Indycar-Silly Season 2013 Update

For once, the lineup for the IZOD Indycar Season seems to be pretty much set well before the first race. Usually we find teams scrambling around just prior to the green flag in St. Pete looking for drivers with funding to fill out the field. This year, there have already been plenty of lineup announcements with only a handful of possible seats remaining. Here’s how things currently shape up.

Team Penske
Helio Castroneves and Will Power are both confirmed for the 2013 season for all events. Penske filed an application for a third seat of TEAM funds for the season as they finished 2012 with three eligible entries. Penske has shown reluctance to field a third full time entry, but remains open to running a third entry at select events. Drivers tied to the third seat include A.J. Allmendinger and Ryan Briscoe. Allmendinger is scheduled to test with Penske at Sebring in February with rumored starts at Barber and Indianapolis if testing proves well.

Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
2012 Indianapolis 500 Champ Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon are both confirmed to return with Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2013. Charlie Kimball is also confirmed to return in the #83 NovoNordisk Chip Ganassi Racing entry. Ganassi elected to not apply for their fourth eligible TEAM entry for 2013, but that doesn’t mean there’s no interest in fielding a fourth entry. Look for a potential fourth Ganassi entry at Indianapolis.

Andretti Autosport
2012 IZOD Indycar Series Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay brings the #1 back to the team in 2013 alongside returning teammates Marco Andretti (Now in the #25) and James Hinchcliffe. A fourth entry for Andretti has been tied to numerous drivers like Bia Figureido, Sebastien Saavedra and AlexLloyd, but the winner appears to be E.J. Viso. Word is an announcement from Andretti can come as soon as next week.

KV Racing Technology
The KV Lineup has been set for quite some time. Tony Kanaan returns for a third season with the team. Joining him is new teammate Simona de Silvestro, who brings her NuClear Clean Energy sponsorship to the organization. There has been no mention of a third entry, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a third KV entry at Indy.

A.J. Foyt Enterprises
Factory Honda driver Takuma Sato replaces Mike Conway in the #14 for the full season at Foyt. Chase Austin was previously announced as an Indy-Only entry in the #41, but it’s increasingly looking unlikely that it will actually happen. Look for a proven driver like Wade Cunningham, Bruno Junquiera or Alex Lloyd in the #41 at Indy.

Team Barracuda/Bryan Herta Autosport
Alex Tagliani returns for a second season in the #98. There have been rumors of this team pairing with another sponsorship opportunity and creating a satellite operation. Most of these rumors were tied to E.J. Viso, but with his probable Andretti announcement, that looks unlikely.

Dale Coyne Racing
Even though both seats are still unoccupied, Justin Wilson is confident he will return to the #18 in 2013. James Jakes (and his money) leave the #19 for greener pastures, meaning this is a spot open for another driver. Katherine Legge has been rumored to bring the TrueCar money to this seat, but in traditional Coyne fashion, we’ll probably know nothing until the open test at Barber.

Dragon Racing
Sebastien Bourdais is expected to return for a second season at Dragon, but his teammate is a bit of a mystery. Previously, it was all but confirmed that Katherine Legge would return to the team, but TrueCar’s women in racing initiative seems to be struggling with Jay Penske’s “streaming services” incident of last year. This one is another “wait and see” slot.

Ed Carpenter Racing
Ed Carpenter returns as both owner and driver for 2013. There are no rumors of an additional entry from ECR.

Panther Racing
J.R. Hildebrand returns for a third season with Panther Racing. There will be no second full time entry, but there’s always a possibility of a second Panther entry at Indianapolis, usually featuring a driver like Buddy Rice.

Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Oriol Servia returns for a second season in the #22 ride. There have been no rumors of an additional DRR entry, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility for the team to field  second car at Indianapolis. I wouldn’t put money on it though.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Graham Rahal replaces Takuma Sato as lead driver for his father’s team in 2013. After a rough couple of seasons on the Ganassi “G2″ team, Graham takes control as the lead driver at RLL. Joining him full time is former Dale Coyne Racing driver James Jakes, who showed decent pace in a less-than-stellar car towards the end of the 2012 season. Mike Conway also joins RLL for Long Beach, but he’s currently working on adding races to that limited schedule.

Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
Josef Newgarden is back in the #67 for his Sophomore campaign after a pretty good rookie season. no, the results really weren’t there, but Newgarden’s runs were much better than his finishes. He could benefit from a veteran teammate, but it doesn’t currently look like a second entry from SFHR is likely.

Schmidt Peterson Hamilton HP Motorsports
Man! I got tired just typing that name! 2012 Rookie of the Year Simon Pagenaud is back in the #77 after a rumored flirt with a Penske ride. Look for Pagenaud to get his first victory in 2013. Joining him is reigning Firestone Indy Lights Champion, Tristan Vautier. This all French lineup has some serious pace, and with the return of Allen McDonald as Chief Engineer, could contend for multiple wins.

Michael Shank Racing
There have been no updates from Shank in quite some time, but I do understand they still own a DW12 chassis. I imagine an entry from MSR is all dependent on sponsorship at this point. A.J. Allmendinger has been linked to his ride since he’s a part owner of MSR. I would expect another driver in this seat should it materialize though.

Scuderia Coloni
Scuderia Coloni flirted with starting an Indycar team after a dispute with the bosses of the GP2 series after they were cited with technical violations. Since then, they have made nice once again with the GP2 series and looks set to return to the European ranks with Luca Fillipi and Fabio Onidi at the wheel.

Newman/Haas Racing
All’s quiet on his front as well. I’m not even sure if NHR is still in possession of the DW12 chassis they purchased. Most of their staff has moved on to other opportunities, with the departure of Craig Hampson to Andretti Autosport being a key departure for the team. I don’t expect to see NHR back any time soon.

Fan Force United
The team that ran now-retired Jean Alesi in a one-off entry for Indianapolis last season is already locked into the Firestone Indy Lights championship. the only way I see this team returning is if someone writes a big check.