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Indy 500 Silly Season Update

As rumors swirl, Ed Carpenter Racing confirmed they would only run two cars in the Indianapolis 500.

The team says the crash suffered last year by Josef Newgarden has left them with only four cars, a scenario putting them in a position where running three is not possible.    

The team wrote off a pair of cars during the month of May two years ago, and a repeat would force much more drastic action. The decision
unfortunately means Spencer Pigot is left without a ride for Indy.

Team boss Carpenter has given Pigot permission to look for another seat with a rival team. The only question is whether or not that chance to secure another opportunity is still available.

So, with new unknowns, here is an updated list of how the field could shape up for the 101st Indianapolis 500.

Team Penske: Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden, Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya

The Captain will enter five cars at the Speedway for the first time, and all drivers have been confirmed.

Chip Ganassi Racing: Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Max Chilton, Charlie Kimball

Four full-time runners on the Verizon IndyCar Series circuit and nothing is expected to change that for the Indy 500.

Andretti Autosport: Takuma Sato, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, TBA

Andretti has yet to confirm its fifth driver for Indy at this point. However, the lead candidate may not be Townsend Bell. Insider information suggests Bell may put his annual one-off efforts at Indy on hold to focus solely on sports car racing and his NBCSN television duties.

With Bell potentially out of play, Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires veterans Zach Veach and Dean Stoneman could move up on the Andretti shopping list. Stay tuned.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports: James Hinchcliffe, Mikhail Aleshin, Jay Howard, TBA?

Three confirmations plus the possibility of a fourth to complete the 33-car field. That possibility is Will Marotti’s God Bless America Racing group. Marotti paired up with Schmidt last year to field Oriol Servia in the Indy 500 and is interested in returning for a second year with Schmidt being his preferred partner. More funding is needed to secure a deal with Schmidt at this point.

Dale Coyne Racing: Sebastien Bourdais, Ed Jones, Pippa Mann, TBA?

Pippa Mann was recently confirmed as its third driver. The team entered four cars in last year’s race and could do so again if Jonathan Byrd’s Racing or another group comes forward.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Graham Rahal, Oriol Servia

The Ohio-based runners are set for May with a two-car entry, as has often been the case since its return to the full IndyCar circuit
in 2012.

Ed Carpenter Racing: Ed Carpenter, J.R. Hildebrand

As mentioned above, ECR will only enter two cars at Indy next month. Spencer Pigot has been given the okay to seek another ride for the
500, but the options may be limited.

A.J. Foyt Racing: Conor Daly, Carlos Munoz, TBA

The Foyt operation is in an unusual formation of having one team residing in its original home base of Texas and the other at its new shop in Indianapolis. This re-organization appeared to be a roadblock for entering a third car next month at Indy. That was until Foyt reportedly won an auction of the remaining KV Racing assets not claimed by Juncos Racing. With now four cars at its disposal, “Super Tex” may now be able to offer a third entry.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: Sage Karam, Gabby Chaves?

The Indianapolis car dealership magnate will once again participate in the Indy 500 with Sage Karam behind the wheel. However, they may support a second entry put together by former Team Menard manager Larry Curry. If the deal materializes, 2015 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves has been tipped as a possible driver.

Juncos Racing: Kyle Kaiser?, TBA?

Ricardo Juncos recently announced his intention to enter the 101st Indy 500 in preparation for a possible full-time IndyCar Series effort in 2018. Juncos’ Indy Lights pilot Kyle Kaiser is expected to be one driver; however, the team has hinted in looking for a veteran driver to fill the seat.

Lazier Partners Racing: Buddy Lazier

Bob Lazier says plans are to return in some form at Indy this May. His son, 1996 Indy 500 champion Buddy Lazier is likely to handle the driving duties once again.

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By Matt Embury

An auto racing writer for over five years, Matt Embury's interest in auto racing was influenced from his father's side of the family. His first recollection of live racing attendance was in the early 1990s watching winged sprint car action at Butler Motor Speedway in Michigan with his uncle and dad.

A major follower of both the Verizon IndyCar Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Matt has attended six previous Indianapolis 500s and rates Tony Kanaan's long awaited victory in the 2013 edition of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing as his favorite memory.

Outside of following auto racing, Matt is an avid fan of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish athletics program and can often be seen at home games throughout the season or running the audio controls on several ND-related radio programs. A native of Springboro, Ohio, Matt now resides in Mishawaka, Indiana.