OP-Ed – Rumors Rumors Everywhere!

…but where’s the actual announcements? As that cranky old lady from the Wendy’s commercials asked, “Where’s the beef?” For the past month, we’ve been bombarded with various rumors of things that might be happening in the IndyCar Series, but so far there’s been nothing of substance released on any front. Here are some of the outstanding issues:

  • Danica – Andretti contract? NASCAR tests?
  • Penske – Third car for Power?
  • KVRT – Resign Moraes? 2nd Car?
  • deFerran – Will he answer the bell?
  • FAZZT – Hinch for some races?
  • Tracy – Monster to step up sponsorship?
  • Title Sponsor – IZOD?
  • 1st Race – Rio? Is this going to be like A1GP at Surfers?
  • 2012 – Where’s the engine and chassis specs?
  • Vitor – Back at Foyt?
  • RHR – Why does THIS guy not have a ride?
  • NWR – Pairing with NHLR or RLR?
  • Versus – Reconciliation with DirecTV?

There are many out there that are reporting many of these items as done deals, but the real proof of course is when there’s a press release. There’s been nothing of the sort yet, and its beginning to be a concern. The underlying concern stems from past experience with these types of rumors in the IndyCar Series. Terry Angstad has repeatedly issued statements of the nature, “We’re close to a deal with a title sponsor. We should have an agreement any day now.” After hearing that for a couple of seasons now, we still have no title sponsor, so I’m disinclined to believe the rumors now that the league is close to sealing a deal with IZOD. Supposedly, we’re going to hear the word on Thursday. …I’m cautiously optimistic.

Where’s Danica going to be next year? At Sonoma, she seemed convinced that she was going to be with Andretti Green Racing, but the following week, she and Andretti both went completely silent. There’s still talk of her doing some part-time racing in the NASCAR Truck and Nationwide series, even perhaps a Nationwide race later this year, but again we’ve seen no official announcements of this. Personally, I can’t imagine Patrick NOT being a part of Andretti’s team next year, but stranger things have happened and the silence from both parties is concerning.

Everyone seems keen on Penske running a third car, even team president Tim Cindric. This would be great news for Will Power who had an outstanding performance in every race he was in this year, including his victory in Edmonton. One thing that’s worrisome is the changing profile of Phillip-Morris. They’ve already announced the termination of their race ticket program, and its still unclear whether the tobacco firm will continue its previous level of sponsorship for Team Penske. This rumor I’m more convinced will turn out to be reality. If anyone in the league can pull off expanding their operation in this economic climate, it’s Roger Penske.

Mario Moraes definitely gets my vote for the “Most Improved Driver” Award for 2009. His rookie year at Dale Coyne racing was pretty dismal and littered with carbon fibre shards. In the first quarter of this season, Mario showed a great improvement in speed, but there was still a propensity for careless mistakes, not least of which was the incident between him and Marco Andretti on the first turn of the first lap of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Since Indianapolis, Mario began driving no less aggressively, but less carelessly. He’s started to turn around the previous opinions other drivers in the paddock have towards him (except for Marco’s), and his boss in 2009, Jimmy Vasser, was also summarily impressed (see Curt Cavin’s Pit Pass column). This bodes well for the 20-year old driver, but does it bode well enough for KVRT to reup Mario? Again, one would think this would be a slam dunk, but there’s been zero word on KVRT’s 2010 driver lineup. Its been rumored that the team would like to step up to a two-car effort again, and the obvious choice of driver would be Oriol Servia, but where’s the money? Where’s the annoucement? …we’re still waiting.

Dear Mr. de Ferran, What. The. Hell? Where are you, mate? You had us ALL kinds of excited about a new seriously quality team coming to IndyCar, but then everything went quiet. Are you still coming? Love, IndyCar Fans Everywhere.

FAZZT Racing seems to have all of its ducks in a row and figures to be the one proposed new team for 2010 that might actually answer the bell. Alex Tagliani will be their obvious first driver, but the team has been hinting around at a potential part-time 2nd car for a Canadian driver at Indy, Edmonton, and Toronto. There’s a number of names that come to mind, including the CCWS rising star, Andrew Ranger, but if a deal happens its likely going to happen with IndyLights driver James Hinchcliffe.

Why the heck isn’t Tracy in this series? I mean seriously? Monster should be throwing between $3-4M his way to find a team. I know he’s getting up there, but I think he showed quite adequately in 2009 that he’s still more than a match for most of the current drivers.

There was a big announcement from The Silent Pagoda and from TK’s Twitter that Rio was announced as the location for the Brazil race. As it turns out, someone stumbled upon the right url to find an unreleased announcement that was being held pending a signed deal. Sorry, Roy. Rio may still end up being the location of the Brazil race, but the scoop wasn’t exactly what it was advertised to be. Pressdog was right. PUNKED. Time is seriously running short for the announcement, though. Are we going or not? The league needs to decide right soon! Teams are already preparing budgets for next year, and that’s the first race!

Weren’t we promised engine and chassis specs last Fall? Yes, yes we were. *tapfoot*

Vitor looks to be healed from his injuries, but there’s been no comment from Foyt racing about his return. Perhaps his truck test with Nelson Piquet Jr. (spit) wasn’t just for Jr’s (spit) benefit. Perhaps he’s shopping for a ride himself?

If IZOD is going to be a title sponsor, then RHR had better have a full-time ride. However, have you heard any rumors as to where he might go? …neither have I.

Newman-Wachs Racing has stated that they’re looking to take the 2009 Altantics champion, John Edwards, to a higher level of racing, either IndyCar or GP2. Given that the team has no experience in the European scene, IndyCar makes the most sense, but they’ve wisely stated that they want to ease into the series by partnering with an existing team. The easy connection is with Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing, but to me it seems that Rahal-Letterman Racing would be the better match for all around. Again, we have hear no word, so without data we can make no serious hypothesis.

Versus vs. DirecTV? …don’t get me started. Lets just say that I’m saving up in case I have to pay a penalty for early termination of my DirecTV contract should it come to that next March.

Have you heard something more on these rumors that I haven’t? Have some data to substantiate or refute any of these? Let me know in the comment section below!

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2 Thoughts to “OP-Ed – Rumors Rumors Everywhere!

  1. The driver rumors abound, but as has been the case in the past several seasons, we will still be hearing driver announcements During the first few weeks of March. The good thing about the possible Brazil race is that there is supposedly great financial incentive for IndyCar teams to make it to the first race. That may help get some deals done that otherwise would have lingered until Indy. If the IRL doesn’t get the Brazil deal sealed, then they look just as bad as A1GP or CCWS in some of their aborted races.

    As for the engine and chassis, the IRL has said they hoped to announce something by Thanksgiving. Hopefully my Thanksgiving prayer wont go something like this: “Lord we thank you for the dallara chassis, since it clearly looks better than this new design….”

  2. So long as it goes 230+ mph, I don’t care care what it looks like. It will be beautiful in my eyes. …but I won’t believe that there’s a new chassis coming until I see the announcement.

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