Nine Former Winners, Seven Series Champs Ready To Start ‘500’ Preparation at IMS

Joe Skibinski Photo

The time has come for the stars of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to embark on a legacy-defining month as preparations get underway for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 28.

There are 34 entries set to contest the 33 starting spots for this year’s edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” including nine former winners.

Marcus Ericsson delivered a composed performance last year by fending off a late charge by Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren to claim his maiden “500” win, which gave team owner Chip Ganassi his fifth victory in the race as a sole team owner. Other former winners aiming for a spot in the race this year include four-time winner Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009, 2021) and two-time winner Takuma Sato (2017, 2020), plus single winners Scott Dixon (2008), Tony Kanaan (2013), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014), Alexander Rossi (2016), Will Power (2018) and Simon Pagenaud (2019). The record for winners in one field is 10, set in 1992.

SEE: Entry List

Castroneves earned a spot with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears in the most prestigious club in motorsports – four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500 – with his emotional victory May 30, 2021, in the No. 06 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda fielded by Meyer Shank Racing. A record-breaking fifth would put Castroneves alone at the top with most victories. Additionally, Castroneves and Kanaan are both 48 years old, and a victory by either would make them the oldest winner in “500” history, a record held by Al Unser, who won the 1987 edition just five days shy of his 48th birthday.

Ericsson has a chance to become the first back-to-back winner since Castroneves accomplished the feat in 2001 and 2002. If Ericsson secures a repeat win, he would earn a bonus of $420,000 courtesy of BorgWarner, the namesake of the Indy 500 trophy. That amount is more than the entire yearly purse up to and including the 50th anniversary of the “500” in 1961, which paid out $397,910. The field payout jumped to $425,652 in 1962.

The field includes seven past INDYCAR SERIES champions: Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Kanaan, Josef Newgarden, Pagenaud, Alex Palou and Power.

Katherine Legge makes her long-awaited return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month, having last raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 2013. A two-time starter of the historic race, she will drive a one-off entry as the fourth car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Simona de Silvestro was the last female to drive in the race, in 2021.

There will be four drivers competing for top rookie honors, featuring multiple Argentina touring car champion Agustín Canapino, along with last year’s INDY NXT by Firestone race winners Benjamin Pedersen and Sting Ray Robb. RC Enerson, who narrowly missed making the field of 33 in 2021, is back for another run but this time with Abel Motorsports, an INDY NXT by Firestone team making its first attempt at the “500.”

Practice opens Tuesday, May 16 and runs through Friday, May 19. PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21, followed by a two-hour practice Monday, May 22. The traditional final practice, two hours again this year on Miller Lite Carb Day, will be held Friday, May 26.

Live Race Day coverage begins on NBC, Telemundo Deportes on Universo and the INDYCAR Radio Network at 11 a.m. (ET), with the green flag set for 12:45 p.m.


Winners (9): Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato

Rookies (4): Agustín Canapino, RC Enerson, Benjamin Pedersen, Sting Ray Robb

U.S. drivers (13): Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly, RC Enerson, Santino Ferrucci, Colton Herta, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Kyle Kirkwood, David Malukas, Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, Sting Ray Robb, Alexander Rossi

International drivers (21, from 14 countries): Agustín Canapino, Helio Castroneves, Devlin DeFrancesco, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Romain Grosjean, Jack Harvey, Callum Ilott, Tony Kanaan, Katherine Legge, Christian Lundgaard, Scott McLaughlin, Pato O’Ward, Simon Pagenaud, Alex Palou, Benjamin Pedersen, Will Power, Felix Rosenqvist, Takuma Sato, Rinus VeeKay, Stefan Wilson

Engines (34): Honda 17, Chevrolet 17 (all cars use Dallara chassis and Firestone tires)


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