Four More Enter Indy 500

It’s going to be a busy seven days at the Indy Racing Northern Light Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway offices.

With less than a full week to go before the deadline for Indianapolis 500 entries, four more drivers and teams officially entered the race late Wednesday and Thursday. Twenty-one driver-car combinations are now entered, and four unassigned cars have been entered.

Sam Hornish Jr., Robby McGehee and rookie Cory Witherill were Wednesday’s additions. Jeff Ward was entered Thursday.

Hornish, who will attempt to make his second Indianapolis 500, is the currently IRNLS points leader after winning the season-opener at Phoenix International Raceway on March 18. He will drive Pennzoil Panther Racing’s No. 4 Dallara-Aurora. An identical backup car was also entered for Hornish.

Last year, Hornish finished 24th in a PDM Racing car. Hornish, 21, is from Defiance, Ohio.

As a team, Panther also will assist Team Green with their entry for CART FedEx Championship Series driver Michael Andretti.

McGehee, the 1999 Indianapolis rookie of the year, also was entered Wednesday. He’ll drive the No. 10 Dallara-Aurora for Cahill Racing. McGehee, of St. Louis, will be Jack Miller’s teammate, who is driving Cahill’s No. 11.

McGehee, who placed eighth at Phoenix, finished fifth in the Indianapolis 500 in 1999, when he won the rookie award. He finished 21st last year, and he’ll be attempting to better that this year in his third Indy 500. McGehee also had a backup car assigned to him.

Witherill was Wednesday’s third entry. He will drive the No. 16 G Force-Aurora for Indy Regency Racing. The team has no backup car for Witherill.

Witherill, a rookie, will be required to take part in the Rookie Orientation Program on April 13 and 14 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before he is allowed to attempt to qualify for the race.

Witherill, of Santa Monica, Calif., is one of the only Native American race car drivers participating in open-wheel racing. He is a graduate of the Dayton Indy Lights Series.

Ward was entered as the driver of Heritage Motorsports' No. 35 G Force-Aurora on Thursday. He is the 1997 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year.

In four Indy 500 starts, Ward has finished third in 1997, 13th in 1998, second in 1999 and fourth in 2000.

Ward, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., finished seventh at Phoenix.

As of April 5, drivers who not yet entered the Indianapolis 500 include defending IRNLS champion and 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr., 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. and rookie Casey Mears, nephew of four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears.

Indianapolis 500 entry invitations were mailed March 1. They must be postmarked by April 11.

The 85th running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for noon Eastern on May 27. Pole Day qualifying is May 12.

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