Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bailout

Indycar fans should be thanking the current teams in Indycar for bailing out the tradition of fielding 33 cars for the Indianapolis 500. The biggest problem? No new entries from outside teams are appearing in the Month of May.

It took current teams a lot of financial support, staff, and equipment to make extra rides possible. Indycar has 22 full-time entries this season. 9 of the remaining 11 entries were filled by current full-time teams. AJ Foyt Enterprises added a second entry driven by Martin Plowman. Andretti Autosport added a fifth entry driven by Kurt Busch. Dale Coyne Racing added a third entry driven by Pippa Mann. Ed Carpenter Racing added a second entry driven by JR Hildebrand. KV Racing added two entries driven by Townsend Bell and James Davison. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and driver Oriol Servia finish out a four race deal at Indianapolis. Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing added a second entry driven by Alex Tagliani. Finally, Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports added a third entry driven by Jacques Villeneuve.

The two entries outside of the full-time teams are: Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing entry driven by Sage Karam, and Lazier Partners Racing entry driven by Buddy Lazier. The D&RR entry deserves an asterisk, because that deal is in conjunction with Chip Ganassi Racing, a full-time team.

Basically, we would have had no chance at a field of 33 if it were not for many great owners currently in Indycar.

So who has come and gone? Where have all of the entries gone? Indycar fields at Indianapolis haven't been massive recently, but they've at least been above 33 entries. Here are the teams no longer in Indycar that have fielded entries at Indianapolis since 2008, with the number of cars entered in the previous six 500s (note: I did not include HVM Racing because technically they are partnered with Andretti Autosport's fourth car driven by Carlos Munoz):

  • Dragon Racing - 10
  • Conquest Racing - 8
  • Panther Racing - 8
  • Newman-Haas Racing - 6
  • Vision Racing - 6
  • Roth Racing - 4
  • Hemelgarn Racing - 2
  • American Dream Motorsports -1
  • China Racing - 1
  • Fan Force United - 1
  • Pacific Coast Motorsports - 1
  • PDM Racing - 1
  • Rubicon Race Team - 1
  • Team 3G - 1

Oriol Servia - Indianapolis 500 Mile Race
Oriol Servia of Newman-Haas leads the 2011 Indianapolis 500 (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

Total all of the above team entries up and you get a whopping 51 entries lost since 2008. That is staggering!! The economic landscapes of the sport has changed, especially since 2012 with the introduction of the DW12.

Not all is bad. Just recently, Byrd Racing has announced that they will return to the Speedway, fielding a car driven by Bryan Clauson in the 2015 Indianapolis 500. Hopefully more teams follow suit!

How can the Indycar management get more entries to come back or to start new entries from scratch?! 33 entries and no bumping is unacceptable. Having only 33 entries for the 2015 Indianapolis 500 will be unbearable. Something needs to be done!

Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey

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