Thirty-Three To Begin Practice At Indianapolis

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, August 11 2020

2019 Indinapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud is looking for a repeat. (File photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Practice for the 104th edition of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to open Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where a field of 33 entries has been “guaranteed” a spot in the traditional starting grid on Sunday, Aug. 23.

Originally scheduled for May 24 and the Memorial Day weekend, the “Month of May” morphed into the “Month of August” when sanctioning body INDYCAR moved the NTT IndyCar Series’ crown jewel event in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eight former winners _ including reigning champion Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske _ will have three days of practice to prepare for Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15, and Sunday, Aug. 16. The traditional final practice, expanded to two hours as part of Miller Lite Carb Day, will be held Friday, Aug. 21.

“Yes, it’s finally time to get to Indianapolis,” said Pagenaud, who won last year’s 200-lapper around the famed 2.5-mile oval from pole position. “This has been my No. 1 priority for several years now and it’s an honor to come back being the reigning champion…a very special feeling. It’s obviously a mythical race _ the biggest race in the world in a lot of people’s opinion _ but in my opinion for sure. Coming here being the defending champion just allows you to, you know, feel a lot less personal pressure. Just allows me to be a lot more focused on doing the right thing and not worrying about the result.

“The team’s been preparing really well. I’ve called Team Penske “the speed lab” and they’re very impressive at building race cars with a lot of speed, and that’s what you want at the Speedway. So huge confidence going in. It’s August but it feels like May, so I can’t wait to be there.”

After originally planning to run the event at 25 percent capacity with fans, INDYCAR announced last week all race activities will be conducted without fans in the massive 235,000-seat grandstands as a health and safety precaution.

“Well, yeah, it’s been big news last week,” said Pagenaud, driver of the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet. “I felt very sad for the fans and felt very sad for (IMS and team-owner) Roger Penske, who is passionate about the race. He’s been doing so much work at the Speedway to please the fans and to make it an even more impressive event.

“But we have the chance to display what we do and display it in the best manner with NBC Sports Group. An amazing race last year with (Alexander) Rossi and hopefully there is a battle that’s just as exciting for the fans. But it definitely is going to feel different _ the energy is going to be different. It’s going to feel flat. It won’t feel as energetic. But it is the biggest race in the world and the fastest race in the world. I’ve been very excited to get going and to please people with this competition. That’s really what I’m looking forward to right now.”

Helio Castroneves will take a whirl at a fourth Indy 500 victory. (RacinToday file photo by Martha Fairris)

Three-time winner Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009) and single winners Scott Dixon (2008), Tony Kanaan (2013), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014), Rossi (2016), Takuma Sato (2017), Will Power (2018) and Pagenaud (2019) are aiming for another victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Castroneves will bid to become the fourth member of the elite four-time winner’s club featuring A.J. Foyt Jr., Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Two-time Formula One World Driving Champion Fernando Alonso of Spain returns to the 500 with Arrow McLaren SP. Alonso will attempt to join Great Britain’s Graham Hill as the only drivers to complete the “Triple Crown” of global auto racing with victories in the Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Monaco Grand Prix.

Alonso electrified the racing world as an Indy 500 rookie with Andretti Autosport in 2017, leading 27 laps before retiring with 20 laps remaining due to an engine problem. Alonso is looking for redemption after being bumped out of the field last year in the No. 66 McLaren Chevrolet prepared at the McLaren Technology Centre in England.

The field includes six past INDYCAR champions _ Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Kanaan, Josef Newgarden, Pagenaud and Power. Newgarden is the reigning NTT IndyCar Series champ.

Five drivers will compete for Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors _ Oliver Askew, Dalton Kellett, Pato O’Ward, Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay. O’Ward (2018) and Askew (2019) are former Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champions.

Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti has entered six cars, most of any team.

NBC’s live Indy 500 broadcast is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, Aug. 23, with the green flag set for 2:30 p.m. Central Indiana fans can watch the race live on WTHR-13.



Winners (8) _ Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato.

Rookies (5) _ Oliver Askew, Dalton Kellett, Pato O’Ward, Alex Palou, Rinus VeeKay.

U.S. Drivers (15) _ Marco Andretti, Oliver Askew, Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly, Santino Ferrucci, Colton Herta, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball, JR Hildebrand, Josef Newgarden, Spencer Pigot, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi, Zach Veach.

International Drivers (18) _ Fernando Alonso, Helio Castroneves, Max Chilton, James Davison, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Ben Hanley, Jack Harvey, James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan, Dalton Kellett, Pato O’Ward, Simon Pagenaud, Alex Palou, Will Power, Felix Rosenqvist, Takuma Sato, Rinus VeeKay.

Engines (33) _ Chevrolet 17, Honda 16 (all cars use Dallara chassis and Firestone Firehawk tires).

Official NTT IndyCar Series entry list for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Aug. 23, with car number in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car name with engine supplier and team entrant:

1. (1) Josef Newgarden, Nashville, Tenn., Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Chevrolet/Team Penske

2. (3) Helio Castroneves-(W), Sao Paulo, Brazil, Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet/Team Penske

3. (4) Charlie Kimball, Camarillo, Calif., Tresiba/A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet/A.J. Foyt Enterprises

4. (5) Pato O’Ward-(R), Monterrey, Mexico, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet/Arrow McLaren SP

5. (7) Oliver Askew-(R), Jupiter, Fla., Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet/Arrow McLaren SP

6. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Kumla, Sweden, Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda/Chip Ganassi Racing

7. (9) Scott Dixon-(W), Auckland, New Zealand, PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda/Chip Ganassi Racing

8. (10) Felix Rosenqvist, Varnamo, Sweden, NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda/Chip Ganassi Racing

9. (12) Will Power-(W), Toowoomba, Australia, Verizon 5G Edge Team Penske Chevrolet/Team Penske

10. (14) Tony Kanaan-(W), Salvador, Brazil, ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet/A.J. Foyt Enterprises

11. (15) Graham Rahal, New Albany, Ohio, United Rentals Honda/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

12. (18) Santino Ferrucci, Woodbury, Conn., SealMaster Honda/Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan

13. (20) Ed Carpenter, Indianapolis, Ind., United States Space Force Chevrolet/Ed Carpenter Racing

14. (21) Rinus VeeKay-(R), Hoofddorp, The Netherlands, SONAX Chevrolet/Ed Carpenter Racing

15. (22) Simon Pagenaud-(W), Montmorillon, France, Menards Team Penske Chevrolet/Team Penske

16. (24) Sage Karam, Nazareth, Pa., DRR Wix Filters Chevrolet/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

17. (26) Zach Veach, Stockdale, Ohio, Gainbridge Honda/Andretti Autosport

18. (27) Alexander Rossi-(W), Nevada City, Calif., NAPA AUTO PARTS/Auto Nation Honda/Andretti Autosport

19. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay-(W), Fort Lauderdale, Fla., DHL Honda/Andretti Autosport

20. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Toronto, Canada, Genesys Honda/Andretti Autosport

21. (30) Takuma Sato-(W), Tokyo, Japan, Panasonic/PeopleReady Honda/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

22. (41) Dalton Kellett-(R), Stouffville, Canada, K-Line USA/A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet/A.J. Foyt Enterprises

23. (45) Spencer Pigot, Orlando, Fla., RLL with Citrone/Buhl Autosport Honda/RLL with Citrone/Buhl Autosport

24. (47) Conor Daly, Noblesville, Ind., United States Air Force Chevrolet/Ed Carpenter Racing

25. (51) James Davison, Melbourne, Australia, Jacob Construction/Tilson HR Honda/Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing, Byrd & Belardi

26. (55) Alex Palou-(R), Barcelona, Spain, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda/Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh

27. (59) Max Chilton, Reigate, England, Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet/Carlin

28. (60) Jack Harvey, Bassingham, England, AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda/Meyer Shank Racing

29. (66) Fernando Alonso, Oviedo, Spain, Ruoff Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet/Arrow McLaren SP

30. (67) JR Hildebrand, Sausalito, Calif., DRR Salesforce Chevrolet/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

31. (81) Ben Hanley, Manchester, England, DragonSpeed USA Chevrolet/DragonSpeed USA

32. (88) Colton Herta, Belleair, Fla., Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Honda/Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport

33. (98) Marco Andretti, Nazareth, Pa., U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda/Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajanian

Note _ All cars use the fourth generation NTT IndyCar Series chassis (Dallara IR-12) with universal IR-18 aerodynamic bodywork, Chevrolet or Honda twin-turbocharged V-6 engines and Firestone Firehawk tires.

(W) _Denotes Indianapolis 500 winner

(R) _ Denotes Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year candidate


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, August 11 2020
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