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    Default IndyCars - The off-season: Series news and comment until the March 2014 kick-off...

    ***

    For the faithful, it's a long wait until March, but series news will be reported here 'til then, and let's start with the next race - TOMORROW!



    No, it's not the big cars. It's GO-KARTS!!




    Most of the drivers in IndyCar started out in karts. Many of them STAY SHARP on open-wheel by karting, still. Not the kind at Disneyland, these are very simple but very fast and serious open-wheel racers, capable of over 160 MPH in the superkart class.

    Tomorrow, the 26th, New Castle Speedway, in Indiana, will host the inaugural Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge, benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association. The event will feature 12 corporate-sponsored teams in a two-hour race at 12:30 p.m.




    AMONG the drivers will be IndyCar stars:

    James Hinchcliffe
    JR Hildebrand
    Ed Carpenter
    Simon Pagenaud
    Josef Newgarden
    Tristan Vautier
    Sebastian Saavedra
    Alex Tagliani
    Conor Daly
    Bryan Herta
    Jay Howard
    Sage Karam
    Gabby Chaves
    Zach Veach
    Marino Franchitti (substituting for Dario Franchitti)

    There is no admission charge. An autograph session begins at 11:45 a.m. - This is a chance to meet your favorite driver in a relaxed setting. GO!!!

    On Sunday, the 27th, most of the same drivers will be joined at New Castle by Will Power, Simona De Silvestro, Stefan Wilson and James Davison to run the tenth annual RoboPong 200, an endurance karting event that Wheldon won in 2005, the same year he captured his first Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series championship. That race, also free, begins at noon.


    As I stated, most of the current series drivers got their start in karts. Karts - as small as they are - have many of the traits of the highest-performing open-wheel cars. This is a picture of a current driver in their first open-wheel ride, at 6 years old:



    Who is this future IndyCar star?

    answer here:http://forums.hannity.com/showthread...#post103242390




    M
    Last edited by MarkyS; October 28th, 2013 at 8:58 pm.
    "WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012

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    Wheldon won the big event at Mark Dismore's track in 2005. Another Legend of the Brickyard won the 2006 race, during his sabbatical from big-league racing.
    Ashamed to be an American.

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    ***

    Here's a nice overhead view of Dismore's New Castle Speedway. Looks CHALLENGING!



    And here is "Diz'' with former winners Josef Newgarden....



    ...and Ed Carpenter




    Here's Simon Pagenaud and Will Power talking serious strategy a couple years back. Dang! It's supposed to be fun, guys! (racers ALWAYS race seriously.)




    M
    Last edited by MarkyS; March 26th, 2014 at 5:08 am.
    "WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012

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    ***

    Winners!


    The inaugural Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge was won by Big Machine Records' Marino Franchitti and Machine of Awesome's Ed Carpenter. Franchitti was originally penalized for cutting the course, but was later awarded the win, though Carpenter was given the win initially. The powers that be decided to call it a tie, but Ed graciously conceded he was 2nd place.



    That's Ed standing in the front in the green and white fire suit, next to Susie Wheldon and her kids. On the very top with sunglasses and bald head is Marino Franchitti, who drove for his brother, injured driver Dario Franchitti. With them are their co-drivers on the four-driver teams.

    RoboPong200

    Your winners of the 10th annual RoBoPong 200 endurance race held on Sunday were Mark Dismore, Jr. and Josef NewGarden, both repeat winners for years past:


    Much money was raised by both events and much fun was had by all.




    M
    "WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012

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    Quiz answer - Simona de Silvestro

    The Swiss Missile started her career at six years old, driving karts in Italy, as all racing was - and remains - banned in Switzerland. Here she is on Sunday getting ready to run the RoBoPong 200 at New Castle Speedway with co-driver Hanna Zeller. They started the day in 39th place and finished in 8th, winning the Chastain Motorsports Hard Charger Award.




    M
    "WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012

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    ***

    The Silly Season, as of the end of October

    To the uninitiated, the Silly Season is the period between actual racing seasons when all the teams and all the drivers decide who gets a new contract to drive, who gets their contract renewed and who gets to look for a job diving taxi cabs instead of IndyCars. It can be a real nail-biter for a driver looking for a decent ride next year.


    Confirmed, thus far:



    Scott Dixon driving for Target Chip Ganassi


    The series' latest champion was already a shoo-in to stay with Ganassi. Adding the luster of another crown to Chip's mantle just confirms the New Zealander's worth.

    Charlie Kimball driving for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi


    As the only diabetic driver in the field, Kimball has had a great relationship for years with insulin flex-pen maker Novo Nordisk but Ganassi also loves the California kid, who had an outstanding season, with his first win included.

    Tony Kanaan driving for Chip Ganassi


    The Brazilian just announced his move to Ganassi at the Houston race, then went out and put himself on the podium at Fontana, just to make Chip look smart. No sponsorship yet announced.

    UPDATE: Ganassi has announced that Kanaan will drive the #8 machine with sponsorship from NTT Data, an IT firm, and from TNT Sports Drink, a Brazilian firm that has sponsored Kanaan in the past during forays to Sao Paulo for the annual race.

    UPDATE on the UPDATE:
    Tony is moved from the #8 NTT Data car to the #10 Target car, to replace retiring Dario Franchitti.


    Will Power driving for Penske Racing


    Power remains with Penske and with Verizon, and all three are going to stay together until Power can finally haul in a series championship. The Australian's recent prowess on ovals bodes well for that prospect in 2014.

    Helio Castroneves driving for Penske Racing


    Like Power, Castroneves - as accomplished as he is - is still looking for a series championship too, but he is a bit older. How many more good years does the Brazilian veteran have?

    Juan Pablo Montoya driving for Penske Racing


    The Colombian returns to his racing roots for at least one season. Many think that the reason Penske was willing to give Juan a shot at this was to corral him for Sports Car work in future years. Sponsorship unannouced.

    Ryan Hunter-Reay driving for Andretti Autosport


    The Floridian is the anchor of the Andretti squad, with great skill in all three disciplines - ovals, street course and road course - and maturity to match. All he needs is luck to repeat as series champion. With DHL sponsorship.

    Marco Andretti driving for Andretti Autosport


    Well, of course Andretti gets a ride on the Andretti squad but this time the young Pennsylvanian really earned it, with an impressive season - the best he's had in years - and a harbinger of an even better 2014. With Dr. Pepper sponsorship.

    James Hinchcliffe driving for Andretti Autosport


    The young Canadian had an outstanding season, with three wins, and was poised to get a good deal with KVSH Racing but waited too long to seal the deal. The result is he ended up back at Andretti - probably for less money than he might have gotten, but with a great squad that can keep him on the podium. Sponsorship unannounced.


    CONTINUED.......






    M
    Last edited by MarkyS; December 26th, 2013 at 10:54 pm.
    "WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012

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    ***

    Confirmed, continued....



    Simon Pagenaud driving for Schmidt Peterson Racing


    Coming off a year that saw two series victories the popular Frenchman will remain with Schmidt Peterson pushing a Honda engine, but sponsors Hewlett Packard are diving out.

    Ed Carpenter driving for himself at Ed Carpenter Racing


    The all-American driver with the all-American family returns as the only owner-driver for another year under Fuzzy's Vodka sponsorship.


    UPDATE! The only owner/driver decided to be the owner with brains and has put Mike Conway - a road and street course phenom - into the #20 car for the 12 races that are on those courses. Ed, who is a great oval driver, will be in the cockpit for the 6 oval races. This is brilliant gamesmanship.



    Graham Rahal, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan


    The young and personable American with the English name is still struggling to find consistency. Graham ran under a few sponsors in 2013 but may be given the sponsorship from the National Guard for 2014 - one of the most well-heeled sponsorships on the circuit.

    JUST ANNOUNCED: Rahal Letterman Lanigan has hired Bill Pappas away from Dale Coyne racing to become Graham Rahal's engineer for 2014. Pappas is simply one of the best engineers in the business, so this bodes well for Graham.

    Sebastien Bourdais driving for KVSH Racing


    The talented Frenchman had a moribund season until switching to new engineer Tom Brown mid-season and then suddenly came alive. He now has a two-year deal at his new digs at KV, bringing Brown along with him. Expect great results for the 35-year-old. Sponsorship unannounced.

    Josef Newgarden driving for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing


    The Tennessee native adopted a cat just before Baltimore and promptly went out to a podium finish. The good-luck cat, named "Simba" and Josef return for a third year with former driver Fisher's team, sponsorship unannounced.




    Probables - All but announced to drive in 2014.....




    Dario Franchitti driving for Target Chip Ganassi


    Fans love him; Target loves him; Chip loves him. Yet Dario has not yet announced his plans for 2014. His recent bad crash in Houston may have been enough for the Scot to decide to live into his 40s with some safety, but odds are he returns to drive another year, at least.

    UPDATED! see posts 12 and 13. Franchitti announces his retirement, after all.

    Justin Wilson driving for Dale Coyne Racing.


    Coyne seems never to be willing to announce his drivers until opening day of the new season, but Wilson has easily been the best thing Coyne has ever been associated with. As long as he is healthy by March, coming off his bad Fontana wreck, Wilson will almost assuredly return in the #19 Boy Scouts entry.

    UPDATE! Wilson announces that indeed he will return to Dale Coyne racing for 2014, with new engineer Michael Cannon. No word yet on a possible 2nd car for the squad.



    Takuma Sato driving for A.J. Foyt Enterprises


    Even though Sato had a rough second half of his season he also brought Foyt his first win in years with his popular victory at Long Beach and that, combined with urging by Honda, will likely bring the Tokyo native back to the Foyt team for another year.

    UPDATE! Takuma has been confirmed as the driver for Foyt in 2014, with Don Halliday returning as engineer.


    Carlos Munoz driving for Andretti Autosport


    No, the young Colombian didn't win the Indy Lights championship but he did win four races in that series this year and also came in 2nd in his rookie drive in the big cars at the Indy 500, as well. Michael Andretti has hinted that Carlos is all but announced as a fourth Andretti car.

    UPDATED! See post #17 - Carlos makes the big time for 2014.


    Simona de Silvestro driving for ?????


    The Swiss driver will very likely be driving again in 2014 - she brings both a reliable sponsor that loves her and a huge fan base and she's coming off easily her best year yet in the big cars - but the team she will drive for is as yet unknown. Her contract with KVSH was a one-year deal and she will almost surely jump to another squad, possibly Dale Coyne. Sponsorship will remain Entergy and Areva.

    UPDATE!
    Simona gets a ride, but not in IndyCars. (see post #215) She is realizing her childhood dream and will join the Sauber Formula 1 team as an affiliated driver, preparing to acquire her F-1 super-license, so she can join the race squad in 2015.







    To be continued.......





    M
    Last edited by MarkyS; February 15th, 2014 at 7:02 am.

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    ***

    Silly Season, continued...


    Odds good to get rides but not shoo-ins:


    Tristan Vautier driving for Schmidt Peterson Racing


    The French series rookie had a mixed bag of flashes of brilliance and speed combined with some typical rookie errors, but overall proved he belongs. The question is whether or not Sam Schmidt agrees and can come up with a sponsor who agrees.

    UPDATED! See post #23. With the addition of Mikhail Aleshin to the SPM squad, it looks like Tristan is now on the outside looking in. The 2012 Indy Lights champion would like to stay in IndyCars but without a sponsor he is far less attractive, and is hedging his bets by also scanning the Sports Car horizon.

    UPDATE on the UPDATE! Tristan lads a ride with Mazda driving in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in the new SkyActive diesel P2 coupe prototype.


    Luca Filippi driving for Barracuda Racing


    When team owner Bryan Herta let go of veteran driver Alex Tagliani mid season he made it known he was on a youth movement and proceeded to give the young Italian GP2 star a chance to prove that he was the youth Bryan was looking for. The solid race performances and good team communication that followed all but sealed the spot for Luca. Sponsorship will be Barracuda once again, if it comes to be.

    UPDATE! Despite expectations Bryan Herta gave this ride to Briton Jack Hawksworth - a graduate of the Indy Lights. (see post 279) That leaves Luca on the outside looking in.




    On the outside looking in:

    James Jakes


    The Englishman brings sponsorship - Acorn Stairlifts - with him and he actually was one of the most improved drivers on the year, showing great speed at times, so he should be a likely driver but he was supposedly unhappy with his team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, and it's far less likely he will be with them in 2014.

    Oriol Servia


    The veteran driver is always capable of top-ten and even top-five drives but in a sport that values youth as much as experience the question will be whether or not the Catalan can get sponsorship for a full season ride. It's much more likely for Oriol to become a super-sub at times during 2014 as he was for much of 2013.

    UPDATE! Oriol is given 4 races with Rahal Letterman Lanigan, starting at Long Beach and ending at the Indy 500, with the possibility of more, if sponsorship can be found. (see post 277)


    Alex Tagliani


    Like Servia, the French Canadian veteran lost his ride mid-season and ended up as a super-sub at the last race at Fontana, where he performed very well. At 40, this may be the role that he will perform in 2014 - the occasional hired gun.

    UPDATE! When Dario Franchitti was forced to bale on Chip Ganassi due to health concerns Tag stepped in and filled the seat brilliantly at Fontana. That performance has put him in contention to get a full time ride on the Ganassi team. No decision yet.
    (see post 49)

    UPDATE on the UPDATE! Tagliani will NOT be the driver of the #10 car for Ganassi. He will be hunting for work, after all... (see post 71)

    And yet another UPDATE! for Tag: Tagliani will get a full-time ride in the TUDOR SportsCar series driving for Paul Gentilozzi at RSR racing in the PC class. (see post 175)

    And one more UPDATE Tagliani will drive for Sarah Fisher Hartman in the Indy 500 and for himself in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. (see posts 202 and 306)

    Mike Conway


    The Englishman is a brilliant driver, capable of podiums and wins anytime he's given a good car, but Mike refuses to drive on ovals, considering them too dangerous. That makes it hard to give him a full-time series ride, as ovals are an important part of the season. Unless a team is willing to plug in a sub for him on those occasions it is likely he will remain the super-sub he was in 2013.

    UPDATE! - See post #14. Conway gets a full-time ride!


    J.R. Hildebrand


    The young American is a very capable driver but is also prone to costly mistakes, which is why he lost his ride with Panther Racing mid season in 2013, and while he had a chance to pick up a ride with Barracuda, it's looking like he lost that bid to Luca Filippi.

    UPDATE! J.R. gets a one-shot ride with Ed Carpenter for the Indy 500.

    E.J. Viso


    The Venezuelan was another of the most improved drivers of 2013, showing great speed at times - sometimes the best on the Andretti squad he drove for - and he brings his own sponsorship with PDVSA, the state-owned oil giant from Venezuela. But that sponsorship is in jeopardy as all Venezuelan sports sponsorships - all state-provided - are in jeopardy at the moment.

    Sebastian Saavedra


    When Dragon racing lost their anchor driver Sebastien Bourdais to KVSH, they seemed to lose the impetus for remaining in IndyCars, which means the team's other Sebastian, Colombia's Saavedra, will likely not have a ride in 2014, unless the team changes its mind. Dragon is looking to get into Formula E - the new electric car racing series - and Saavedra may wind up there.

    UPDATE! Sebastian follows his Dragon teammate over to KVSH, for a full-time ride in IndyCar for 2014, after all. (See post #208)

    Ryan Briscoe


    The Australian veteran is always capable of a win, given a good car - as he's proving all the time in Sports Cars. He had what looked like a season deal with Panther racing for 2014 when the word came down that Panther had lost its primary sponsor - the National Guard - to Rahal Letterman Lanigan. That makes a deal for Briscoe difficult. It's much more likely that Ryan will replicate 2013 - substituting now and then while running a full season of sports car racing in the TUDOR series.


    UPDATE!
    Ryan has been released from his John Barnes/Panther contract and that frees him up. He is now the odds-on favorite to get the #10 Target car at Chip Ganassi Racing. No done deal, Ryan is hedging his bet by keeping his eyes on sports Cars.


    UPDATE on the UPDATE! It's a done deal. Ryan Briscoe joins the Ganassi squad - but driving the NTT DATA # 8. It is Tony Kanaan who steps into the #10 Target car.



    Okay, that's where we are as of November 1. If and when changes occur they will be reported in future posts.

    Stay tuned!




    M
    Last edited by MarkyS; March 26th, 2014 at 5:35 am.
    "WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012

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    ***

    IndyCar drivers are a tight-knit community. They actually LIKE each other and often hang out together. Many of them live in Indianapolis, where most of the teams headquarter.

    A few weeks back five of them got together at the Studio Movie Grill to go see the Ron Howard movie "Rush", about the famous '70s Formula One championship battle between James Hunt and Nikki Lauda.



    From left to right: Simon Pagenaud, Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Conor Daly, Doug Boles (president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,) Simona de Silvestro and the guy who played James Hunt in the film - NOT!

    All declared the film GREAT!

    Three days later Conor and Simona went to the Speedway golf course together for a few rounds. Conor later tweeted, "Swinging clubs @IMS golf course with @simdesilvestro and she is making me look silly."

    FOOL! Simona is a great golfer. Here beating the crap out of MotoGP driver Colin Edwards on the same course. (She's got that spider to a fly look):





    M
    Last edited by MarkyS; November 28th, 2013 at 4:28 pm.
    "WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012

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    ***
    Every year, IndyCar asks its drivers to participate in promotions, either promoting the series or individual races, and every year, they prove that they may be among the best racing drivers in the world, but they are LOUSY at promos!!

    Here is the promotions blooper reel from the 2013 season. Special note to France's Tristan Vautier. Tristan - stay a driver, PLEASE. As a singer you will die poor:






    M
    "WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012

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    Drivers and funny outtakes matter. It helps sponsors see what type of person they have.

    Question is ESPN needs a new lead for the Indy Doubleheader and the other 3-4 weekends they have in 2014. Who will be it? Mike King has left the IMS Radio Network so it should be interesting whom ESPN hires. King is a distinct possibility to become ESPN's lead broadcaster.
    Ashamed to be an American.

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    BREAKING: Dario Franchitti, 4-time INDYCAR Champion and 3-time Indianapolis 500, announces his retirement as a result of injuries from the Houston 2 crash.


    “Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority," he said in a statement. "I am eternally grateful for the medical care I have received over the last several weeks. I'd also like to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support.

    "One month removed from the crash and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post-accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing. They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long term well-being. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.
    "Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it's really tough to think that the driving side is now over. I was really looking forward to the 2014 season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with a goal of winning a fourth Indianapolis 500 and a fifth IndyCar Series championship.

    "I'd like to thank all my fellow competitors, teammates, crew and sponsors for their incredible support over the course of this amazing ride. I'd also like to thank Hogan Racing, Team KOOL Green and Andretti Green Racing for the opportunities to compete on the racetrack, and especially Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who have become like a family to me since I joined their team back in 2008. I would be remiss if I didn't thank all my fans around the world. I can't thank you enough for standing by my side for all these years.

    "I'll forever look back on my time racing in CART and the IndyCar Series with fond memories and the relationships I've forged in the sport will last a lifetime.

    "Hopefully in time, I'll be able to continue in some off-track capacity with the IndyCar Series. I love open-wheel racing and I want to see it succeed. I'll be working with Chip to see how I can stay involved with the team, and with all the amazing friends I've made over the years at Target.

    "As my buddy Greg Moore would say, ‘See you up front.’ ”

    -- Franchitti statement.

    "As a four-time IndyCar Series champion and a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Dario Franchitti has etched his name among the greats of this sport, and his legacy will continue to influence future generations of competitors. His passion was born, in part, from a deep love for the sport and a reverence for its history, and Dario carries that heritage everywhere he travels and shares it with everyone he meets. Dario’s leadership on and off the track has helped shape INDYCAR, and we look forward to him remaining involved in the sport he loves." -- Statement from Indy Racing League, LLC.

    Only appropriate he would quote a friend who fell in an incident on-track to say he's hanging it up.
    Ashamed to be an American.

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    ***



    Dario Franchitti, known in the paddock by the nickname "Speedwagon", will be counted as one of the best practitioners of the sport ever. He is not only a superb driver but is also a superb gentleman and competitor. He is extremely fond of the history of his profession and was one of the sport's best amateur historians and ambassadors. Most importantly, he has always been accessible to his legion of fans.

    Among his many, many accomplishments in 265 career starts in IndyCars:

    - Four IndyCar titles, the last in 2011. He tied Juan Pablo Montoya in points for a fifth title in 1999, while driving in the CART series, but lost to the Colombian on total race wins for that year.

    - 3 Indianapolis 500 wins, tying Louis Meyer, Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Unser and contemporary and friend Helio Castroneves.

    - 31 race wins, putting him in a tie for 8th on the all-time wins list.

    - 33 pole positions.

    - 61 podium finishes that were not wins.


    The accolades for the Scot will be pouring in on twitter from colleagues and fans alike. He will surely stay connected to the sport in some fashion but it is a damn shame that we will never see this finesse driver behind the wheel again.

    Thanks, Dario.




    M
    Last edited by MarkyS; December 19th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.
    "WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012

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    Just announced - Mike Conway gets a full-time ride with Ed Carpenter Racing for 2014.



    The Englishman will be in the cockpit of the Fuzzy's Vodka #20 car for all the road and street course races of the season, while boss and fellow driver Ed Carpenter will pilot the car for the six oval races of the season. This is a perfect blending, as Conway refuses to drive on ovals but is a far superior driver to Carpenter on the twisty circuits, while Carpenter is an acknowledged master of ovals. This plays to the STRENGTHS of both drivers and should yield great results for the team next year, as long as the engineering staff can accommodate both guys.


    M
    "WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012

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    ***

    With the announcement of the retiring of Dario Franchitti comes the inevitable rumor mill regarding his replacement in the #10 Target car at Chip Ganassi Racing. Ganassi himself has stated his intention to run the car and with a seasoned driver in it: " We've always taken the best driver that's available at the time. We sort of followed that rule that we learned from a great mentor of all of ours, a guy named Morris Nunn."

    This means that a rookie will likely NOT be put in the car, but rather someone with a proven set of skills. Among the possibles:

    Tony Kanaan

    Tony is already slated to drive the #8 car for Ganassi, with NTT Data and TNT Sports Drink sponsorship, but Ganassi has stated that he MIGHT move Kanaan over to the Target car, which would then open up the #8 to someone else. Of course, both NTT and TNT would have to approve the driver change.

    Ryan Briscoe

    Ryan has driven for Ganassi in the past and is a very capable veteran but he may be tied by contract to Panther Racing. But, if Panther has truly LOST their sponsor - the National Guard - they may not be in a position to run Ryan, which would free the Aussie up for Chip.

    Justin Wilson

    The Englishman is on the mend from his Fontana crash but is expected to fully recover and there is NO BETTER DRIVER on the circuit. The only question is whether or not his team, Dale Coyne Racing, has him tied up in a contract for 2014. It is LONG PAST DUE for a superteam to give Justin the ride he deserves.

    Lucas Luhr

    The German Sports Car driver has had a phenomenal career in the ALMS series and in GT1 but he is ending his ALMS career and has expressed an interest in driving in IndyCars, and would love a chance to get a great ride.

    Sergio Perez

    The young Mexican has just lost his ride in Formula 1 with McClaren-Mercedes and will be looking for an opportunity. IndyCars would love to have a Mexican driver in the series, as there is a HUGE fanbase below the border that hasn't had a hero to cheer for since Adrian Fernandez left. The inclusion of a Mexican pilot might even spark a return to either Mexico City or Monterey for a race.

    Conor Daly

    The American son of IndyCar great Derek Daly has a lot of good open-wheel experience in ladder series, as both a Star Mazda and Formula 2000 champion, but not much in top series racing, making him more of a long-shot for the Ganassi spot. He is also being groomed by A.J. Foyt as a possible second car.

    Simona de Silvestro

    The Swiss driver brings a lot of open-wheel experience and a huge fan base and she is currently looking for a place to land for 2014, as it is almost a given that she will NOT be returning to KVSH. She also has a great working relationship with Tony Kanaan, her former teammate. The question is whether or not her loyal sponsors, Entergy and Areva, would come with her and share space on a Target-sponsored car. Not likely, which would mean she would have to bail on them to get this great opportunity.

    Alex Tagliani

    The French-Canadian veteran was asked to substitute for the injured Franchitti at the MAV TV 500 at Fontana, and acquitted himself very well, leading the race at various times before finally spinning out. Ganassi and the team were both impressed with his speed and his communication. The guy KNOWS how to help set up a race car. Additionally, Target is making a foray into Canada this year, so a French Canadian might be the perfect pilot for the car, but at 40, he may be too much of a veteran to expect to perform at peak levels for too much longer.

    Paul di Resta

    Scotland's di Resta is another Formula 1 driver who lost his ride - with Force India - at the end of the 2013 season and is open to taking the seat of his cousin - yes, his actual cousin - Dario Franchitti. Di Resta actually performed well in the under-performing Force India car, so he has talent, but has no oval experience...But then neither does Sergio Perez.


    Others to follow as the rumor mill churns......



    M
    Last edited by MarkyS; November 24th, 2013 at 1:22 am.
    "WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012

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