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RC Enerson plans to run Indy 500 with Abel Motorsports again in 2024

Written by Archie O’Reilly

RC Enerson plans to attempt to qualify for his second consecutive Indianapolis 500 with Abel Motorsports in May. If he then makes the race, it will mark Enerson’s second Indy 500 start and seventh IndyCar race.

The 26-year-old American, who will be 27 by the time the race rolls around, qualified in 28th-place for the Indy 500 in 2023 before a car issue saw him become the second retirement from the race. This was still valuable experience for Enerson, who had previously missed out on the race having been bumped from the field with Top Gun Racing in 2021. 

On top of the 27 full-time entries, there were already three confirmed Indy 500-only entries prior to Abel’s announcement. Working off the assumption that Dreyer & Reinbold Racing run two cars again, plus Marco Andretti features for Andretti Global, then any other additional entries two, confirmation of Enerson’s return likely confirms Bump Day will return.

"I'm really excited," Enerson told media assembled for IndyCar's content day. "We had so much fun last year, and I think we had a really good performance for a new team - my first time once we qualified in. It was a big learning curve, that's for sure. This year, the goal is to be more prepared, and now that we've done it, it's just doing it again."

Enerson spoke of the team's priority being simply making the field in 2023. "I don't think we ran in traffic a single lap up until after qualifying," he said. "We were dead set on trying to make it in, and we succeeded with that... It was amazing. The crew was amazing."

There will be more preparation time this year given they will have their car ready ahead of April's open test, which was not the case last season. "We would have been in a lot stronger spot had we made the open test," Enerson said. "We have double the amount this year to get ready, so we're just going to show up a lot more prepared."

Competing in his first Indy 500 race fed Enerson a number of challenges. Getting used to race running was one, and he thankfully now has some experience of the race under his belt, despite being forced to retire due to a car issue.

"The first time around, that's when you're the most nervous, that's when you're going to make the small mistakes," he said. "I talked to a couple of the drivers because I was like, 'I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing.' But they're like, 'No, you're doing the right things. It's just really difficult to pass.'"

Another challenge was the amount of tools at his disposal. "On a road course, we're used to just staying to roll bars," he said. "When you get on an oval, not only do you have anti-roll bars, you've got 20 weight-jacker clicks. It's a lot to take on. The first day running in traffic, I was more mentally exhausted in the one-hour practice session than I'd been all of it combined."

Away from the Indy 500, there has been some speculation about Abel possibly joining IndyCar full-time as soon as the 2025 season, adding to their Indy NXT programme. For now, the Indy 500 seems to be the "sole focus" for Enerson, who does driver coaching when not on track, in terms of his involvement with the team.

"I think it kind of all just depends," Enerson said on whether he would run extra races. "You look at funding. They also have a full Indy NXT program going on right now, so you don't want to interfere. The Indy 500 doesn't interfere with anything on the Indy NXT schedule. So I think that's what really opens that up. I think the goal would be to look past 2024."

DIVEBOMB asked Enerson whether he is targeting IndyCar full-time. "That's the goal," he said.

"The problem with trying to be full-time is you've got to plan it so far in advance. It's not like something you can do a month before the season starts. It's got to be in the works almost a year prior. The goal would be to run the 500 this year and then look forward to 2025."


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