We continue to see real positive signs that the changes the IndyCar series has made since last season are panning out for the better. From the addition of IZOD as the title sponsor, decent Versus ratings at Sao Paulo, excellent races for the first two rounds, Randy Bernard at the helm and a surprisingly fresh new approach to analyzing the potential new chassis manufacturers, there has certainly been a lot of positive vibes swirling around the series that sprang from the loins of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
One area where this clean aura can be seen is the strong car counts. Sao Paulo and St. Petersburg both had 24 competitors take to the track. Of those entries, 21 have been confirmed to full season efforts while Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alex Lloyd may yet join the full season camp as the tour stretches on.
Moving in to this weekend’s inaugural stop at Barber Motorsports Park, 25 cars are now confirmed to be on the entry list. That includes the 21 full timers along with Ryan Hunter-Reay for Andretti, Alex Lloyd for Coyne, Graham Rahal at SFR and newcomer Bertrand Baugette will take his first laps competitive laps in an IndyCar for Conquest. The good news doesn’t stop there.
At Long Beach, Graham Rahal has been confirmed with Sarah Fisher Racing for his third race with the team. Coming off a great performance at St. Pete, the addition of Long Beach to his schedule with the team has us wondering if there will be more to come, especially since Robin Miller’s predictions that Graham would end up with Ganassi or Newman Haas have not played out thus far.
At this time, we have 26 cars fully confirmed for Kansas and will likely add to that total with Alex Lloyd for Coyne.
Indy is where things get interesting. Last week Bruno Junqueira was tapped for an Indy one-off with FAZZT, proving yet again that Alex Taglianni is a class guy who has went out of his way to make up for pulling Bruno out of his seat last year after getting bumped at Indy. Also, making waves last week was the announcement that John Andretti will be driving the #43 Petty Window World car for Andretti Autosport at the 500. This brings us to 31 fully confirmed cars at Indy with lots more to come.
Throw in some of the cool engine packages that Honda is running for one-off teams, I look for the events after Indy to start adding more participants. Very nice to see.