burns Racing).
Lazier becomes the seventh Indianapolis 500 winner in the field, joining five full-season drivers in defending champion Alexander Rossi, then Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves, and two-time champion Juan Pablo Montoya who will be in the fifth Team Penske entry.
Fernando Alonso, of course, is the star attraction among the four rookie drivers, and is the first of the four who’s already completed his Rookie Orientation Program. However Alonso’s presence provides an incredible contrast to the other three rookies, all of whom are talents who’ve come up through the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, in Ed Jones, Jack Harvey and Zach Veach.
The other seven of the 12 Indianapolis-extra entries include Juncos Racing for its IndyCar debut with Spencer Pigot moving over from Ed Carpenter Racing and Sebastian Saavedra, the now-traditional extra entries from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for Oriol Servia, Dale Coyne Racing for Pippa Mann, and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for Sage Karam, Jay Howard in the Tony Stewart Foundation-supported entry for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and Gabby Chaves in Harding Racing’s debut.
Practice begins on Monday with the rookie and refresher program from 12 to 2 p.m. ET and local time, then the track open to all cars thereafter until 6 p.m.