IndyCar: Is the 2021 full-time driver lineup already set?

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /

Is the full-time driver lineup for the 2021 IndyCar solidified, or are there more announcements of that nature on their way?

The 2021 IndyCar season was initially scheduled to get underway last Sunday afternoon on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, the same location where the 2020 season ended in late October, but due to coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions, the start of the season was pushed back for the second year in a row.

But with the month of March upon us and already nearly halfway over, we can officially say that the season is scheduled to get underway next month — five weeks from today, in fact.

Barber Motorsports Park is scheduled to host the opening round of the 17-race campaign on Sunday, April 18 following three separate early-season schedule changes.

And already, the full-time driver lineup appears to be set.

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The only thing that could change this at this point appears to be Carlin, and they would likely only be able to change it by way of Ed Carpenter Racing, as it is highly unlikely that Carlin will have a full-time driver of their own.

With Max Chilton set to return to run the 13 road and street course races on the schedule plus the Indy 500 like he did last year, he has a deal that matches that of Conor Daly at Ed Carpenter Racing, again, just like he did last year, although Daly is set to drive a different car in the Indy 500 than he is in the 13 road and street course races (#20 Chevrolet).

And last season, Daly ran the non-Indy 500 oval races for Carlin behind the wheel of the #59 Chevrolet instead of Chilton. If that were to happen again in 2021, Daly would again have a full-time ride, split among two teams.

This year’s three non-Indy 500 oval races are scheduled to take place at Texas Motor Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, with the former hosting two events.

Excluding Daly, there are 20 drivers confirmed for full-time rides in the 2021 season, and that number likely won’t increase.

Here’s a team-by-team list.

A.J. Foyt Enterprises

  • #4 Chevrolet – Dalton Kellett
  • #14 Chevrolet – Sebastien Bourdais

Andretti Autosport

  • #26 Honda – Colton Herta
  • #27 Honda – Alexander Rossi
  • #28 Honda – Ryan Hunter-Reay
  • #29 Honda – James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport)

Arrow McLaren SP

  • #5 Chevrolet – Pato O’Ward
  • #7 Chevrolet – Felix Rosenqvist

Chip Ganassi Racing

  • #8 Honda – Marcus Ericsson
  • #9 Honda – Scott Dixon
  • #10 Honda – Alex Palou

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan

  • #18 Honda – Ed Jones

Ed Carpenter Racing

  • #21 Chevrolet – Rinus VeeKay

Meyer Shank Racing

  • #60 Honda – Jack Harvey

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

  • #15 Honda – Graham Rahal
  • #30 Honda – Takuma Sato

Team Penske

  • #2 Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
  • #3 Chevrolet – Scott McLaughlin
  • #12 Chevrolet – Will Power
  • #22 Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Aside from the #59 Carlin Chevrolet, there are three other full-time entries set to compete throughout the 2021 season, and their drivers have all been confirmed as well.

Chip Ganassi Racing

  • #48 Honda – Jimmie Johnson in the 13 road and street course races, Tony Kanaan in the four oval races

Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing

  • #51 Honda – Romain Grosjean in the 13 road and street course races, Pietro Fittipaldi in the four oval races

Ed Carpenter Racing

  • #20 Chevrolet – Conor Daly in the 13 road and street course races, Ed Carpenter in the four oval races

So at this point, we are only waiting on one more thing, and that one more thing appears highly likely.

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Tune in to NBC at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 18 for the live broadcast of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by AmFirst from Barber Motorsports Park.