IndyCar: Big Indy 500 announcement finally ends major concerns

Stefan Wilson, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stefan Wilson, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Despite major concerns, it was finally confirmed that the 2022 Indy 500 will not be the first since 1947 to feature a field of fewer than 33 cars.

The full-time entry total for the 2022 IndyCar season is 26, the highest it has been in decades. Yet over the offseason and during the first few months of the 17-race campaign, there had been a major struggle to land enough additional entries to fill the field of 33 for the 106th running of the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Just 30 cars competed in the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) oval in Speedway, Indiana back in 1947, when the race was then known as the 31st International 500-Mile Sweepstakes.

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Not in 74 races since then has the race featured fewer than 33 cars. But at long last, it has been confirmed that this streak will run to 75 and not end with last year’s running of IndyCar’s biggest race.

For several months, the entry list sat at 32. In addition to the 26 full-time entries, just six part-time/one-off entries had been confirmed.

Those entries included the #1 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda for Tony Kanaan, the #6 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet for Juan Pablo Montoya, the #23 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet for Santino Ferrucci, the #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet for Sage Karam, the #33 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter, and the #98 Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian for Marco Andretti.

Of all the years in which the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” could struggle to see a full field, the fact that it came this year was a shock, considering the fact that only seven additional entries were needed.

But now those major concerns, brought on not simply by the number 32 but by the fact that multiple potential deals to field the 33rd entry had failed to come to fruition, have finally been alleviated.

On Thursday, Cusick Motorsports and DragonSpeed announced a partnership to field the #25 Chevrolet for three-time Indy 500 starter Stefan Wilson. Set to supply the team’s equipment is fellow Chevrolet organization A.J. Foyt Enterprises.

Yes, finally.

Though the announcement had been expected for the last few weeks, the fact that fans finally got to hear it for themselves brought an end to a monthslong stretch of legitimate concern, concern which carried historical significance.

Wilson competed in the race last year for Cusick Motorsports in partnership with Andretti Autosport, when he drove the #25 Honda. DragonSpeed haven’t competed in the race since 2020 when they fielded the #81 Chevrolet for Ben Hanley.

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With just 33 entries, all cars on the entry list are guaranteed to have a spot in the race. Qualifying is scheduled to solidify the starting lineup on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22, and the race itself is scheduled to take place the following Sunday, May 29.