The 2020/2021 Silly Season started before the checkered flag dropped on the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. It started back with announcement that Zach Veach would no longer be driving for Andretti Autosport. However, tradition calls for me to not even start worrying about the Silly Season until the season is over. For those of you who are still new to INDYCAR, the Silly Season is the time when seats (aka cars) open up and there’s somewhat of a reshuffling of drivers. New drivers get added and older drivers leave. Since we’re starting a new Silly Season, and it all ready is proving to be one of surprises, I’d thought I’d give a primer on how I keep everything safe.
Step 1: What Did 2020 Look Like
It’s time to bust out the spreadsheet skills. Nothing fancy, a listing of teams, drivers, if their full or part time, and any notes for myself. No better place to start then how the series looked before it ended. I’m leaving out any moves I know that have happened, it is a clean and blank slate.
Step 2: What Seats are Open
Anything that’s not confirmed, or teams that have one-year contracts are removed. A firm rule I have is that unless it’s confirmed by the team and driver: it hasn’t happened. These now open seats are highlighted in yellow. They’re the golden tickets for the drivers who find themselves without a ride. You’ll see I also move who was in the car over to the note section. Now again the caveat is that a lot of actions have all ready happened so there appears to be more open spots then there are. This is just for demonstrative purposes.
Step 3: What Happened
Having a weekly podcast (have you subscribed you can do so here) helps remind me to update this at least weekly. A new list is made and changes based upon the news are made. Those changes are highlighted in whatever color struck my fancy. This year it was a bright blue.
Step 4: Start Guessing
AJ Foyt still hasn’t indicated who would be driving the #4 car. Charlie Kimball gave them a great season, and he has strong ties with his sponsors. I would not be surprised if he kept that ride.
Zach Veach’s former seat at Andretti Autosport is one of the big seats up for grabs. Ryan Hunter-Reay’s seat may be up for grabs, though the rumor is that DHL will come through as his sponsor. Two names I could easily see for Veach’s ride would be: James Hinchcliffe (who drove that car in the final three races) or Conor Daly (who enjoyed great success with Andretti Autosport during the 500 in 2019). It remains to be seen who drives for Dale Coyne Racing, he is a big fan of one-year contracts. I could see Santino Ferrucci coming back, but it is 2020. Also is Conor going to split duties between teams? We know Max will not drive any of the oval races.