With the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 set to go forward on August 23 without fans, the business of filling the 33 is among the last major items to be completed ahead of opening day on August 12.
As RACER wrote last week, 31 known driver and car combinations are in place, leaving the NTT IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to identify at least two more entries to ensure the traditional 11 rows of three will take start of the 500-mile race.
Among the ready-to-go options, two teams stand out as the most likely entities to assist in maintaining the tradition of having a minimum of 33 cars attempting to qualify for the race. Two other entrants—Juncos Racing and Top Gun Racing—are also possible participants, but their paths to the grid require more time, or money, or both.
A significant change has taken place with Carlin Racing’s new plan to focus on a single entry for Max Chilton. This comes after weeks of exploration to run its second Chevy-powered car, which tested earlier this year with Felipe Nasr and Sergio Sette Camara, but has not raced so far in 2020.
Where IndyCar had three turn-key options with the second Carlin car, third Dale Coyne Racing Honda, and DragonSpeed’s lone entry, the No. 81 Chevy (which has been sitting idle since it returned home after the postponed St. Petersburg Grand Prix), it’s down to two as the series looks to solidify the Indy 500 entry list.
After Coyne and DragonSpeed, Juncos Racing is next on the list of teams with an available car, but its Chevy-powered machine still needs an aeroscreen to be acquired and installed. The change to having no fans for the race, according to team owner Ricardo Juncos, has pushed his realistic ambitions of participating in the Indy 500 to 2021. Although the Juncos team harbors an interest in updating the car with an aeroscreen and running one or two races later in the season, the odds of being ready to run at the Speedway next week are close to zero.
Top Gun Racing, which announced its intent to become an IndyCar team in April with Florida’s RC Enerson as its driver, is also known to be working on finding a car and the necessary equipment to make its series and Indy 500 debut.