IndyCar: Another Indy 500 driver confirmed for 2021?

James Davison, Dale Coyne Racing, Indy 500, IndyCar
James Davison, Dale Coyne Racing, Indy 500, IndyCar /

James Davison has posted on social media that he is set to return to IndyCar for another attempt at the Indy 500 this May.

James Davison hasn’t competed full-time in American open-wheel racing since his 2009 runner-up finish in the Indy Lights championship, but he has become a regular competitor in IndyCar‘s biggest race, the Indy 500.

Since 2014, he has only missed the race one year, with that being in 2016. He wasn’t slated to compete in 2017 until Sebastien Bourdais was injured in a massive qualifying crash, and he was called upon as his replacement at Dale Coyne Racing.

Four of his last five Indy 500 starts have come with Dale Coyne Racing, including his last two, and it appears as though he will be making another start with the team in 2021.

Dale Coyne Racing formed a partnership with Rick Ware Racing for last year’s Indy 500 to go along with their previous partnership with Byrd Belardi.

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Davison piloted the #51 Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing & Byrd Belardi Honda for the team in last year’s running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, although he saw his race end early due to a fire. He has finished in last place (33rd) in two of the last three Indy 500s.

Rick Ware Racing formed a full-time partnership with Dale Coyne Racing ahead of the 2021 season, with former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean set to compete behind the wheel of the #51 Honda in the 13 road and street course races on the 17-race schedule. The #52 Honda, also a part of this partnership, is set to be run in the Indy 500 and in other select races throughout the season.

Davison posted a picture to Instagram on Sunday indicating that he will be back with the team for another Indy 500 attempt in 2021. The post includes a picture of himself as a Japanese Anime character in a Rick Ware Racing IndyCar Honda #51 firesuit, and it states the following.

“I’m back. As a random Japanese Anime character. Ready to take on 15+ NASCAR Cup races and the INDY 500 in 2021. It all starts today at DAYTONA.”

According to IndyStar, Davison’s return was not confirmed by Dale Coyne Racing, but it was confirmed that if he does come back, he will not be behind the wheel of the #51 Honda for this year’s running of the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) oval in Speedway, Indiana, indicating that he will likely be behind the wheel of the #52 Honda.

There are currently 30 cars confirmed for this year’s running of the Indy 500, with the #51 Honda and #52 Honda being the only two confirmed cars without confirmed drivers. Davison being confirmed as the driver of the latter would make him the 29th confirmed driver on the entry list.

Dale Coyne Racing are also set to field the #18 Honda through their existing partnership with Vasser-Sullivan. Ed Jones is the full-time driver of this car.

Driving the #33 Dale Coyne Racing with Byrd/Hollinger/Belardi Honda in 2019, Davison finished in a career-high 12th place, overcoming an early pit mishap to put himself in contention for a top 10 finish. He led laps late in the 2017 Indy 500 as Bourdais’s replacement after starting in last as well, but a wreck with only a few laps remaining knocked him out of contention for the win.

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The 105th running of the Indy 500 is set to be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 30.