There are 27 cars on the entry list of the inaugural Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tennessee — the most for an NTT IndyCar Series race outside of the Indianapolis 500 since the 2013 Long Beach Grand Prix.
The field for Sunday’s race (5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) is indicative of a growing car count for IndyCar, which gained another full-time team for the 2022 season Tuesday that will run the last three races in 2021.
Excluding the Indy 500, Nashville will mark the sixth of 11 races this season with at least 25 cars. Last year, there were only three races outside of Indy with at least 25 cars. The 2019 season didn’t have a race with more than 24 cars besides Indy.
MUSIC CITY GRAND PRIX: Schedules and info for watching IndyCar’s Nashville debut
BRIDGE TO GREATNESS: Everything to know about racing across the Cumberland River at 200 mph
Nashville will mark the return of Helio Castroneves, who will make his second start of the 2021 season after winning the 105th Indy 500 for Meyer Shank Racing. The team recently announced that Castroneves, who became the fourth four-time winner of the Indy 500 (joining Rick Mears, Al Unser and A.J. Foyt), will be returning full time to IndyCar next season in the No. 06 Dallara-Honda after running a partial schedule of six races in 2021.
Other notable additions at Nashville:
–Cody Ware, who primarily races in the NASCAR Cup Series, will return for his second career IndyCar start in the No. 52 Dallara-Honda.
–Santino Ferrucci will be in a third car for his fifth race this season with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
The race also will feature Jimmie Johnson and Romain Grosjean as the two IndyCar rookies continue to race road courses and street circuits this season. Grosjean is slated to make his oval debut in two weeks at World Wide Technolgy Raceway at Gateway, and Johnson will be testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway at the end of the month with an eye on the 2022 Indy 500.
After 10 of 16 races, Alex Palou leads the championship standings by 39 points (384-345) over Pato O’Ward. Six-time series champion Scott Dixon (328) is 56 points behind in third, followed by two-time champion Josef Newgarden (315, a 69-point deficit).
Click here for the entry list of the inaugural Music City Grand Prix through the streets of downtown Nashville, Tennessee.
Six races remain in the IndyCar Series season, and we're headed to a brand new track.
Alex Palou leads as we head to the streets of NASHVILLE! pic.twitter.com/mXfddatdub
— IndyCar on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) August 3, 2021