IndyCar driver guaranteed to miss the 2024 Indy 500

With 34 cars on the entry list, somebody is guaranteed to be bumped out of the 108th running of the Indy 500.
Indy 500, IndyCar
Indy 500, IndyCar / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

In mid-February, it was confirmed that two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato is set to return for a 15th attempt in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" this May, doing so with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing behind the wheel of the No. 75 Honda.

Sato won his second Indy 500 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2020, and five of his first 14 starts in IndyCar's biggest race have come with Bobby Rahal's team. He has not competed for the team since 2021.

Most significantly, the announcement confirmed that there will be bumping at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the second year in a row, the third time in four years, and the fifth time in seven years, as Sato's No. 75 Honda became the 34th confirmed car on the entry list.

No more new entries have been added since, and the series is set for the annual two-day open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this coming Wednesday and Thursday.

Indy 500 Bump Day is back next month

One of those 34 entries, the No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, still needs a driver, not just for the test but for the race itself. Either way, Dale Coyne Racing are set to enter two cars in the Indy 500, with rookie Nolan Siegel set to drive the No. 18 Honda.

So whether or not the long-discussed No. 50 Abel Motorsports Chevrolet is eventually added for R.C. Enerson for the second consecutive year, there will be somebody who fails to qualify for the 108th running of the Indy 500.

Nobody is guaranteed a starting spot, an element of the iconic event that fans hope will remain true for many years to come. Anybody on the entry list could end up on the outside looking in; the Speedway plays no favorites (for now).

At this point, it appears as though multiple drivers will fail to qualify for the race, as the entry list is expected to grow with the rumored addition of the Abel Motorsports car.

Given the chaos of last year's Bump Day, when there were 34 cars on the entry list, things could be even more intense this time around with 35. Not since 2021 have there been 35 cars on the Indy 500 entry list. Three of the last four Bump Days (2018, 2019, and 2023) have seen a full-time driver fail to qualify.

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Indy 500 qualifying is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19. The race itself is set to be broadcast live on NBC from Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 26.