Although only 32 cars are officially entered for the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500, IndyCar CEO Mark Miles told Autoweek Tuesday he expects a full 33-car field for the May 29th Memorial Day weekend classic.
“Let me just say, a lot has been written about having secured 32 cars,” Miles said. “I think we can pretty much guarantee there’ll be 33 cars in the field.
“And I wouldn’t rule out maybe even one more (car) beyond that. So I think it’s going to be a full field. And I think it’s going to be a hugely exciting race.”
The official entry deadline for the 500 was last Monday, April 11. However, entry deadlines in the race’s history have been fluid in past years, with cars and drivers sometimes being added all the way up to the start of nearly two weeks of practice and qualifying for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.
One team that will not take part in this year’s Indy 500 will be Paretta Autosport, which announced at the same press conference Tuesday that it will compete in three road or street races this season, but not in the 500.
The Paretta group received significant attention during the month of May last year because it is a team comprised primarily of females, including the team owner (Beth Paretta), driver (Simona de Silvestro), pit crew and several other key positions.
One other team and driver of note that have been mentioned in media reports as possibly fielding a car in the 500 again is Cusick Motorsports and Stefan Wilson. But that possibility remains uncertain.
The 33-car starting field is an Indy 500 tradition, dating back to 1934. However, there were 35 cars in the 1979 and 1997 editions of the 500.
Follow Autoweek contributor Jerry Bonkowski on Twitter @JerryBonkowski