I wish there was a better way to put it, but TK getting screwed over and losing 7-11 sponsorship has thrown a serious wrench into the wheel in regards to the silly season. Mainly because Michael Andretti has told TK he can now shop around for another ride if he likes. News had broken that 7-11 was leaving the primary role on the 11 car and continuing to be associate sponsor on the #7 machine piloted by every body’s favorite swimsuit model/racer. So lets take a look at some POSSIBLE moves. The banquet just happened last night, so lets take this for what it is. Good old fashion speculation.
Let us assume TK stays at Andretti Autosport next year. Retirement is not really an option by the way. Where will the sponsorship dollars come from? AFS Racing has a history with AA along with Dr. Pepper/Snapple. I don’t see these companies funding a full ride as they were on a special event basis in the first place. They may up themselves to associate sponsor, but the money is going to have to come from somewhere. With Tony Kanaan being a huge talent from Brazil, could we see the likes of Apex Brasil? The Brazilian firm has put forth a ton in advertising really cheesy commercials. Why not step up and help a Brazilian driver out? The Brazilian firm has been a partner of the series for a few years now and if IZOD can sponsor the whole series and a team, why not Apex?
Here is where it gets crazy so stay with me. What about having TK at Ganassi? I am not talking about a three car team ala Penske either. We know that Scott Dixon has done whatever Chip has asked from winning races to playing support role to Dario. We also know after 2008 Dan Wheldon had a similar resume for the team before being sacked. Could we see TK and Dario reunite as teammates again? Granted TK is getting a little older, but a couple year contract could be all TK wants before hanging up the racing boots and hitting more triathlons. Chip Ganassi would give TK an obvious chance to win races and maybe even a championship before calling it a day. Also see back to Motegi when we got a tour of TK’s office. Who else but Dario hanging out with TK. The chemistry is there obviously, but is it enough for Chip to take a chance? Clearly speculation but we are calling dibs if it happens.
If TK was to leave Andretti, what would that say about a potential of having Graham Rahal at AA? We know Andretti has a lock on anybody American that matters minus young Rahal. This weekend saw the announcement that Graham will compete in the full 2011 championship with sponsorship dollars from TBC retail. Driver and sponsor are currently shopping teams that will give them a chance to run at the front. I hate to break it to the Rahal to Penske or Ganassi fans but it is not likely. TBC is probably not going to provide enough money for a ride at TCGR. Penske sounds like three cars it is with its current lineup. The Audi to ALMS gig seems to have fallen flat, so three cars are an option again. So at this moment, TK leaves Andretti and sends Rahal and his money to Andretti. Please note that this possibility can also exist if RHR exits.
As for Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and the bunch, I am not entirely sure at this moment how that will shake out with these ideas out there. Please remember this is just speculation at this point but it makes a little sense. We will see! Let the silliness begin!! bwwaaahahahahaha