It has become a tradition over the last decade or so. After the dust has settled from the first race of the IndyCar season, we all start to do complex math in our heads to try and get a sum that is greater than or equal to 33. In past years, we have started the with 18 or 19 full time cars but yet still managed to keep the numeric reputation of the world’s most famous oval untarnished. While this year we have a shorter hop to the magic sum, we also have a strangled world economy to deal with. So lets count our fingers and toes and see where we come out.
For St. Petersburg, we had 22 cars show up. As of yet, only 20 of those cars are confirmed for the grid at Long Beach, but it is a fair bet that at least all 22 of those cars will show up in May so we will start our tally there.
23 – Alex Lloyd is still on Ganassi’s payroll as a development driver. He has been announced for the 500 in a Sam Schmidt seat backed by Chip.
24 – Sarah Fisher will be running for her own team come May. She has secured enough sponsorship to run Kansas, Indy, Kentucky and Chicago.
25 – John Andretti was just announced as the driver for a joint deal between Richard Petty Motorsports and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. The car will be #43 and will be painted in a familiar powder blue and day glo red scheme.
25 – Tomas Scheckter is rumored to have landed a seat with 3G for Long Beach onward. As long as this comes to pass, we can count him on the list.
26 – A.J. Foyt IV has been all but confirmed for a ride with Grandpa this year at Indy. I will be sure to set my scanner for that one. Always good one-way “discussion” going on.
27 – Rubicon has been making noise that they were trying to get Buddy Rice a seat for the season, but this may turn into an Indy only deal.
28 – KV’s Jimmy Vasser has made statements on radio that his team is looking at fielding an Indy onward effort for Paul Tracey. But look for at least an Indy seat to go to Paul or Oriol Servia, depending on who shows the cash.
The rest….. Conquest, Coyne, Rahal Letterman, Dreyer & Reinbold, Foyt. All are good for another car above and beyond what is listed above.
Further spice could be added by a rumored 2nd Nascar related team. Mike King is currently spreading a tale that Robby Gordon is on his way back to the Brickyard this year, possibly with Richard Childress support.
Also adding color is the defunct Roth Racing operation. They have 4 tubs, equipment and haulers. All are being sold as a package deal. We shall see what happens there.
Lastly, there is the rumor about Gil De Ferran who supposedly will be running an IndyCar team soon. We shall wait and see, but if he is planning on truly doing that, then a start at Indy this year might be just the ticket to get the feet in the water.
All in all, there are only a few cars above and beyond the 22 that started St. Pete confirmed. After that, there is lots of speculation and sponsorship requirements, but I have no doubt that we will see 33 this year and will probably get a bit of bumping to go along with it.