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Six former winners headline Indianapolis 500 entry list

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 12 2014 09:40:43 AM CDT
Racing generic, winners flag

Caren Firouz/Reuters

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 on Sunday, May 25.

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 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.

Thirty-three drivers have been named to the entries filed this year. 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 ET 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.

Opening Day was scheduled for Sunday.

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.

Several drivers that have advanced through the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system also are assigned to cars, including three Indy Lights champions -- JR Hildebrand (2009), Josef Newgarden (2011) and Karam (2013). Other recent Indy Lights graduates on the entry list include Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, James Davison, Hawksworth, James Hinchcliffe, Charlie Kimball, Pippa Mann, Carlos Munoz, Plowman, Graham Rahal and Sebastian Saavedra.