It’s been one of those past months where every time you think things have calmed down – something else is announced. INDYCAR fans have an off-season where the silly season bubbles up a bit in October/November and then some more in January. This season it feels like it never calmed down! We had a huge change in a new team, a team’s sophomore year looking like it will be spotty, and a hometown driver finally getting a solid INDY 500 ride.
The news that had everyone turned upside down was the split between Harding Steinbrenner Racing and Patricio O’Ward. I was so excited about this team (you can read my write up HERE), and now it seems like skeletons are coming out of Mike Harding’s closet. The details are still under wraps, as they even had O’Ward sign a non-disclosure to release him from their contract. It appears as if HSR did not have the funds for a full season for Patricio. If you’ll recall, O’Ward has the Indy Lights scholarship, which guarantees the Indianapolis 500 and two other races. It’s interesting they came up short on funding, given that the 500 is going to be your cost heavy race. O’Ward formally split with the team and with under a month to the season opener, is looking for a full season ride.
Some things seem a bit sketchy in this situation. There is the issue that Honda couldn’t lease the team enough engines for a 2-car full season. There are rumors that Steinbrenner is not putting any more money into the team. Around the time of O’Ward splitting, there was the technical partnership with Andretti Autosport announced. Apparently, Michael Andretti offered an eight-race deal to O’Ward who has not yet accepted it.
The lesson from this – get everything in writing kids. Handshakes aren’t worth anything, and always have an agreement memorialized in writing. This issue is far from over, and quite honestly I’m going to be sitting back and watching the tea get spilled.
Then there is Carlin Racing (the initial write up is HERE). It was finally announced that Charlie Kimball would only have a partial season with the team. He’ll be racing at St. Petersburg; the Indianapolis 500; DXC 600 at Texas Motor Speedway; Pocono; and Laguna Seca. While an additional driver has yet to be announced, RC Enerson did test for the team at Circuit of the Americas. Enerson has had some open-wheel experience, and his sponsor for COTA has indicated they’re exploring the ideas of a few races. His sponsor, by the way, has called to as a “wellness company” and it’s all CBD oil products.
Another big piece of news for Carlin is that they are the technical partners for McLaren’s Indianapolis 500 attempt this year.
Finally – Conor Daly is going to have great equipment and great teammates for the 500 this year. He’ll be driving the #25 for Andretti Autosport, completing their “All American Line Up” (which we are all taking to mean they will not field a sixth car for the 500). This is great news for Conor, it will be good to see how he can do with excellent equipment. There was also some hinting that a few other races would be in the cards (perhaps a few of those eight races that were offered to Pato).
We’re just weeks away from the season starting, and things don’t seem to be slowing down as far as news. I’ve not even touched on all the Road to Indy announcements that have been made. It’s going to be a season of excitement.
If you want to receive emails only on Monday letting you know what blogs have been posted – sign up to the mailing list: http://eepurl.com/dOoc9n
Also, I guarantee you we’ll be talking this during episodes of our podcast. You can subscribe by visiting our subscribe page: www.fastcarsfastgirls.com/subscribe