IndyCar – Newman Wachs Coming in 2010?

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Newman Wachs Racing is set to take Altantics champion John Edwards to either GP2 or IndyCar. As of now, they’re leaning strongly towards IndyCar, and it would seem to be a good fit since all of their work and efforts thus far, and all of the experience of Edwards, has been in domestic open-wheel series. John Edwards has won consecutive championships in Star Mazda (2008) and the Atlantic Championship (2009). The latter was thanks to a fantastic drive on his part in the season finale at Laguna Seca enabling him to leap over both his teammate Johnathon Summerton, and series championship leader Simone di Silvestro. If Newman Wachs does come to the IndyCar series, they’ve made it clear that it will be a single-car effort in a cooperative relationship with an existing team. Team owner, Eddie Wachs, has strong ties to the nuclear energy industry which is evident in the sponsorship of his current Atlantics cars. This sponsorship level would need to be seriously increased for a genuine IndyCar bid, even if they join up with an existing team. Here’s what Wachs said regarding this to SpeedTV’s Marshall Pruett:

“I wouldn’t try to do it without tailing onto an existing IndyCar team. When I started my team I figured, ‘I’m as smart as anyone else; there’s no reason I can’t built and staff my own team to become a winner,’ and it took four years for that to happen. It gave me even more respect for guys like Carl Haas, Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi to see just how much it takes to build and develop a sound and winning organization. We won’t try to start from scratch. We may join another team if we go that way, and we may use that as something to launch [NWR] from.”

Speaking of joining with an existing team, which one would make sense for NWR? There are several possibilities, including a merger with Newman Haas Lanigan. Yes, its the same Paul Newman who was co-owner on both teams. There are a few others, however, that stand out as being more likely. Panther has been a two-car team in the past, and if the funding is right, I’m sure they’d be happy to be a two-car team again. However, the funding does have to make it worthwhile. Panther is not in the best of health right now, having recently disbanded its IndyLights program. We’ll have more commentary on that later. KV Racing Technologies would be another excellent choice. Mario Moraes really improved his racecraft this year, and the team was very racy and competitive all season. It would be a great organization for a young driver like Edwards. One team that I keep coming back to, however, is Rahal Letterman Racing. John Edwards is an Ohioan, like the Rahals, and the RLR team has shown a soft-spot in the past for talented American drivers, especially when they bring a sponsor and a wad of cash (Paul Dana, Scott Sharp, Ryan Hunter-Reay). The more I think about it, the more sense it makes for NWR to team up with RLR to run John Edwards in a Nuclear Energy Institute sponsored car.

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