With the Barber test starting tomorrow, driver announcements are in abundance when it comes to the 2010 Izod Indycar Season.
Let's see what has happened recently. KVRT announced that they signed Takuma Sato to drive one of their Dallara's in 2010. Today, KVRT announced one of the worst kept secrets in the IRL, that they would be running E.J. Viso in 2010 with PDVSA, Herbalife, CANTV and SBA Airlines supporting him.
On the Dale Coyne front, I've got some ideas in my head. Milka Duno is getting fitted for a seat for the test at Barber in one of Dale's Dallara's. Try to follow my logic here. Of course, this is all hearsay and hope on my part.
Dale Coyne Racing #19 Boy Scouts America Car will be run by J.R. Hildebrand. Dale Coyne Racing #18 will be run by Milka Duno on all ovals and a couple of road courses while Jonathan Summerton will fill in on the road courses Milka doesn't run.
How does that sounds? We know J.R. has tested at Coyne, and we know that Jonathan Summerton says he will probably be going to Barber this week to test. Anyone like the sounds of that? Sure, part time for Jonathan wouldn't be as great as full time, but it would be better then no Jonathan!
Alright, back to facts.
Conquest has yet to announce that they signed Mario Romancini for 2010 out of Firestone Indy Lights. He will drive along side another Brazilian who is familiar with the team from 2008, Jaime Camara. Neither of the two drivers have been announced, but Mario should be for the full season, while I'm not sure about Jaime.
As far as I'm concerned, this is two more cars then I previously thought we'd see in 2010 on the grid.
There are 21 cars on the entry list with 3 TBA's (1 from KVRT, Conquest, and HVM each). If you want my opinion, we should assume James Rossiter will be in the KVRT TBA (#32), Mario Romancini in Conquest's machine (#34) and Simona de Silvestro in HVM's only entry (#78). Sarah Fisher and Jay Howard will be sharing the #67 SFR entry.
Absent from the list of entries is Dale Coyne's proposed two cars. I'm not sure if that means they won't attend the test, or if Dale just didn't file the paperwork in time.
I know some teams were considering not attending the tests due to the low ambient and track temperatures predicted at Barber. Supposedly they will be lucky if they hit the 50's in Alabama, which is just about where the Firestone rubber needs to be to function as planned.
So right now, if you assume that each of the cars that attend the Barber test race full or part seasons (SFR is planning two part time efforts), we should see somewhere between 20 to 26 cars at various tracks outside of Indy. You take the 21 cars at Barber, add in two Dale Coyne cars, 1 Conquest, and hopefully one more HVM, and you've got yourself a pretty good lineup.
Oh, and don't forget that Graham Rahal will most likely end up racing somewhere in 2010 in a Dallara.
Tomas Scheckter has some money kickin' around, and Mario Moraes still might have some money kickin' around.
It doesn't look as bad as some are predicting now does it?
EDIT: It was pointed out in a few places that Dan Wheldon and Panther Racing were left off the Barber test entry list. Not sure if they will be attending or not, but please do not start fear mongering that they will not be participating in 2010!