Six former winners, including two-time winners Arie Luyendyk and Al Unser Jr. and defending champion Helio Castroneves, lead the entry list for the 86th Indianapolis 500. Forty-six entries totalling 89 cars were officially filed for the Indy Racing League event, which starts at noon (EDT) Sunday, May 26. The race will be telecast live on ABC.

Thirty-seven drivers were named on the 46 entries. Drivers will compete for one of 33 starting spots in the world's most prestigious auto race at the legendary 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Other former Indianapolis 500 champions named to entries besides Luyendyk (1990, 1997), Unser (1992, 1994) and Castroneves (2001) are Buddy Lazier (1996), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998) and Kenny Brack (1999). Brack returns to the race for the first time since his victory in 1999. Castroneves also is the first champion to defend his race victory since Cheever in 1999.

The field also includes four Indy Racing League champions: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Brack (1998), Lazier (2000) and Sam Hornish Jr. (2001).

"The 86th Indianapolis 500 should be one of the most competitive in history with an extremely tight field," said Brian Barnhart, Indy Racing League vice president of operations. "The depth and quality of teams are unmatched in open-wheel racing, and the driver line-up is outstanding. The month of May will be exciting."

Two top open-wheel teams, Team Rahal and Team Green, will return to the Speedway for the first time since 1995.

Veteran Jimmy Vasser will drive for Team Rahal, owned by 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal. Team Green has fielded separate entries for veterans Michael Andretti and Paul Tracy and rookie Dario Franchitti.

Other teams fielding three entries include Indy Racing League standouts A.J. Foyt Racing, with drivers Eliseo Salazar, Airton Dare and a driver to be announced; Red Bull Cheever Racing, with drivers Cheever, rookie Tomas Scheckter and a driver to be announced; Kelley Racing, with drivers Unser, 2001 MBNA Pole winner Sharp and a driver to be announced; and Chip Ganassi Racing, with full-time Indy Racing League team driver Jeff Ward and CART standouts Brack and Bruno Junqueira.

Other notable drivers in the field include former Formula One standout Johnny Herbert, who plans to make his Indy Racing and oval-racing debut in an entry fielded by Beck Motorsports. Keith Duesenberg, a member of the legendary Duesenberg family that built winning cars for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing during the 1920s, is part of the ownership group of the team.

Rookie George Mack, named to drive one of two 310 Racing entries, could become the second African-American to compete in the race. Willy T. Ribbs was the first, making starts in 1991 and 1993.

Another interesting story for the event will be veteran Robby Gordon's attempt to complete the "daily double" of racing in the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR Winston Cup Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, N.C., on the same day. Gordon's full-time Winston Cup owner, the legendary Richard Childress, also is involved in his Indianapolis 500 entry fielded by Team Menard.

Gordon is one of three drivers to complete the Indy-Charlotte double along with John Andretti and Tony Stewart. But only Andretti and Stewart have competed in both races on the same day, as Gordon's attempts to complete the double on the same day were foiled by weather delays at Indy in 1997 and 2000.

Eleven Indianapolis 500 rookies were named to entries, and one of those rookies could make Indy history. Rookies Juan Montoya and Castroneves won the last two Indianapolis 500-Mile Races, respectively, to tie a record. A rookie never has won this race three consecutive years since the inaugural event in 1911.

Opening Day for the 86th Indianapolis 500 is Sunday, May 5. Practice continues daily through May 10, with MBNA Pole Day qualifications on Saturday, May 11. Second-day qualifications take place on Sunday, May 12.

There will be no track activity May 13-14, but practice will resume Wednesday, May 15 and continue through Saturday, May 18. Bump Day, the final day of qualifications, is scheduled for Sunday, May 19.