A Rookies Guide To IndyCar – Part 2

Part two of the guide to the Verizon IndyCar series sees us look at the Indy 500 as Fernando Alonso gears up for his debut, and we look at the teams and drivers that are regulars of the series

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The Indianapolis 500 is the crown jewel of the IndyCar series. It is dubbed “the greatest spectacle in racing” and is one third of the “Triple Crown of Motorsport” which of course is also made up of the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix. The race was first held in 1911 and it takes place at the 2.5 mile long Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The circuit also has an infield section which Formula 1 used from 2000 through to 2007 and IndyCar currently uses a revised version of this track for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis as a prelude to the Indy 500. The inaugural race was won by Ray Harroun and last year saw Alexander Rossi take victory in the 100th running of the race, his first time at “the brickyard” as it is called and his first ever win in the series after he and strategist Brian Herta pulled off a masterstroke in fuel saving strategy. Currently, Team Penske have the most wins here with 16 and their current driver Helio Castroneves is the active driver with the most wins on three. Penske also have 17 poles at the track. 300,000 plus usually attend on race day and it is one the must see motorsport events of the year. Even more so this year with Alonso taking part.

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The Indy 500 features various one off entries. But the 2017 IndyCar season features 20 full time entries across 8 teams. The liveries of the drivers cars can vary race to race, due to different sponsor agreements compared to Formula 1. A good way to view the entries is to check out the spotter guides for the races, available to download off the official IndyCar website on the page for that particular race. To check out the entries of the full season, lets take a look at the spotter guide from the opening race in St. Petersburg which Dale Coyne driver Sebastian Bourdais won.

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No, Mario Andretti does not race still. The Andretti entry at the very top is the two seater DW12 where fans can enter a sweepstake with a chance to ride in the car before the start of a race. Now back to the real entries. Each driver, their livery and team are listed in numerical order, starting with defending champion Simon Pagenaud. But to make it clearer who drives for who, here is a run down of the teams and drivers, as well as the manufacturer that powers them and provides their aero kit.

Team Penske – Chevrolet

  • Will Power
  • Josef Newgarden
  • Simon Pagenaud
  • Helio Castroneves

Andretti Autosport-Honda

  • Alexander Rossi
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay
  • Takuma Sato
  • Marco Andretti

Chip Ganassi Racing -Honda

  • Scott Dixon
  • Tony Kanaan
  • Charlie Kimball
  • Max Chilton

Schmidt Peterson Motorsport -Honda

  • James Hinchcliffe
  • Mikhail Aleshin

Dale Coyne Racing -Honda

  • Sebastian Bourdais
  • Ed Jones

Ed Carpenter Racing – Chevrolet

  • J.R Hildebrand
  • Ed Carpenter (Ovals only)
  • Spencer Pigot (Road/Street courses only, taking part in Indy 500 with Junco Racing)

A.J Foyt Enterprises – Chevrolet

  • Carlos Munoz
  • Connor Daly

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – Honda

  • Graham Rahal

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Excluding the entries of Carpenter and Pigot who are doing just road/street and oval courses respectively, that’s 20 full season entries for the championship. Technically, 21 as the Carpenter and Pigot car is one entry for the whole year, they just share driving duties. The main players in the series really are Andretti, Penske and Ganassi. These are the teams that usually dominate the results and championship tables, but we have seen recently teams such as Dale Coyne and Schmidt Peterson win races with Hinchcliffe and Bourdais, the latter leading this years championship in the opening rounds. Rahal has also won races the last couple of years, the nature of the championship meaning smaller teams can truly mix it with the big boys. Despite this, the last non Andretti/Penske/Ganassi championship was back in 2002 with Sam Hornish Jr for Panther Racing. That team folded midway through 2014 and they almost took Hildebrand to Indy 500 success in 2011. The reasons as to why that didn’t happen…I’ll let the below video do the talking.

And that is just about it for the full IndyCar season guide. We hope you enjoyed this guide to the IndyCar series and its various drivers, tracks and all the basics that make up this series. Next stop, Indianapolis!