The No. 81 DragonSpeed Chevy will complete the Indianapolis 500’s legendary field of 33.
The team owned by former open-wheel and sports car driver Elton Julian completed the deal after a late rally of interested parties came together to complete the necessary funding for the NTT IndyCar Series team to ready its entry ahead of Wednesday’s opening practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
England’s Ben Hanley, who starred as a rookie in qualifying for the 2019 Indy 500 with DragonSpeed (pictured above), will return to drive the No. 81 with veteran race engineer John Dick joining the Briton to resume their successful partnership.
“So far, 2020 has been the year everyone will want to forget, but won’t be able to!” Julian said. “We are honored to join all the other competitors in this year’s 500 and hope we can help create some positive memories for race fans everywhere, despite the fact that they cannot be here in person. On behalf of the team, I want to thank the NTT IndyCar Series, Roger Penske, Firestone and Chevrolet and all series partners for making our participation possible, and we look forward to playing our part in delivering a great show.”
Hanley’s entry will carry primary sponsorship from Flex-Box and 10Star Solutions.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back on track at Indy,” he said. “The whole team as well as myself were well and truly hooked by our experience as rookies last year. The challenge in 2020 will be just as tough, but with an evolved engineering crew and Chevy power behind us again, we’re excited to have another go at the challenge of the 500!”
DragonSpeed and Hanley were ready to kick off the 2020 season at St. Petersburg in March, but after the event was postponed, the team’s open-wheel plans were parked while Julian’s operation focused on its sports car programs.
Having won the most recent IMSA Weather Tech SportsCar Championship race in the LMP2 category at Road America, where Hanley, co-driver Henrik Hedman, and Dick combined to score an upset victory, the team will look to carry its momentum into the Speedway.
With 33 cars in position, the odds of a 34th emerging in time to participate in practice and qualifying are extremely slim.