J.R. Hildebrand’s Pit Crew standing on wall cheering as JR takes the white flag leading the 2011 Indy 500! (The Tomaso Collection)
Never fear Ladies 'N Germs, Hurray-Hurray-Hurray, the Show's about to begin, as Mark Miles guarantees 33 entries for this year's vaunted 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 motor race, honest...
As typical, we've been waiting, wondering and ponderin' just whether or not we'd have a full field 'O 33 Dallara's in this year's Mega 100th running of Thy International Sweepstakes race, or even better yet, that long ago forgotten tradition called Bumping! Not to be Cornfuzed with Boomp Day...
As the momentum continued with the announcement of a past name's return to the Brickyard, when John Menard joined forces with past rival team owner Roger Penske.
And as of March 22nd, when ECR made the announcement that J.R. Hildebrand would indeed return for a third engagement at Mother Speedway with the team, we had 30 confirmed entries for this year's Indy 500.
INDY 500 ENTRANTS
So just how did we get to 33? Or are we there yet Mom; Hya! As obviously we began with this year's St Pete's entry list of 22 who were A-L-L confirmed for Thy Month 'O May, ironically leaving us with eleven "Mystery" entries, or to be more concise, one-third of the field! With the next eight names alphabetically being announced were: Brabham, Carpenter, Clauson, Hildebrand, Karam, Lazier, Mann and Tagliani.
As I'll reintroduce two of the competitors since they're on a Part-time basis this year, i.e.; rookie Spencer Pigot who made his IndyCar debut at St Pete, bringing the entry list to 22, and Ed Carpenter who's doing his Oval's only gig once again this year.
With the mad scramble being for the coveted third seat at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, while presumably Mikey A' would run a fifth entry? Which just left us wonderin' who'd be No. 33, possibly a collaboration between Carlin and Grace Autosports?
As drivers with the names Bell, Chaves, de Silvestro and Legge seemed the most likely candidates for these remaining seats...
A.J. Foyt Enterprises
#35) Alex Tagliani; Canada
The affable and well liked Kuhnaidium 'TAG's most memorable accomplishment to date at the Brickyard is winning the 2011 Pole, where fellow "Team-mate" Dannyboy SPIKE' Wheldon went onto capture an improbable last lap victory en route to his second and final Borg Warner trophy!
Tagliani, like several others, will run the Indy Double this May, i.e.; the road course and Oval races respectively, with the No. 35 in honour of team owner SuperTex's 35-starts at the Speedway...
Dale Coyne Racing
#63) Pippa Mann; UK
#88) Brian Clauson; USA
Pippa Mann will once again be racing in Pink for the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation while USAC Sprint Car star Brian Clauson returns with a storied Indianapolis name, running the Jonathan Byrd's entry - for which full season rookie driver Conor Daly carries elsewhere...
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
#24) Sage Karam; USA
Sadly Sage "Dangerboy" Karam found himself unemployed at the end of the 2015 IndyCar season, after the 2013 Lights champion was subsequently replaced by ex-Marussia F1 driver Max Chilton, who'll make his Indy 500 debut this May.
Karam has landed a "One-off" ride again with Dreyer & Reinbold, ironically where he began his star-crossed IndyCar career during the 2014 Indy 500 before graduating to Chip Ganassi Racing for the majority of last year's season.
Sage will be driving probably one of the brightest cars on the grid, with Reality TV Starz' Gas Monkey Garage promoting their brand new energy drink, albeit not sure who's greenery will be brighter; DRR's or the No. 22 Menard Penske? Y'all make the call!
Ed Carpenter Racing
#6) J.R. Hildebrand; USA
#20) Ed Carpenter; USA (Ovals Only)
Team Owner Ed Carpenter, the 2013-14 Indy 500 Pole winner and three-times IndyCar race victor really doesn't need any introduction, as he's simply continuing his unique Oval's Only racing programme - which Y'all can do when Yuhs own the team!
While it's hard to believe it was five years ago already - that "Captain America," nee J.R. Hildebrand made his rookie debut at Mother Speedway and came Oh, So tantalizingly Close to Immortality! Just one corner shy of winning the 95th Indianapolis 500, for which I swear I saw sparks flittering by on the front stretch that day!
As Hildebrand will be making his third consecutive outing for Ed Carpenter Racing who'll once again be sporting an All Americano driver line-up with team boss FAST EDDIE' (Carpenter) and Josef Newgarden rounding out Thy Triumberant - whilst J.R. makes his sixth Indy 500 race outing...
And now that we've apparently put Thy Dome Skid controversy behind us, we can continue on with Thy rapture of the remaining Mystery I500 Interlopers...
For the final remaining contestants, P27-30, see; R100: Getting Down toBrass Tacks for this year's Race (P27-30)
(Photo Courtesy of No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS)