Early Look at 2013 Indy 500 Grid

Here is a preliminary look at the 2013 Indianapolis 500 grid, the list below are the confirmed entries (Car number, driver, team, engine, number of Indy 500 starts) and if there is a number directly after their name, that signifies how many Indy 500 victories they have earned:

#1 Ryan Hunter-Reay / Andretti Autosport / Chevy / 5
#2 AJ Allmendinger / Team Penske / Chevy / 0
#3 Helio Castroneves (3)  / Team Penske / Chevy / 12
#4 JR Hildebrand / Panther Racing / Chevy / 2
#5 EJ Viso / Andretti Autosport / Chevy / 5
#6 Sebastian Saavedra / Dragon Racing / Chevy / 2
#7 Sebastien Bourdais / Dragon Racing / Chevy / 2
#9 Scott Dixon (1) / Chip Ganassi Racing / Honda / 10
#10 Dario Franchitti (3) / Chip Ganassi Racing / Honda / 9
#11 Tony Kanaan / KV Racing / Chevy / 11
#12 Will Power / Team Penske / Chevy / 5
#14 Takuma Sato / AJ Foyt Enterprises / Honda / 3
#15 Graham Rahal / Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing / Honda / 5
#16 James Jakes / Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing / Honda / 1
#19 Justin Wilson / Dale Coyne Racing / Honda / 5
#20 Ed Carpenter / Ed Carpenter Racing / Chevy / 9
#21 Josef Newgarden / Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing / Honda / 1
#22 Oriol Servia / Panther Dreyer and Reinbold Racing / Chevy / 4
#25 Marco Andretti / Andretti Autosport / Chevy / 7
#27 James Hinchcliffe / Andretti Autosport / Chevy / 2
#55 Tristan Vautier / Schmidt Peterson Motorsports / Honda / 0
#77 Simon Pagenaud / Schmidt Peterson Motorsports / Honda / 1
#78 Simona de Silvestro / KV Racing / Chevy / 3
#83 Charlie Kimball / Chip Ganassi Racing / Honda / 3
#98 Alex Tagliani / Bryan Herta Autosport / Honda / 4
#TBA Carlos Munoz / Andretti Autosport / Chevy / 0

Car count: 26
Combined starts: 108

Now begins the speculative side of things. Let's start with the very likely things that will happen. Not listed above is the #18 Dale Coyne Racing car, because it appears that a decision has not been made despite the info that has been released to the press. Ana Beatriz was only confirmed for St. Pete a mere couple of days before the race itself. It will be either her or Stefan Wilson who pilots that car during the Month of May. Early reports suggest Bia, but who knows.

The second Dale Coyne car remains a mystery (No photo credit listed)

Another two certainties that we will likely see happen is 2012 Indy 500 pole sitter Ryan Briscoe piloting the fourth car at Chip Ganassi Racing (the 4th car was discontinued as a full time entry). Another one that has emerged lately is Conor Daly piloting the #41 car at AJ Foyt Enterprises. Chase Austin was originally supposed to drive that car, but circumstances have changed leaving Chase out of a ride. Conventional wisdom says Townsend Bell will once again pilot the #99 car at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Count stands at 30.

Now to the not so confirmed but still plausible rides. Bryan Clauson would be a likely fit in a second car at Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Bryan raced for them in the 500 in 2012. If Ed Carpenter were to go with a second car, Buddy Rice, who attended the race last year with the team and who was sponsored by Fuzzy's Vodka in 2011, would be a wise choice. The third Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is a tricky one. They have a third car that they will run part time in 2013, so it makes sense that they would run a third car at Indy. The driver remains a question. Three drivers that are vying for the seat (who are the most realistic to nab the seat) are Jay Howard, Bertrand Baguette, and Michel Jourdain Jr. Jourdain ran with RLL in 2012, and Baguette + Howard in 2011. Car count now 33.

Jay Howard and Bertrand Baguette, teammates at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at the 2011 Indianapolis 500 (Photo: Chris Jones / Indycar Media)

The rest is a whole lotta' what ifs as far as teams go. Panther Racing and Bryan Herta Autosport may field a second car. Newman Haas Racing has been trying to get something in the works for awhile now. Michael Shank Racing has ambitions to run the race. Gary Peterson and AFS Racing are working to get something together. And who knows, you may see another unexpected team come out of the wood works, like last year with Fan Force United. Drivers with ties to Indycar that have a chance to race not mentioned above include Tomas Scheckter, Pippa Mann, Alex Lloyd, Bruno Junqueira, Katherine LeggeHo Pin Tung, Eseteban Guerrieri, and assuming one of the above listed gets the RLL seat, that will leave the other two without a seat, so expect Jay Howard, Bertrand Baguette, and Michel Jourdain Jr. to entertain other offers if they receive them.

Notes: Danica Patrick has stated that she is not interested in doing the Indy 500-Coke 600 double. Tony Stewart has declined Roger Penske's offer to race in the Indy 500. And Paul Tracy came out and said he is retired for good. Don't expect to see any of them in Gasoline Alley in May, which can't come soon enough.

Any predictions? Let me know what you're thinking. #Indy500orBust

-Matthew Hickey