The final current vacancy on the 2023 Indianapolis 500 grid has been filled by 2014 event winner and 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has signed the 42-year-old American to join Stefan Wilson, who it is co-entering with Cusick Motorsport.
It will be Hunter-Reay’s first IndyCar appearance since his final season with Andretti Autosport in 2021. He spent last year with the Ganassi-run Cadillac IMSA SportsCar Championship programme, contesting the longer-distance races.
Aside from entering the Indianapolis road course rounds in 2020, Dreyer & Reinbold has concentrated solely on the Indy 500 since 2012. But it’s been a top-10 finisher against its full-time opposition in the last two seasons – taking seventh with Sage Karam in 2021 and 10th with Santino Ferrucci last year.
The second Dreyer & Reinbold seat was the final open space in what’s currently a 33-car entry, the event’s traditional grid size. That means there will again be no ‘bumping’ from the field in qualifying unless additional entrants appear. The most likely candidate for that would be if AJ Foyt Racing brings out its third car to join full-season drivers Ferrucci and Benjamin Pedersen.
Alongside the Dreyer & Reinbold pair, this year’s other additional entries for the Indy 500 are Marco Andretti in a fifth Andretti Autosport car, Tony Kanaan making his final Indy 500 appearance with Arrow McLaren’s fourth entry, Ed Carpenter for his own team and Katherine Legge returning to IndyCar after a 10-year absence with Rahal Letterman Lanigan.
Hunter-Reay was in contention for that Rahal seat as well, but was also waiting to see what transpired with Ganassi’s plans amid uncertainty over whether Jimmie Johnson would still contest the Indy 500 despite ending his IndyCar project.
The Race IndyCar Podcast co-host JR Hildebrand was another candidate for the Dreyer & Reinbold seat. He would be a contender for the third Foyt car if the team decides to enter it, but is otherwise set to end a run of Indy 500 starts that began with his near-victory (and heartbreaking last-corner crash) as a rookie in 2011.
2023 Indy 500 grid
(33 cars, 17 Honda, 16 Chevrolet)
AJ Foyt Racing: Santino Ferrucci, Benjamin Pedersen
Andretti Autosport: Marco Andretti, Devlin DeFrancesco, Romain Grosjean, Colton Herta, Kyle Kirkwood
Arrow McLaren: Tony Kanaan, Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Alexander Rossi
Chip Ganassi Racing: Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Alex Palou, Takuma Sato
Dale Coyne Racing: David Malukas, Sting Ray Robb
Dreyer & Reinbold: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Stefan Wilson
Ed Carpenter Racing: Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly, Rinus VeeKay
Juncos Hollinger Racing: Agustin Canapino, Callum Ilott
Meyer Shank Racing: Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Jack Harvey, Katherine Legge, Christian Lundgaard, Graham Rahal
Team Penske: Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden, Will Power