As we reported earlier, Dreyer and Reinbold prepared a second car for St. Petersburg but had not yet officially announced a driver or submitted it to the entry list for this weekend’s festivities. While we here at Open Paddock surmised that Tomas Scheckter would most likely get the nod since he has been toting bags of cash looking for somebody to help him overcome his half-shaft habit, we also suggested that Milka Duno couldn’t be ruled out. In both cases, we were wrong. Darren Manning has been tapped to fill the seat, continuing the string of driver replacements started by Wheldon going to Panther, Vitor going to Foyt and now Manning going to D&R. This will be announced on today’s IRL teleconference. It remains to be seen if Darren has enough funding for a full season effort. Further, we will have to wait and see if he has enough stamina for the long haul.
As for the TBA listed for Conquest, it has been officially announced that Alex Tagliani will fill the seat for this weekend and for the Edmonton race, but at this point, those are the only events that sponsor Northlands has signed on for. Northlands is the event promoter for the Edmonton Race. Alex is reportedly also working with Edmonton area businesses to find sponsorship for Long Beach onward into the season. If so, this would appear to make his seat a full season effort under multiple sponsors. We will await further details.
As for Scheckter, Curt Cavin at the Indianapolis Star is reporting that he will end up in a second car for Team 3G partnering with Stanton Barret possibly starting at Long Beach. So 22 cars for St. Petersburg, barring any other last minute additions and possibly 23 for Long Beach, depending on if Tagliani’s deal is for the full season.
Unfortunately for Milka, reports are coming out that she no longer has her Citgo sponsorship, which could make it very difficult for her to find a ride for even a partial season effort like she has done in the past.