Reigning champ Sato among nine winners entered for Indy 500

Defending champion Takuma Sato of Japan, seeking his third title in five seasons, was among nine former winners assigned to 35 cars named Wednesday as entries for the 105th Indianapolis 500.

Sato, the 2017 and 2020 winner of the IndyCar oval classic, attempts to become the first back-to-back Indy 500 champion since Brazil's Helio Castroneves in 2001 and 2002.

At 44, Sato also could become the first driver to win the Indy 500 three times after age 40 by taking the checkered flag on May 30 at the famed 2 1/2-mile (4km) Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit.

Three-time Indy winner Castroneves, trying to match the all-time record with a fourth triumph, was also entered, as were cars for Colombia's Juan Pablo Montoya, Australia's Will Power, New Zealand's Scott Dixon, Brazil's Tony Kanaan, France's Simon Pagenaud and Americans Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Dixon, 40, is chasing a seventh IndyCar season title to match A.J. Foyt's all-time record. He leads the current season standings by 153-131 over Mexico's Pato O'Ward.

Brazil's Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of two-time Indy 500 winner and former Formula One star Emerson Fittipaldi, is among three rookies entered along with American R.C. Enerson and New Zealand's Scott McLaughlin.

Swiss racer Simona De Silvestro, among 22 drivers entered who are from outside of the United States, will attempt to make her sixth Indy 500 start and her first since 2015.

Only 33 of the 35 cars will qualify for the race, which is expected to draw a crowd of 135,000 -- the largest for any US sporting event since the Covid-19 pandemic struck last year.

Practice begins Tuesday with qualifying on May 22-23.

Topics: Takuma Sato , Japan , 105th Indianapolis 500 , Auto , Indy , USA
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