We’re now into our fourth or fifth foolish season replace since March. In another 12 months, I’d be placing the ending touches on the primary. That’s it. I’m tapping out. This foolish season has damaged me.
So, not solely did the foolish season begin method too quickly, however due to Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing, and McLaren Racing, it’s persevering with to achieve momentum. To begin, the stampede to say Palou’s No. 10 CGR Honda for 2023 is on and it’s inflicting unanticipated ripples within the paddock.
Earlier than we circle again to the No. 10 automotive and run via all of the identified vacancies, let’s crack open the largest theme that’s emerged in latest months. Based on lots of the crew homeowners and crew principals I’ve spoken with, the quantity of calls and emails from Components 2 drivers looking for alternatives in IndyCar is at an all-time excessive.
If there’s an F2 driver operating within the high 10 this season who lacks an present hyperlink to a Components 1 crew, they’ve doubtless been in contact with a number of IndyCar groups and inquired about testing within the offseason or going straight to racing subsequent season. And the outreaches have additionally gone the opposite method, with various IndyCar groups telling me that of their seek for drivers, the front-running pool of expertise in F2 is extra intriguing than most of those that are contending for the Indy Lights title in the meanwhile.
The highest identify I hear as being enthusiastic about IndyCar and can also be drawing curiosity from IndyCar groups is Brazil’s Felipe Drugovich, who leads the F2 championship. One other is New Zealand’s Marcus Armstrong, who holds sixth within the F2 standings with two wins up to now, together with a victory on the final occasion in Austria. Past breakaway Indy Lights championship chief Linus Lundqvist, I don’t hear the remainder of the present class talked about with related pleasure by IndyCar groups, and that’s why F2 drivers are drawing additional consideration within the U.S.
All proper, earlier than one thing else explodes within the paddock, let’s hearth via the foolish season because it stands going into this weekend’s doubleheader.
A.J. Foyt Racing’s No. 14 Chevy is in want of a driver with its present pilot, 2021 Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood, signed to drive for Andretti Autosport beginning in 2023. The No. 4 Foyt Chevy pushed by Dalton Kellett is up for a brand new contract to be executed between the crew and driver, however that has but to happen.
The recent rumor in early June was that Indy Lights sophomore Benjamin Pedersen was headed to the No. 14, and the mentions of the Danish-American driver graduating to IndyCar with Foyt on a multi-year deal proceed to develop. There’s nothing official to supply on it being a accomplished deal, however I’d place this within the “don’t be shocked if it’s introduced quickly” class.
On Kellett, he instructed me a number of weeks in the past that he needs to return to Foyt, and when requested if there have been different groups he was talking with — within the occasion the No. 4 was taken by one other driver — he pointed to Foyt as his fundamental focus as a crew residence. If it isn’t Foyt, I’m undecided the type Canadian has a straightforward pathway to remain in IndyCar.
As for the third Foyt entry that ran via Mid-Ohio, I’ve heard nothing of late to counsel the No. 11 Chevy is coming again as a part- or full-time automotive. One merchandise of curiosity, nonetheless, is the aforementioned F2 driver Marcus Armstrong, who the Foyt crew tells me is supposed to check for them as soon as the IndyCar season concludes in September.
Andretti Autosport COO Rob Edwards reconfirmed what we’ve identified: They’re staying at 4 automobiles.
Arrow McLaren SP has two of its three automobiles sorted with Pato O’Ward and newcomer Alexander Rossi. The scenario with Felix Rosenqvist will likely be resolved at some undetermined level within the months forward as McLaren — based on the press launch revealed by the crew — signed Rosenqvist to an extension that may have CEO Zak Brown determine whether or not to maintain him in IndyCar or transfer him to Components E in 2023.
Loads has been written about all the chances of how the Palou/Ganassi/McLaren factor might work out, so there’s no have to rehash all of it right here, apart from noting that if McLaren doesn’t get to run Palou, Rosenqvist could be primed to proceed within the No. 7 Chevy and has lobbied for that to be formalized.
Chip Ganassi Racing was set to be established order with its lineup of Palou, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson and Jimmie Johnson once I requested Ganassi about his roster a number of weeks again. Issues bought outta hand fairly rapidly there…
If a guess exists someplace, I’ll put all my cash on Palou ending out the season within the No. 10 automotive and having his identify peeled off the automotive proper after the checkered flag waves in Monterey. We merely don’t know the way the contractual scenario will likely be resolved, and even when CGR does certainly maintain the rights to his companies because it stated in a follow-up assertion on the topic, a brand new driver will definitely be piloting the ten automotive subsequent 12 months.
The final word to supply is with CGR growth driver Kyffin Simpson. At 17, he’s bought a variety of studying to do earlier than he’s prepared for IndyCar, but when his new transfer to HMD Motorsports coincides with a soar to Indy Lights podiums and wins within the subsequent 12 months or two, maintain your eyes peeled for a Simpson-to-IndyCar-with-Ganassi story in 2024 or so.