34th Indy 500 entry guarantees Bump Day return

2023's Indianapolis 500 will feature the return of 'Bump Day' as Abel Motorsports will take the entry list to 34 cars, with RC Enerson to drive for the team.

RC Enerson, Abel Motorsport Chevrolet

Traditionally, just 33 cars start the Indianapolis 500, with any extra entries having to go through Bump Day during the qualifying weekend to bag a place on the starting grid. The last time this happened was in 2021.

Abel will be on the back foot since all its rivals took part in Friday's open test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with day two cancelled due to bad weather.

Abel is expected to turn its first laps at the Speedway on 16 May, when practice for the Indy 500 begins, and Enerson will be allowed to run his Refresher course which comprises 15 laps at 210-215mph and 15 laps at 215mph plus.

Other Indy 500 one-off entries for this year’s event include 2020 polesitter Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport), 2013 winner Tony Kanaan (Arrow McLaren) and Katherine Legge (Rahal Letterman Lanigan).

Three-time winner Ed Carpenter runs the 500 as part of his team’s oval-only third program.

The Louisville, KY-founded Abel Motorsports, which has a race shop less than a mile from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has run in USF2000, USF Pro 2000 (at that time called Indy Pro 2000) and Indy NXT (formerly Indy Lights).

This is Abel’s first foray into IndyCar, and has elected to run Enerson, who finished fourth in the 2015 Indy Lights championship, and who impressed in three IndyCar starts with Dale Coyne Racing and one with Carlin.

RC Enerson, Top Gun Racing Chevrolet

RC Enerson, Top Gun Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

He attempted to qualify for the 2021 Indy 500 with Top Gun Racing, but in the Bump Day shootout, he and AJ Foyt Racing’s Charlie Kimball lost out to Sage Karam of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Will Power of Team Penske, and Simona De Silvestro of Paretta Autosport.

“We’ve always envisioned the opportunity to enhance our position in the business world by leveraging the unique intersection that racing has with our brand,” said Bill Abel, CEO of ABEL Construction Company.

“I can’t think of a better way of bringing that to life with our many customers, partners and associates than showcasing what we can do right here at 16th & Georgetown in Speedway. I’m just so thankful for this opportunity.”

Abel Motorsports is comprised of veteran IndyCar Series engineers and crew, that began preparing the entry for Enerson in early January.

“It’s going to be a thrill watching RC pilot the #50 Chevy around the Speedway and we believe it sets a very positive tone of what’s to come for Abel Motorsports in the future,” said John Brunner, team manager.

“As has been speculated, we are evaluating a full-time entry for the 2024 IndyCar season and our group is committed to building the foundation needed for sustainable long-term success in motorsports.

"A huge thanks to IndyCar and Chevrolet for their efforts in making this happen."

Enerson, a 26-year-old Floridian who is chief driving instructor for the Lucas Oil School of Racing, said: “I can't thank Bill and John enough for this opportunity to be back at the 500.

"In the works for many months, the Abel Motorsports crew is top-notch and loaded with experience well beyond my years.

“I’m honoured to carry the banner for the organisation during the Month of May and while it’s going to be a few more weeks until we go on-track, I expect we’ll be up to speed quickly at the Speedway. I’m just so looking forward to climbing behind the wheel of an IndyCar Series machine at IMS once again. So cool!"

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