Series opener attracts 26-car field

Nine former Champ Car entries will be on the 26-car grid for the first round of the merged IRL IndyCar Series at Homestead next weekend

HVM Racing have confirmed that former GP2 driver Ernesto Viso will race their single-car entry, and Keith Wiggins' squad will be joined in the field by two-car teams from fellow Champ Car converts Newman/Haas/Lanigan, KV Racing, Conquest Racing and Dale Coyne Racing.

They will share the grid with 15 existing IndyCar Series regulars, plus former occasional entrants Roth Racing, who are expanding to a full-time two-car programme for team owner Marty Roth and former Indy Pro Series champion Jay Howard.

The Homestead entry is the largest for an American open-wheel season-opener since Champ Car attracted 28 cars to its first round in 2001. That season's IRL opener at Phoenix boasted a 27-car field.

Last year Champ Car could only field 17 cars per race, while the IndyCar Series saw 18 cars at most rounds except Indianapolis.

Additional part-time entries are set to boost the field at several IndyCar events. Sarah Fisher is to run a partial season with her own newly-formed team, and Tomas Scheckter will compete in three rounds with the Penske-affiliated Luczo Dragon Racing.

Of the remaining former Champ Car teams, Forsythe Racing will only compete at Long Beach, while Walker Racing still intend to race in the IRL if they can find sufficient sponsorship after parting with former team co-owner Craig Gore.

Rocketsports and Pacific Coast Motorsports have not confirmed their plans yet, although PCM had originally hoped to put together a two-car IndyCar programme if possible.

Homestead entry list:

No  Driver             Team
 2  AJ Foyt IV         Vision Racing
 3  Helio Castroneves  Team Penske
 4  Vitor Meira        Panther Racing
 5  Oriol Servia       KV Racing Technology
 6  Ryan Briscoe       Team Penske
 7  Danica Patrick     Andretti Green Racing
 8  Will Power         KV Racing Technology
 9  Scott Dixon        Chip Ganassi Racing
10  Dan Wheldon        Chip Ganassi Racing
11  Tony Kanaan        Andretti Green Racing
14  Darren Manning     AJ Foyt Racing
15  Buddy Rice         Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
17  Ryan Hunter-Reay   Rahal Letterman Racing
18  Bruno Junqueira    Dale Coyne Racing
19  Mario Moraes       Dale Coyne Racing
20  Ed Carpenter       Vision Racing
23  Milka Duno         Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
24  Jay Howard         Roth Racing
25  Marty Roth         Roth Racing
26  Marco Andretti     Andretti Green Racing
27  Hideki Mutoh       Andretti Green Racing
33  Ernesto Viso       HVM Racing
34  Franck Perera      Conquest Racing
36  Enrique Bernoldi   Conquest Racing
02  Justin Wilson      Newman Haas Lanigan Racing
06  Graham Rahal       Newman Haas Lanigan Racing

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