So with Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball joining Chip Ganassi Racing, and JR Hildebrand joining Panther this week as well, I figure it is time to post a new Silly Season update with rumors and possibilities for the upcoming season.
CONFIRMED IN BOLD
HIGHLY LIKELY IN PLAIN TEXT
RUMORED IN ORANGE
De Ferran Dragon Racing
#2 - Tony Kanaan - Full Season
#21 - Davey Hamilton - Indy + 2 or 3 races - HP
The never ending questions are surrounding this team in regards to who will be their man this season. The quest for funding is on, and TK is in Brazil as we speak racing go-karts and talking to sponsors. From the news online, it sounds like Kanaan is their number one choice (logically). As for Rafa Matos, he has apparently given up looking for an Indycar ride this season and will settle for driving stock cars in Brazil for 2011, leaving Tony Kanaan as the DFDR's main man. There were talks of running two cars if they could find the money. Also, expect a car for Davey Hamilton at a couple of events. I wonder if you might see Highcroft Racing team up with De Ferran Dragon for a couple of events to get their feet wet in anticipation of 2011.
#3 - Helio Castroneves - Full Season - Shell
#6 - Ryan Briscoe - Full Season - Izod/AAA
#12 - Will Power - Full Season - Verizon
Penske is set for 2010 after picking up a handful of sponsors from various places. Will be nice to see Penske Racing decked out in sponsorship, unlike 2010 where only one of the Captain's cars had some sort of major representation. Personally, I think Ryan Briscoe is in a make it or break it year with this team. If he cannot keep up with Will Power, I think he will be looking for a new job in 2012.
#4 - JR Hildebrand - National Guard
JR was announced this week to fill the National Guard Panther machine. He will be with the team for multiple years, and will most likely sue Panther at some point before he leaves them.
Kalkoven Vasser Racing
#5 - Takuma Sato - Full Season - Lotus
#8 - Hideki Mutoh/EJ Viso
#15 - Paul Tracy/Oriol Servia/Mike Conway
#32 - Mario Moraes/Alex Lloyd/Faruz Fauzy
KVR is the team in flux at the moment. The only sure thing (more or less) is Takuma Sato returning. As for EJ Viso and Mario Moraes, neither of them seemed happy last year, and EJ is rumored to be taking his sponsorship elsewhere for 2011. Rumors of KVR doing 4 cars, two in Lotus colors this season. Look for ride buyers in all four cars unfortunately, unless Lotus comes through with some big time cheques.
#7 - Danica Patrick - Full Season - GoDaddy.com
#11 - Dan Wheldon
#26 - Marco Andretti - Full Season - Venom
#37 - Ryan Hunter-Reay - Full Season - ?????
The three Americans are set for 2011 in AA rides. We are still waiting to hear who will sponsor Ryan Hunter-Reay full-time. Also, Curt Cavin of the Indy Star has mentioned on a number of occasions that Andretti Autosport could very well run four cars, and that Dan Wheldon has a chance to return to the teams fourth car.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing
#9 - Scott Dixon - Full Season - Target
#10 - Dario Franchitti - Full Season - Target
#38 - Graham Rahal - Full Season - Service Central
#83 - Charlie Kimball - Full Season - Novo NorDisk
Just confirmed yesterday some of the most positive news in the 2011 silly season. Not only is Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti returning in 2011, but they will be joined by an All-American satellite team of Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball. Chip must not have been happy seeing Roger Penske running one more car than him in 2010.
AJ Foyt Enterprises
#14 - Vitor Meira - Full Season - ABC Supply Co.
Vitor Meira returns to the seat after signing a two year deal with the team (which he inadvertently let the world know through a misplaced Tweet). AJ Foyt Enterprises will continue along with 1 car in 2011 and struggle in the midpack.
Dale Coyne Racing
#18 - Jonathan Summerton/Alex Lloyd
#19 - EJ Viso/Hideki Mutoh/Milka Duno
It is no secret that Dale would love to have an American in the Boy Scouts of AMERICA car, and Jonathan Summerton could be that guy. Like Conquest, they lost out of TEAM funding for one of their cars so they will have some difficulty in 2011 putting together two full time programs. However, if they can get someone like EJ Viso to bring his PDVSA funding to the team, and sign up Jonathan Summerton or Alex Lloyd to drive the BSA car, it would be Dale's best lineup in years.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
#22 - Justin Wilson - Full Season - Z-Lines Designs
#23 - Mike Conway/EJ Viso/Anna Beatriz/Alex Lloyd
#24 - Paul Tracy
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has confirmed Justin Wilson so far for 2011, however rumors persist in regards to the other cars. Mike Conway is in the picture, as is Paul Tracy surprisingly. EJ Viso, Anna Beatriz, and even Alex Lloyd have been mentioned for this seat. Not sure if they will run 2 or 3 cars, depends on how much sponsorship they are able to get, and how much they are able to bring in. I would expect them to have at least two full time cars.
FAZZT Race Team
#33 - Ho Ping Tung - Full Season
#77 - Alex Tagliani - Full Season - Bower & Wilkens
Ho Ping Tung ran with FAZZT at Sebring in November, testing out in an apparent tryout for both he and the team. B&W executive seem to like the prospect of running a driver with Chinese heritage as China is a big market for them. All signs point to Ho Ping Tung joining Alex Tagliani for 2011.
#34 - Bertrand Baguette - Full Season - Belgium Auto Racing Club
#36 - Tomas Scheckter/JK Vernay/Hideki Mutoh
Even after losing TEAM funding for one of his cars in 2011, expect Eric Bachelart to run two cars again this year. Bertrand Baguette should be back after a strong showing in 2010, and a funded driver, perhaps someone like JK Vernay or even a Tomas Scheckter in this ride.
Sarah Fisher Racing
#67 - Ed Carpenter - 9 Races - Dollar General
Sarah has called it quits for the time being as she is looking to start a family, so Ed Carpenter gets the call to driver her Dollar General sponsored machine. They have confirmed 9 races, however, more may be confirmed with different sponsorship packages. Also, a likely one-off for Indy.
#78 - Simona de Silvestro - Full Season
#79 - Junior Strous
Simona de Silvestro was more or less confirmed for the 2011 season within weeks of final Homestead race. However, there are a couple rumblings that she will not be with HVM in 2011 as sponsorship hunting is not going well. I do however expect her back, along with a teammate. Junior Strous made a lot of noise in 2010 about coming to Indycar with sponsorship, and HVM seems like a good landing spot for him, mind you, we've heard all this before from Strous.
#02 - James Hinchcliffe - Full Season
#06 - Oriol Servia - Full Season
All signs point towards NHR having a resurgent season after employing with Hideki Mutoh for 2010 in a single car effort. They have recently tested both James Hinchcliffe and Oriol Servia at Sebring and all signs point towards both cars running full time in 2010. Hinchcliffe wants and needs a teammate to help bring him up to speed in the Izod Indycars, and Oriol would be the perfect fit. Expect this duo to line up together in 2010.
Please feel free to discuss the Silly Season list in the comments section, and let me know how you feel and how you think everything will play out. I'll keep this updated as best I can, and if I have missed something, will definitely correct it as soon as possible. Have fun.
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