IndyCar chief Randy Bernard confident Indianapolis 500 grid will be full

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard remains confident that this year's Indianapolis 500 will have a full 33-car grid, despite reports that the series could struggle for numbers due to a shortage of cars and engines

IndyCar chief Randy Bernard confident Indianapolis 500 grid will be full

Sunday's race at Barber Motorsports Park has the same 26-car field that lined up for last weekend's season-opener in St Petersburg, but the Indianapolis Star reported yesterday that there were fears that not all of the remaining seven places in the Indy 500 field would be filled. Bernard said that he is confident that the Indy grid will be over-subscribed.

"We believe that there will be 33 cars at Indy," he said. "But at the same time, we have to be realists and really focus on how we have 33 cars. We want more than 33 cars. We're going to stay very focused on that and make sure that we have more than 33 - you need that for Bump Day."

At least four additional entries are already either confirmed or close to it, but question marks over several others - including the Michael Shank Racing entry and additional cars for the likes of Ed Carpenter Racing, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, HVM and Dreyer & Reinbold - remain unresolved.

Part of the problem is related to Lotus's scramble to fulfil its engine supply requirements due to its late arrival to the series. Bernard said that rivals Chevrolet and Honda were willing to fill the breach.

"Lotus came in here as the underdogs," Bernard said. "They came in here telling us that they were six to eight weeks behind, and I think it is important right now to continue supporting them and stay optimistic that they are going to get this figured out. I think they need more engines - that is the biggest concern, and they know that.

"I know for a fact that Honda and Chevy will be prepared to have up to 14 [engines in the race each]. That's 28, so that would give you 34 cars. Honda and Chevy want to make sure that they can properly support all their teams, and that's what they want to do - give their teams and owners the support that they need to."

Lotus is understood to have six engines confirmed for Indianapolis at this stage, including the five Lotus-powered entries that are in this weekend's field.

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