Silly Season is almost over and we are not much closer to determining a final car count than we were a month ago. Even with the renewed optimism in American open-wheel racing brought on by re-unification, the worldwide economic crisis has wreaked wholesale havoc on motorsports, and IndyCar is no exception.
With only 19 confirmed car/driver combinations set for St. Petersburg next weekend (as of this minute), the outlook would seem grim to return to the 26+ car fields of last season. However, there are many potential deals that are still lurking that will most likely see additional cars on the track in Florida above the 19 currently confirmed cars.
So here are the confirmed cars as of this moment:
Penske – Ryan Briscoe
Penske – Helio Castroneves/Will Power
Ganassi – Scott Dixon
Ganassi – Dario Franchiti
Andretti Green – Tony Kanaan
Andretti Green – Danica Patrick
Andretti Green – Marco Andretti
Andretti Green – Hideki Mutoh
Luczo Dragon – Rafael Matos
Vision – Ed Carpenter
Vision – Ryan Hunter-Reay
KV – Mario Moraes
Newman Hass Lanigan – Graham Rahal
Newman Haas Lanigan – Robert Doornbos
Panther – Dan Wheldon
HVM – E.J. Viso
Foyt – Vitor Miera
3G/Beck – Stanton Barret
Dreyer & Reinbold – Mike Conway
We here at openpaddock.net were expecting to hear more announcements of full time drivers during the open tests at Homestead and Barber, but the economy has turned this normally busy news release time to a standstill as last minute budgets are not falling into place as they usually do.
That said, here are some of the potential deals that may turn to gold in the next few days:
Rubicon Race Team – Buddy Rice appears on Rubicon’s website as their driver, but as of yet, no announcement has been made. Reports indicate that they are still trying to secure additional sponsorship.
Dreyer & Reinbold – Trackside Online is reporting that Dreyer and Reinbold are preparing two cars for St. Petersburg and rumors currently place either Milka Duno or Tomas Shceckter in that car. By all indications, Milka has not been able to come up with the money that allowed her to be mentioned in the same breath with a stalwart organization such as Newman Haas Lanigan. Even though she secured a test at Homestead with NHL, she did not return with the team at Barber. While she may have not been able to come up with the promised cash for an NHL deal, she still does have sponsorship dollars from CITGO which might yet land her with a seat. Tomas Scheckter reportedly also has some sponsorship dollars, but has been mentioned as a possibility with other teams.
Conquest – Jaime Camara tested for Conquest at Homestead, but the team backed out of the Barber test. So far, this appears to be the most likely entry for Conquest this season.
Conquest – Alex Tagliani is reportedly working on a deal that would see him in a seat with Conquest starting at Long Beach sponsored by a consortium of businesses from the Edmonton area. This story is a few days old and we haven’t yet heard anything new on it.
KV Racing – Paul Tracy or Oriol Servia. KV has gone as far as mentioning the possibility of being a three car team this season, but at present they have only one confirmed driver in Mario Moraes. Nothing has been heard of a possible deal with Servia for quite some time, but the most recent information we have heard on this deal were comments made by Jimmy Vasser on “Trackside with Curt Cavin & Kevin Lee” where Jimmy mentioned they are working on an Indy onward deal for Paul.
Dale Coyne – Justin Wilson ran for Dale Coyne at the Barber open test, which is a very good sign, but no announcements have yet been made whether they will be a 0, 1 or 2 car team this season.
Dale Coyne – Bruno Junqueira has ran for Dale Coyne for the last two seasons for no pay whatsoever. This would lead us to believe that Dale will do everything possible to give Bruno a race seat for the season, or at the very least, Indy.
Sarah Fisher Racing – Sarah Fisher has confirmed that she will be contesting at Kansas, Indy, Kentucky and Chicago this year. The team has continued to search for funding for the remainder of the ovals and potentially the road/street courses as well, but at this time it does not sound like the program will grow beyond the above listed races.
We here at openpaddock.net will keep you updated throughout the upcoming week as the full entry list for the IndyCar season opener becomes apparent.