IRL: Indy 500: 2006 Entry list finalized

SIX WINNERS, COMEBACKS BY LEGENDS TAKE SPOTLIGHT IN INDY FIELD Thirty-eight entries, 66 cars set for 90th Indianapolis 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, April 13, 2006 -- Six winning drivers are among the highlights of the entry list for the 90th ...

SIX WINNERS, COMEBACKS BY LEGENDS TAKE SPOTLIGHT IN INDY FIELD

Thirty-eight entries, 66 cars set for 90th Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, April 13, 2006 -- Six winning drivers are among the highlights of the entry list for the 90th Indianapolis 500, scheduled for Sunday, May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The six winners on this year's list include defending champion Dan Wheldon, Buddy Rice (2004), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998), Buddy Lazier (1996) and Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994).

It's the largest number of past winners on the entry list since 2002, when six previous visitors to Victory Lane also were named to entries for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

A total of 26 drivers have been named to the 38 entries filed this year for the 33 starting spots in the world's most prestigious auto race. Sixty-six cars are included on those 38 entries, including backup cars.

The 90th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 28 and will be broadcast live by ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The local start time is one hour later than in 2005 due to Indiana implementing Daylight Savings Time this spring.

On-track activity starts Sunday, May 7 with The Star and CareerBuilder.com Opening Day. Other schedule highlights include WorldPoints Visa Pole Day on Saturday, May 13, Bump Day on Sunday, May 21, American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day on Wednesday, May 24 and Miller Lite Carb Day on Friday, May 26.

The new qualifying format that debuted in 2005, with bumping produced on all four days of qualifying, will continue this year. Besides WorldPoints Visa Pole Day and Bump Day, Second Day Qualifying is set for Sunday, May 14 and Coca-Cola Throwback Day Qualifying set for Saturday, May 20.

Miller Lite Carb Day also will have a full day of action and entertainment for fans. The final practice for the 90th Indianapolis 500, a driver autograph session, the Freedom 100 for the Indy Pro Series^Ù, the Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Competition and Miller Lite Carb Day Concert all are included with a ticket.

Wheldon will attempt to earn his second spot on the Borg-Warner Trophy as a race winner, but he will attempt to make his fourth career Indianapolis 500 start with 2000 "500" winner Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Wheldon, who won last year in an Andretti Green Racing entry, will drive the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

Rice will attempt to make his first Indy start since winning in 2004, as he missed last year's race due to an injury suffered in practice. He will drive the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Argent Panoz/Honda/Firestone.

Castroneves will attempt to join an elite club by earning his third Indianapolis 500 victory in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Just eight drivers have won the race three times or more since the inaugural event in 1911.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is entering cars for two past Indy winners, Lazier and Unser. Lazier will drive the team's No. 5 Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry, while Unser also will shoot for his third Indianapolis 500 victory in the No. 31 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Unser's father, Al, and uncle Bobby have won the race four and three times, respectively, as the race's most winning family.

This will be Unser's first attempt to qualify at Indianapolis since 2004. He has 17 previous Indianapolis 500 starts, the most of any driver named to an entry.

Another past winner making a comeback is Cheever. He is driving the No. 51 Cheever Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone in his first attempt to make the field since 2002.

A high-profile comeback also is taking center stage at defending race champion Andretti Green Racing. Indy legend Michael Andretti will attempt to race in the "500" for the first time since 2003, driving the No. 1 Jim Beam/Vonage Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

Andretti will attempt to earn his long-coveted first Indy 500 victory. He has led 426 laps during his 14 prior Indy starts, the most by any driver without a victory.

The comeback will be sweetened for Andretti by the presence of his 19-year-old son, Marco, in an AGR entry for the race. Marco Andretti will attempt to qualify for his first Indy 500 in the No. 26 NYSE Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

It will be the third generation of father-and-son Andretti starts at Indianapolis. Mario and Michael Andretti started the race together 10 times from 1984-94, while Mario, Michael and Jeff Andretti were in the same field from 1991-93.

Al Unser and Al Unser Jr. were the first father-son combination to compete in the race, in 1983. Like Mario and Michael Andretti, they took the green flag together in 10 Indianapolis 500-Mile Races.

Marco Andretti is one of two high-profile, second-generation Indy rookies in the field. Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of 1990 and 1997 Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, was named to the No. 61 Panoz/Honda/Firestone entry fielded by his father's Luyendyk Racing.

Marco Andretti, Luyendyk and P.J. Chesson are the three rookies named to cars in this year's field.

Six JPMorgan Chase Indianapolis 500 Rookies of the Year are named to entries, led by last year's rookie sensation, Danica Patrick in the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Argent Panoz/Honda/Firestone. She qualified and finished fourth last year, the best performance ever by a woman at Indianapolis. Patrick also led 19 laps, a first for a woman at Indy.

Other Rookies of the Year named to entries are Kosuke Matsuura (2004), Tomas Scheckter (2002 co-Rookie of the Year), Castroneves (2001), Cheever (1990) and Michael Andretti (1984 co-Rookie of the Year).

The field also includes the strength of six IndyCar® Series champions: Wheldon (2005), Tony Kanaan (2004), Scott Dixon (2003), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002), Lazier (2000) and Scott Sharp (co-champion, 1996). Kanaan won the WorldPoints Visa Pole last year at Indianapolis and will return in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven entry fielded by Andretti Green Racing.

Defending IndyCar Series champion Andretti Green Racing entered 10 cars, more than any other team. Rahal Letterman Racing, Marlboro Team Penske, Vision Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing each entered six cars.

The most prevalent chassis manufacturer among the entries is Dallara with 46. All cars will use Honda engines and Firestone tires.

***

ENTRY SUMMARY

DRIVERS (26)

Race winners (6): Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998), Buddy Lazier (1996), Buddy Rice (2004), Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994), Dan Wheldon (2005).

Pole winners (5): Helio Castroneves (2003), Tony Kanaan (2005), Scott Sharp (2001), Buddy Rice (2004), Al Unser Jr. (1994).

Rookies (3): Marco Andretti, P.J. Chesson, Arie Luyendyk Jr.

U.S. born (15): Marco Andretti, Michael Andretti, Jeff Bucknum, Ed Carpenter, Eddie Cheever Jr., P.J. Chesson, Larry Foyt, Bryan Herta, Sam Hornish Jr., Buddy Lazier, Danica Patrick, Buddy Rice, Scott Sharp, Jeff Simmons, Al Unser Jr.

Foreign born (11): Helio Castroneves, Brazil; Scott Dixon, New Zealand; Dario Franchitti, Scotland; Felipe Giaffone, Brazil; Tony Kanaan, Brazil; Arie Luyendyk Jr., Netherlands; Vitor Meira, Brazil; Marty Roth, Canada; Kosuke Matsuura, Japan; Tomas Scheckter, South Africa; Dan Wheldon, England.

Youngest: Marco Andretti, 19.

Oldest: Eddie Cheever Jr., 48.

Most previous starts: Al Unser Jr., 17.

CARS (66)

Chassis: Dallara 46, Panoz 15, TBA 5.

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Indy 500 tickets on sale: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 Indianapolis 500, the 90th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.

Ticket prices start at just $20.

-ims

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Larry Foyt , Dan Wheldon , Jeff Andretti , Buddy Rice , Jeff Bucknum , Marty Roth , Marco Andretti , Kosuke Matsuura , Jeff Simmons , Chip Ganassi , P.J. Chesson , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick , Ed Carpenter , Al Unser , Vitor Meira , Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing