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Seven former winners among 33 Indy 500 entries

© GETTY/AFP/File | Alexander Rossi took a shock win in 2016 as a rookie, the first Indy 500 newcomer to see the checkered flag since 2001


Defending champion Alexander Rossi and three-time winner Helio Castroneves are among seven former winners named Sunday as drivers of the 33 cars entered for the 101st Indianapolis 500.

The IndyCar namesake classic, 200 laps around the 2.5-mile (4km) Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, will be staged May 28 with qualifying next weekend.

US racer Rossi took a shock win last year as a rookie, the first Indy 500 newcomer to see the checkered flag since Brazil's Castroneves won his first crown in 2001 and Colombia's Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2015 winner, took his first Indy 500 win in 2000.

Other past champions entered in cars this year include Americans Buddy Lazier (1996) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014), New Zealand's Scott Dixon (2008) and Brazil's Tony Kanaan (2013).

Castroneves, whose other triumphs came in 2002 and 2009, will try to become only the fourth four-time Indy 500 winner, joining US legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Snr and Rick Mears.

In all, 19 winners of IndyCar events are entered, including defending series champion and season points leader Simon Pagenaud, a Frenchman who carries a 10-point lead over Dixon into the race, and Australia's Will Power, who won his 30th IndyCar title at Saturday's Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the track's road course.

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso of Spain is among four rookies entered this year, joined by Britain's Jack Harvey, American Zach Veach and Ed Jones of the United Arab Emirates.

Alonso completed his rookie orientation program at the speedway earlier this month while the others will begin their training sessions ahead of Monday's opening practice.

There are 18 Honda-powered entries and 15 with Chevrolet engines.

Among the other drivers linked to cars Sunday were Britain's Max Chilton, Jay Howard and Pippa Mann and Japan's Takuma Sato.

© 2017 AFP