[Source: Indianapolis Motor Speedway press release]
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, May 7, 2013 – Three past winners and four IZOD IndyCar Series champions are among the drivers named to the 33 entries filed for the 2013 Indianapolis 500, scheduled for Sunday, May 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Helio Castroneves of Team Penske are the past winners assigned to cars.
Franchitti and Castroneves are three-time winners of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” with Franchitti triumphing in 2007, 2010 and 2012 and Castroneves in 2001, 2002 and 2009.
This is the first year since 1987 in which two drivers with three victories will try to join one of the most exclusive clubs in worldwide motorsports – four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500. Franchitti and Castroneves are attempting to become just the fourth four-time winner of the race, joining A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991).
IZOD IndyCar Series champions assigned to cars include reigning champion Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, Franchitti (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011), Dixon (2003, 2008) and Tony Kanaan (2004) of KV Racing Technology. Four-time Champ Car champion Sebastian Bourdais also is entered in a Dragon Racing car.
Thirty-two drivers have been named to the 33 entries filed this year. Chevrolet engines will power 17 entries, Honda 16. All entries use Dallara chassis and Firestone tires.
The 97th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to start at noon (ET) on the historic 2.5-mile oval. It will be the first oval race of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season. ESPN on ABC, the IMS Radio Network and Sirius XM 211 will broadcast the race live starting at 11 a.m.
Opening Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 11.
There is outstanding depth and quality in this year’s field. Besides three past race winners and four IZOD IndyCar Series champions, 17 of the 32 drivers named to entries have won at least one race in either IZOD IndyCar Series or Champ Car World Series/CART competition.
Four rookies with impressive credentials are assigned to cars.
AJ Allmendinger won five Champ Car races from 2004-06 before turning to NASCAR racing. Tristan Vautier is the reigning Firestone Indy Lights champion, while Carlos Munoz has won two of the first three Firestone Indy Lights races this season and leads the championship. Conor Daly, from nearby Noblesville, Ind., won the 2010 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, won in 2011 at Long Beach in Firestone Indy Lights and won a race in 2012 in GP3, one of the ladder series for Formula One.
Plenty of talent that recently advanced through the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system also was assigned to cars, including three Firestone Indy Lights champions – JR Hildebrand (2009), Josef Newgarden (2011) and Vautier (2012). Other recent Firestone Indy Lights graduates on the entry list include Marco Andretti, Ana Beatriz, Ed Carpenter, Daly, James Hinchcliffe, Charlie Kimball, Pippa Mann, Munoz, Graham Rahal and Sebastian Saavedra.
Three women were among the drivers named to entries: 2010 Chase Rookie of the Year Simona De Silvestro, Beatriz and Mann.
Andretti Autosport is involved in five entries, more than any other team. Andretti Autosport is fielding cars for Andretti, Beatriz, Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay, while Team Venezuela/Andretti Autosport/HVM has entered a car for E.J. Viso.
Former race winners (3): Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009), Dario Franchitti (2007, 2010, 2012), Scott Dixon (2008).
Former pole winners (5): Helio Castroneves (2003, 2007, 2009, 2010), Ryan Briscoe (2012), Tony Kanaan (2005), Scott Dixon (2008), Alex Tagliani (2011).
Rookies (4): AJ Allmendinger, Conor Daly, Carlos Munoz, Tristan Vautier.
Youngest: Carlos Munoz, 21.
Oldest: Dario Franchitti, 39. (Franchitti turns 40 on May 19, seven days before Race Day.)
Most previous starts: Helio Castroneves, 12.