Marco Andretti returns for another one-off Indy 500 ride with Andretti Autosport

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Entering his third racing season since scaling back his schedule, Marco Andretti will return to his No. 98 Honda seat at Andretti Autosport for another shot at his first Indianapolis 500 victory.

Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian driver Marco Andretti (98) puts in his hearing protection Saturday, May 21, 2022, during the first day of qualifying for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian driver Marco Andretti (98) puts in his hearing protection Saturday, May 21, 2022, during the first day of qualifying for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The team announced the news Monday morning, pushing its lineup for the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing to five: Andretti, Colton Herta, Romain Grosjean, Kyle Kirkwood and Devlin DeFrancesco. KULR Technology Group will also return as the primary sponsor on Andretti's No. 98 car after first joining for last year's 500, which marked the veteran driver's 250th IndyCar start.

This May will mark Andretti's 18th start in the 500, where he's registered four top-3 finishes -- but none since 2014. Outside his remarkable run to pole in 2020, the 35-year-old has largely struggled in the last five years, a run with his best result a 12th in 2018. Along with the bulk of the Andretti Autosport crew, he struggled in qualifying a year ago, starting 23rd and managed to climb up to 22nd by the checkered flag as the last car on the lead lap.

With nearly 20 starts, a win for Andretti -- which would just be his famous racing family's 2nd, alongside Mario's sole win in 1969 -- would shatter the record for the most starts from a driver before their first victory at the 500, a mark that currently stands at 13 (Sam Hanks, 1957).

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Where does this leave the 2023 Indy 500 field?

Though a couple drivers have yet to be unveiled, 26 full-time entries have been announced for the 2023 IndyCar season, not including an additional Honda entry that seems inevitable, giving Chip Ganassi Racing four full-timers or Dale Coyne Racing three. With Arrow McLaren SP's announced intention to run a fourth car, Andretti's No. 98 gives the 2023 500 field 29 cars at the moment, with the presumed return of Ed Carpenter to the field in a part-time entry bumping the field to 30.

Add in Beth Paretta and Simona De Silvestro's hopeful return to the field, one car (at least) from Dreyer and Reinbold Racing and a likely chance of CGR or DCR adding an additional car to the field (for whomever doesn't land Honda's final full-time ride), and the field of 33 is filling fast more than 200 days away from May 28.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indy 500: Marco Andretti returning in 2023 for another one-off ride