Stands Will Be Full for the 100th Indy 500, But Will the Starting Grid?

IndyCar may struggle to field a full grid of 33 cars despite the history being made.

bySteve Cole Smith| PUBLISHED May 9, 2016 12:14 PM
Stands Will Be Full for the 100th Indy 500, But Will the Starting Grid?

The grandstand seats for the 2016 Indianapolis 500 are sold out, according to the track, for the first time in 20 years. While general admission tickets are still available in the IMS infield, the massive grandstands around the 107-year-old 2.5-mile oval, as well as all hospitality suites, will be completely filled.

“Every Indianapolis 500 is special, but the buzz surrounding the 100th running has been building for nearly a year, ever since the checkered flag fell on the 99th,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “Our fans are the best in sports and their incredible support of this year’s race will make it a truly historic day for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’”

Good news for the track and for IndyCar, but the anticipated flood of entries to be part of the historic race just isn’t happening. We may be looking at a full field of 33 cars, but just barely – it has been a long time since there was much excitement on “Bump Day,” when the field is narrowed to 33, and this year doesn’t appear to be much different.

According to Racer magazine, now that IMSA race team owner Michael Shank has curtailed his efforts to enter a car in the Indy 500, and team owner Gary Peterson and driver Sebastian Saavedra have given up on entering a car, it leaves 33 cars on Racer’s list of probables, but two of those entries remain tentative. A 34th possible entry is the Grace Autosport effort – there has been little formal news about that car, but we hear it’s on schedule.

If any of the entries are crashed beyond repair during practice and qualifying, we could still be looking at a short field, but IndyCar and the Speedway have a way of filling out the grid at the last minute, and it would be embarrassing to have fewer than 33 cars start the 100th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.