We’ve all been personally victimized by the INDYCAR Silly Season. Big named drivers cut from teams. Fan favorites not having full-time rides. Oh and of course Roger Penske buying INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In trying to keep everything straight I’ve gone back to my first love of spreadsheets. It is much easier if you keep a running list of everything. For me, Silly Season is “what do we know”; “what have we learned”; and “what are we still waiting on”.
What Do We Know – the MASTER Spreadsheet!
|Josef Newgarden||Team Penske|
|Will Power||Team Penske|
|Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske|
|Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi|
|Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi|
|Felix Rosenqvist||Chip Ganassi|
|Alex Palou||Dale Coyne Racing|
|Conor Daly||ECR (Road & Street, & 500)|
|Colton Herta||Andretti (Harding)|
|Patricio O’Ward||Arrow McLaren SP|
|Oliver Askew||Arrow McLaren SP|
|Ben Hanley (at least GP St. Pete)||DragonSpeed Racing|
|Sage Karam||DRR Racing|
|Helio Castroneves||Penske (May)|
|James Davison||Byrd (500 Only)|
What Have We Learned
AJ Foyt Racing has been in money troubles this off-season. It clear early on that Matheius Leist would not be back for another season with the team. Tony Kanaan had a handshake deal with AJ for the following season. We waited. And we waited. ANNNNND we waited. Last week the team announced Charlie Kimball would be driving the #4 car the whole season. I like Charlie. As a person he is exceptionally nice. He is also extremely intelligent and is going to bring not only driving but some engineering prowess. Helpful to a team that admits they’ve had technical issues. Finally this past week it was announced that Tony Kanaan would be in the #14 in the 2020 season. It will be his last season in any full-time capacity, and he’ll only be driving the oval races. Seems like a unfitting final season for one of the truly big names in INDYCAR.
Santino Ferrucci has finally gotten everything signed. This was something also discussed way back at the end of the season. Following Sebastian Bourdais less than deserving boot from the team, Santino has stepped into the Vasser-Sullivan car on Dale Coyne Racing. Let me preface the next few statements by saying I’ve grown to enjoy Santino as a driver. Yes he had some baggage with him when he came into the serious and most were cautious about him. He has shown a much better attitude and skill this past season. I am excited to see his sophomore year. Now: if DCR cut Bourdais due to funding issues but yet Santino is in the car with the same partnership and main sponsor, what am I missing? I would most certainly call into question the reasoning DCR gave for cutting Bourdais. It doesn’t seem like a big funding issue “fell through” if the #18 is going to still be the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan sponsored by SealMaster. It’s a little but curious, actually it’s a lot bit curious. I’d like a more clear explanation of this, but I doubt I’ll ever get it.
Hooray Hinch has sponsorship for the INDYCAR GP and the Indy 500! Buuut we don’t know which team he’ll be driving for yet. It’s a really bad tease.
What are We Still Waiting On – and What Does It Mean
There are four big unknowns still waiting for resolution. First, is Juncos going to be attempting the 2020 INDYCAR season? Second, is Carlin going to be attempting the 2020 INDYCAR season? Logic would say that if Carlin would Max would be apart of the team for the non-oval races. Since Kimball moved to AJ Foyt Racing, perhaps Carlin will only enter one car similar to the shared ride at Ed Carpenter Racing. The cynic in me wants to point out that about two-ish months ago Trevor Carlin took to whining that bigger teams were putting too many entries into the field. Well Trevor you have yet to have any entry yet in 2020, so perhaps you reserve your judgement.
The third unknown and the fourth unknown were tied together up. Until February 2 when RACER broke the news that Honda is still holding one hell of a grudge and said “nope” to the Alonso/Andretti deal for May. The thought was both James Hinchcliffe and Fernando Alonso were in the running for the Andretti seat for May. Following the most recent news, I’d look for Hinch to get that Andretti 500 seat. Fernando has to look at Chevy teams. ECR has three cars all ready for the 500, would they add a third? Penske isn’t going to add another. Carlin hasn’t even announced one full-time car (plus I wouldn’t look for him to reup with that team following last year’s performance). AJ Foyt Racing? Fernando brings the funding for a 500 ride.
There is also wild rumors about the #4 car. Since TK is only going to be doing ovals, will that also become a shared ride? The internet seems to think Dalton Kellett will drive the car in non-oval races. He finished seventh overall in last year’s INDY Lights series.
With everything right now it shakes out to twenty-six full timeish entries for the season. Twenty-nine for the 500, which I’m going ahead and counting Fernando. It’s also nearly an even split between Honda and Chevy. This Silly Season isn’t over yet. We’re due for a few more grand announcements. Here’s hoping they’re made in enough time to recover before St. Petersburg. Maybe by February 10th and “spring training”, but probably not!
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