Continuing on with our theme of IRL talent spotting, the current “Hot-button” issue of the moment is;
You have just been appointed to be the new "talent scout" for the IRL. Your first mission is to bring 5 drivers to the series. These can be former drivers from Indycar or from any other series. Which 5 would you pick and why?
Robert Wickens/James Hinchcliffe
Sentimentally; I’d pick the young “Wicky” whom I’m guessing is Oh Kan-ah-duh’s next great F1 hope, although “Hinge” is not too shabby himself and after all did bestow the moniker of Wicky upon Messer Robert’s, while Kevin Lacroix comes to mind also.
Honorable mention: Paul Tracy
Mr. Chrome Horn; as I only shied away from ‘Ol PT ‘cause Mr. 16th & G. had already picked him, but if you wanna sell tickets Up North Eh? Then Tracy’s a must!
This young British lion seems quite capable of running towards the front in the Indy Car World Series and I just so happen to really like his last name! After having gotten off to a really fast start in the Firestone Indy Lights championship last year, his rookie campaign tailed off slightly when switching teams for reasons unknown. But I’d expect him to be a possible series winner in ’09.
Honorable mention: Alex Lloyd; Jay Howard
Both of these past Indy Pro Series champions are most deserving of rides and if the IRL is to put its money where its mouth is, then they need to start having their marquee feeder series championship (Flinstone Indy Lites) drivers racing in the big league!
John is an impressive racer, originally from Little Rock, AR, he was the youngest ever driver to be picked for the Red Bull driver search and spent time in Italy racing go karts. He then spent a season in the Champ Car Atlantics racing alongside James Hinchcliffe at Gerald Forsythe’s Red Bull backed operation, before earning his personal Driver’s License. John then subsequently lost his funding, and while searching for a new ride, Edwards landed in the Star Mazda series and went onto become the 2008 Champion even without contesting the entire season. For 2009, Edwards will graduate to the Atlantics Championship with Newman Wachs Racing, as part of his winning the title, not to mention a cool $750,000 Bonus!
Honorable mention: Alexander Rossi; Connor Daly; Josef Newgarden
I know very little about these three up ‘N comers, yet; Rossi just won the BMW World Finals, Daly won the Walter Hayes trophy and Newgarden won the Formula Ford Festival.
Esteban has just won the BMW European Championship quite convincingly and is regarded as a true up ‘N coming talent, and would probably compliment Mario “Boom-Boom” Dominguez nicely, as I’d guess that he could be a big draw with the South of the Border fan base.
Honorable mention: David Martinez; Memo Rojas
Both seem to be vastly underrated drivers, as Martinez performed quite admirably in his limited Champ Car drives as Tracy’s substitute at Forsythe Racing, while Rojas has just won the Daytona Prototype championship as Scott Prueet’s co-driver.
How can you go wrong with a last name like that? Although I suspect that the young nephew of the late, great triple World Champion Ayrton is completely focused upon F1, I can only guess how cool it would be to have him in the cockpit of a Marlboro Team Penske race car with that Yellow helmet, causing a flood of memories of the past. And besides his Honda F1 ride appears to be toast.
Honorable mention: Rubens Barrichello; Felipe Massa; Ana Beatriz
Rubino is probably a tad too old and Ana is still working her way up the ladder, (Although it would be fun to see Princess with some more competition. Hey I know! Milka & Bia could tag-team up against her. Yeah, that’s the ticket!) While Felipe is busy kicking ASS in F1!