The time has finally arrived.
A year of waiting has come to an end as it’s time to go “Back Home Again in Indiana” with competitors pushing racing immortality at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
This year’s 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is set for May 29, with 33 drivers making up the exact number of field entrants. As a result, no bumping will take place for qualifying next weekend. Instead a unique qualifying format has been expanded where the top 12 qualifiers on speed on Saturday will battle it out – in reverse order of top time – for the pole position on Sunday, with points awarded 12 to 1 based on the final order.
Helio Castroneves became the fourth four-time winner (most all-time with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears) in the event’s illustrious history last year, and is now on a quest for five. He is among eight former winners of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” along with Alexander Rossi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Takuma Sato, Tony Kanaan and Will Power.
There are seven rookies in the field, led by seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and ex-Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean. Other first-time entrants include Callum Ilott, Christian Lundgaard, David Malukas Devlin DeFrancesco and Kyle Kirkwood.
There are 13 drivers on the grid representing the United States, with international drivers making up other 20 spots from 14 countries.
Andretti Autosport and Chip Ganassi Racing have five cars each entered in the event, most of any team.
Honda are powering 17 teams on the grid, with Chevrolet the other 16.
Practice opens Tuesday, May 17 and runs through Friday, May 20. Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22, followed by a two-hour practice Monday, May 23. Final practice will be two hours again this year on Carb Day, held Friday, May 27.
Live Race Day coverage begins on NBC, Telemundo Deportes on Universo and the IndyCar Radio Network at 11 a.m. (ET), with the green flag set for 12:45 p.m.