The Indianapolis 500 entry list was released yesterday, and probably wasn't what some folks were expecting. Listing 32 drivers, several of the rides fans hoped to hear about weren't filed at the time of publication yesterday. We didn't get Pippa Mann's car number, there's an extra Ed Carpenter Racing entry that's essentially never going to see the track, the anticipated 3rd Schmidt car was not yet listed, and so on.
It's tough for fans impatient to know what they're looking at for May, but it bears repeating: the entry list can always be added to. If someone wakes up during Qualifying Weekend and decides they want to throw Bruno Junqueira (for example) in a car, then by golly, it can happen.
With that in mind, there's still a bit of work to do on the list. Buddy Rice is largely expected to be with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in their aforementioned third car, and the Buddy Lazier and Bryan Clauson deals are still being worked. There's little doubt we'll have 33 shortly, and then we'll have to see what happens with potential entries 34 and 35. We've gone later without at least 33; for example, the 2003 Indianapolis 500 was brutal on entries. That year, it took last-minute announcements on Bump Day for Vitor Meira and Airton Dare to get a full field. You haven't gone through fan hand-wringing until you look back on the lead up to that 500. Fortunately, this year seems a far cry from that one. We're a single, projected announcement away from a full field, and look almost certain to have at least one, and quite possibly more for bumping.
I love the depth of this field as it stands, especially as unpredictable as the season has been. There are fan favorites, 500 winners, legacies looking for that first 500 victory, and a host of drivers that you just can't count out. Yet if you're looking at what's out there, you can count two Indy 500 champs and a 3-time USAC National Drivers Champion that would make pretty handy additions to that list. If we get two out of the three possibilities at least, I'd be pretty satisfied with that. If they want to push for all three (questionable but possible), even better. 500 winners and champions of other racing series are always going to add some excitement and chatter to the proceedings.
So, it turns out we'll wait a little bit longer for that final Indy 500 entry list to be revealed. It's a chore to wait, but hopefully the final result is well worth it. If the drivers currently projected as additions make it, I think it will be.