The IZOD IndyCar Series announced today the list of teams and drivers that will be competing in the 2010 Indianapolis 500. The list contained 40 different car options at this point and 34 confirmed drivers.
Slightly later in the day, Tomas Scheckter was announced as a driver for Dreyer and Reinbold, bring the total confirmed number to 35.
The large field will feature four women, led by Danica Patrick and including Simona De Silvestro, Milka Duno, and Sarah Fisher. It will also feature four previous winners in Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, and Dan Wheldon.
The field will feature the 24 full-time drivers in the series, with the current additions of Tomas Scheckter, John Andretti, Paul Tracy, Ed Carpenter, Davey Hamilton, Sebastian Saavedra, Bruno Junqueira, A.J. Foyt IV, Jay Howard, Sarah Fisher, and Townsend Bell.
More driver combinations will be forthcoming from the five remaining teams with entries. They include Team 3G, A.J. Foyt Racing, AFS Racing, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, and Rahal Letterman Racing.
A near certainty is that Graham Rahal will be in the Indianapolis 500. The only thing holding up an announcement by Rahal Letterman seems to be the hope for a better entry.
Some of the other drivers who will be swarming for a ride include former winner Buddy Rice, former winner Buddy Lazier, Jay Cunningham, J.R. Hildebrand, Ana Beatrix (who has the inside lead on the fourth Dreyer and Reinbold car), Arie Luyendyk Jr., Darren Manning, and Oriel Servia.
There is certainly a plethora of drivers without a ride who would love to make a run at the field, and the potential driver and team combinations will play out over the next month.
John Andretti is the most senior member of the field, previously running in 10 Indianapolis 500-mile races. Sebastian Saavedra will be the youngest attempting to make the field at the tender age of 19.
Every team but Bryan Herta Autosport with Saavedra and the AFS Racing entry entered a backup car in addition to their regular entry.
Backup cars will have greater importance for teams this year, as the two-day qualifying session makes mistakes more costly. If a driver has a slipup in the first qualifying day, they will likely move to their backup car immediately, because they will only have 24 more hours to qualify. In the past, with two weeks of qualifying, a team could effectively fix a wrecked car during the off week.
There still could be a lot of wheeling and dealing this year for drivers to pick up additional chances at rides for the second day of qualifying. With this many teams competing to be in the field, the month of May should prove to be very compelling.