The 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 is close to having its entry list completed.
In assembling all of the season-long entries that will be on the Indy 500 entry list, 27 spots are already accounted for across IndyCar’s 10 full-time teams. With the starting grid capped at 33 cars, it leaves six spaces to fill before bumping enters the conversation, and it’s here where the 2024 edition of the Indy 500 will feature at least two bouts of heartbreak as a few entries are guaranteed to fail in their attempt to qualify for one of the available starting positions.
Of the full-time teams with extra entries, Andretti Global has the No. 98 Honda being readied for Marco Andretti. Arrow McLaren has the highest-profile Indy-only entry set for NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Larson in the No. 17 Hendrick-McLaren Chevy, and Ed Carpenter Racing will expand its presence with another Chevy-powered car for 2023 Indy NXT champion Christian Rasmussen.
Meyer Shank Racing has the No. 06 Honda primed for four-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves, and to close the list, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, which has yet to confirm the driver of its added entry, is understood to have Takuma Sato, its 2020 Indy 500 winner, back in the fold for the month of May.
Among the 10 main full-time teams with their 27 yearlong cars and their five extra entries, the list is already at 32 before the Indy-only cars are factored in.
Building on the 32, Abel Motorsports, which made its Indy 500 debut in 2023 with RC Enerson, is headed back with the Floridian in the same No. 50 Chevy he used to stun the series by easily qualifying for the race. And in a new team-wide alliance with Cusick Motorsports, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has its strongest lineup to date with Conor Daly and Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay leading the Dreyer & Reinbold-Cusick Motorsports program in the Nos. 23 and 24 Chevys.
At 35 entries, two cars, at minimum, will be cleaved from the field after qualifying. And there’s a possibility of the overall car count expanding to 36, but the clock is ticking.
A.J. Foyt Racing is where interested drivers and co-entrants have focused their energies for months, but so far, the right deal — one that meets the team’s financial needs — has not been forthcoming for the Chevy-powered team. According to team president Larry Foyt, the window of opportunity for someone to claim its third entry —the 36th for the event — will remain open, but not for long.
Of those who’ve made the rounds to inquire about Indy-only rides, Indy NXT front runner Nolan Siegel, Stefan Wilson, JR Hildebrand, and Katherine Legge have been routinely mentioned over the last month.
One other pathway to landing a seat for Indy has been mentioned with Dale Coyne Racing, and its engine partner at Honda is known to be open to the prospect if a compelling driver emerged to make use of a motor. However, in speaking with new DCR team manager Mitch Davis, Coyne has made it clear to his group that running an additional car is not of interest for 2024.
Provided DCR holds firm on its two-car plans, the spotlight will stay fixed on the Foyt team and its third car as the last chance to join the series’ biggest event. The only question left to answer for the next Indy 500 is whether two or three drivers will find themselves on the outside looking in after time trials are complete on Sunday, May 19.