Katherine Legge lands Indy 500 ride with Dale Coyne Racing – IndyStar

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After waiting 10 years between Indianapolis 500 starts before her 2023 return, Katherine Legge’s next May appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway came much quicker. The 43-year-old British driver will man Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 51 Honda in 2024, in an attempt to qualify for her fourth Indy 500, the team announced Tuesday.
The pink-and-black No. 51 Honda will be backed by primary sponsorship from e.l.f. Cosmetics, who is expanding its partnership with Legge and who DCR says will become the first-ever beauty brand to serve as a primary backer of an Indy 500 entry.
“I’m honored to be back at the 500 to represent such a groundbreaking and historic effort put forward by e.l.f.,” Legge said in a release. “e.l.f. is truly changing the face of motorsports by lifting women up and challenging norms.
“When I was 9 years old, I decided I wanted to be a race car driver, and I never would have dreamed a beauty brand would one day be my primary sponsor in the Indy 500. Together with DCR, Honda and e.l.f., we will truly empower women who are breaking barriers, pushing boundaries and testing the limits by giving them the confidence and a path towards realizing their dreams, whatever they may be.”
With the 500 field now at 34 confirmed entries, she’ll again have to qualify to make her way into the field. A year ago she was the only RLL car to avoid the Last Chance Qualifier by snagging a top-30 spot on Day 1 of qualifying (29th) but Legge’s race day was short-lived. She was the first car to bow out of the race after spinning in pitlane during a routine stop on Lap 32 and making light contact with the inside wall. After multiple stops shortly after while the team attempted to diagnose the issue, RLL eventually retired Legge’s No. 44 Honda after completing just 41 laps.
Legge’s best 500 finish came as a rookie in 2012, where she finished 22nd. In three 500 appearances, she’s never qualified better than 29th. This ride with DCR marks a homecoming for Legge, who previously drove for Coyne in the second season of a two-year stint in Champ Car in 2007.
“We’re pleased to welcome Katherine back to our team after all these years,” team owner Dale Coyne said in a release. “She’s had a good career since she first drove for us in 2007, and we can’t wait to start working with her again for this year’s Indianapolis 500.
“We’re also excited to be part of this historic partnership with e.l.f. at the Indy 500. We look forward to working with them and making them proud in May.”
Under a week before her return to the 500 in 2023, Legge sailed into the back of Stefan Wilson’s No. 24 Chevy during practice on Monday of race week as the pair entered Turn 1 with just under an hour left in the session. Legge said afterwards she was surprised by the lengthy line of single-file cars that had appeared to have checked up, and she attempted to lay off the throttle, down-shift and then slam on the brakes, but it wasn’t enough to avoid Wilson, whose Dreyer and Reinbold Racing machine rotated clockwise and then nailed the outer SAFER barrier head-on.
Wilson was immediately transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fracture of his 12th thoracic vertebrae — sidelining him from the race. After the crash, Legge was able to climb out of her car under her own power and was seen and released from the infield care center.
‘I’m counting down the days’: Stefan Wilson hoping for Indy 500 return
The addition of Legge to this year’s Indy 500 field makes for 34 confirmed car-and-driver pairings and caps the 27 among the full-season contingent. She’ll team up with 500 and series rookie Nolan Siegel, who is splitting the season in Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 18 Honda with Jack Harvey, as the former makes three IndyCar starts while running an Indy NXT campaign as well.
The 500 field is expected to reach 35 cars by next month, waiting on Abel Motorsports’ driver decision for its No. 50 entry. The incumbent, RC Enerson, made an appearance at IndyCar’s Content Days in January and said he and the team were nearing a deal but had not yet reached the finish line. Nearly three months later, the sides have yet to confirm their plans for the 108th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. It’s understood that Enerson and his backers have been searching for a primary sponsor to help fund and formalize the pairing, while Abel Motorsports has spoken with other drivers in order to have contingency plans in place, should Enerson be unable to land proper funding.
The Enersons own the Dallara chassis that the driver drove to 32nd after qualifying 28th. He bowed out 75 laps in due to a mechanical failure. This offseason, Abel Motorsports ordered a brand-new chassis in order to keep their options open, should they opt to field someone other than Enerson this May. Those without a ride that have been eyeing opportunities for next month include Wilson, Charlie Kimball, Devlin DeFrancesco and Benjamin Pedersen, among others.

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