Welcome to RIS's 2019 Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS -RIS- (May 14, 2019)  Welcome to Racing Information Service's coverage of the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. RIS on-site coverage of Indy began over thirty years ago, and remains the longest-running online news source for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

That said, this is a new year. The Indianapolis 500 - the crown jewel of the NTT IndyCar Series - is the first oval on the 2019 schedule. With a field containing a number of talented rookies with virtually no oval experience, today's practice session will start to shuffle the cards.

There are currently 36 car/driver combinations to fill 33 positions on the Race Day grid. The most-recent addition today is ten-time Indy 500 veteran Oriol Servia, running the Team Strange Dallara Honda in cooperation with Arrow/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Servia's addition is likely to be the last, as both engine manuafacturers (Honda and Chevrolet) are likely maxxed out for Indy.

Practice begins at 11 a.m. local time. Open practice ends at 1 p.m. for Rookie Orientation and Veteran Refresher runs. Twenty-nine car/driver combinations are expected on-track today.

Keen-eyed readers will note that former series sponsor, Verizon, has pulled back following the conclusion of their contract, and remain on the race cars of the organization that brought them to IndyCar, Team Penske. The new series sponsor, NTT, comes via Chip Ganassi Racing. NTT is a global information services and networking service.

The Indianapolis 500 presenting sponsor is Gainbridge, "an online financial services platform providing straightforward access to tax-deferred accumulation and income products". Gainbridge signed a multi-year deal with INDYCAR and the Indianapolis 500 in January.

There have been five races thus far this season, with five different winners:

St. Petersburg   10-Mar   Josef Newgarden Will Power
Circuit of the Americas 24-Mar   Colton Herta   Will Power
Barber Mtrsprts Park   7-Apr   Takuma Sato   Takuma Sato
Long Beach   14-Apr   Alexander Rossi Alexander Rossi
GP of Indianapolis   11-May   Simon Pagenaud Feliz Rosenqvist

Points leaders are Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Rossi. Pagenaud, Sato. Dixon's teammate at Ganassi, Swedish Formula 3 ace Felix Rosenqvist, is the top rookie, currently 11th in points.

Stay tuned through the week for news and photos from practice and qualifying before the annual running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26th.

Tom Beeler

Tom has been a contributor to RIS since 1992. He was invited to join the staff as a full-time reporter/editor in 1995, and has covered IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, Grand-Am, ALMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to his RIS work, Tom has been a contributor for General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and the ACO.

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Volume 2019, Issue 5, Posted 11:18 AM, 05.14.2019