Six former winners and series champions representing nearly every major form of motorsports are among the drivers named to the entries filed for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, scheduled for Sunday, May 25, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There are more than 60 cars entered but just 33 drivers so it may be a safe bet that everyone on the list will qualify for the rich classic. Just 11 of the drivers entered are from the US.
The former Indianapolis 500 champions entered are: Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya of Team Penske, Buddy Lazier of Lazier Partners Racing and Jacques Villeneuve of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Castroneves, a winner on TV's Dancing with the Stars, is a three-time winner of the race, triumphing in 2001, 2002 and 2009. He will try to join one of the most exclusive clubs in worldwide motorsports - four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500.
Castroneves is attempting to become 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).
In addition to the six past Indianapolis 500 race winners and seven Indy car champions, 20 drivers entered have won at least one race in Indy car competition, including inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis winner Simon Pagenaud.
Verizon IndyCar Series champions entered in the race include three-time champion Dixon (2003, 2008 and 2013), Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport (2012), Kanaan (2004) and Lazier (2000). Four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais (2004-2007) also is entered in a KVSH Racing car, while Montoya (1999) and Villeneuve (1995) each claimed the CART title before embarking on Formula One careers.
Chevrolet engines will power 15 entries, Honda 18. All entries use Dallara chassis and Firestone tires.
The 98th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to start at noon on the historic 2.5-mile oval. It will be the first oval race of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season. ESPN on ABC, the IMS Radio Network and XM 209 and Sirius 213 will broadcast the race live starting at 11 a.m.
Six rookies with diverse credentials are assigned to cars.
Kurt Busch won the NASCAR Cup title in 2004 and is a 25-time winner in NASCAR's top series. Sage Karam is the reigning Indy Lights champion, while Jack Hawksworth won the 2012 Pro Mazda Championship and three Indy Lights races in 2013. Martin Plowman won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Endurance Championship crown in the P2 class in 2013, while Mikhail Aleshin and Carlos Huertas are both race winners in the Formula Renault 3.5 in Europe.
Interesting to note that Busch will race in the Indy 500 and if all goes well he will head to Charlotte to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke 600 in the evening. I often wonder when NASCAR drivers try to do the double duty if they were to win the Indy 500 would they bother to show up for the Coke 600?
By the way my pick to win the Indianapolis 500 is Marco Andretti. He has three second place finishes in eight starts.
The very best sprint car racers will be in action Friday and Saturday night at Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg). Williams Grove Speedway will present the STP World of Outlaws Sprint Cars this Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 pm. The invasion by the traveling band will be the first of three slated match ups between the outlaws and the Pennsylvania Posse this season.
On Friday night, the 25-lap sprint car winner will receive $8,000 while Saturday's champion of a 30-lap feature will walk away with $12,000 plus another $5,000 for being crowned the 2014 Morgan Cup victor.
The outlaws vs. posse clash will find the Williams Grove posse trying to keep its head up high after a sweep in last October's National Open races when Don Kreitz Jr. and Fred Rahmer swept the two-day stand.
Prior to the National Open events, the STP World of Outlaws had swept the posse at Williams Grove during the circuit's previous six appearances dating back to May of 2012. Winners during that time included Donny Schatz, 3; Paul McMahan, Cody Darrah and Steve Kinser. Interesting to note is the fact that many time Outlaw champion, considered to be the King of the Outlaws, Kinser is in the midst of his final season as a full time Outlaw sprint racer.
The circuit will hit town with Joey Saldana leading tour points along with other up front drivers Paul McMahan, defending champion Daryn Pittman and Donny Schatz.
Friday night racing returns to Big Diamond Speedway (Minersville) featuring the Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic DIRTcar 358 Modifieds, along with the USS Achey Sportsman, Savage 61 Roadrunners. The entire night of racing will be brought to you courtesy of our friends at Ken's Tire. Gates open at 5 PM, warm-ups are at 7:45 PM, and the first heat hits the track at 8:15 p.m.
Veteran dirt track racer Meme DeSantis has 854 points and leads Quakertown's Rick Laubach by just 6 points in the battle for the track's 358 Modified title.
At Grandview Speedway on Saturday night the NASCAR 358 Modifieds will be in action along with the BRC Late Models and Sportsman with racing at 7:30 p.m. while on Sunday the Outlaw Enduros will be racing in two 150-lap features plus two 15-lap events featuring the Vintage cars. It all starts at 1 p.m.
Also on Saturday night Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway offers a 6 p.m. show that includes Bike Night (kids will have a chance to win bikes). The Big Block Modifieds will see action as will the Crate/Sportsman, Rookies and TSRS 305 Sprints. It will also be $1 dog night and the held over 20-lap Sportsman feature from a previous night will be part of the action.
Grandview Speedway's Thunder on the Hill's 25th anniversary celebration kicks - off Sunday night, May 25 with a BIG BANG, celebrating with our fans on a fun filled, fan appreciation day.
Along with the Lucky 7 Features only program at a fan friendly price of $20 for adults, the first five hundred fans through the front gate will receive a free Hot Dog, Chips & Snacks as part of the pre-race FANFEST. The FANFEST will include a DJ, games and prizes plus pit tours for spectators, AND a pre-race driver autograph session.
And don't forget, the popular Inside/Out promotion will take place, allowing fans to watch the warm-ups from the infield. All you need to do is sign up at the front gate. You'll see Joe the Pizza Dude as he returns for another season and be sure to meet the new team of Thunder Girls with some added surprises, fun and games.
You can celebrate Memorial Day weekend, by joining them early from 4 to 6 p.m. for lots of activities to enjoy.
The Lucky 7 Features Only program will offer seven twenty-five lap features all in one night. The card will include two 358 Modified features, two URC Sprint features, plus a single feature event for the ARDC Midgets, Sportsman and Legend cars with the first of seven features taking the green flag at 7:30 p.m.