Although I’m getting on several Stops Afterwards…
Yeah, we’re All supposed to still be in Ah-Lather over the just concluded inaugural running of the Nashville Street race, which I’ll expound my two cents worth on later this week. But in lieu of IndyCar’s Curmudgeon “Ol r’, who’d typically be bringing us Ye Scuttlebutt and supposedly returning to his Mailbag Duties today, I thought I’d go down this WabbitHole’ instead…
So it’s Old News now that the first 2022 IndyCar Silly Season Bombshell was Dropped a few weeks ago when Meyer Shank Racing announced the departure of Jack “bloody Nige!” Harvy at season’s end and tried softening the “Blow” with the announcement that Helio Castroneves would be running a Full season campaign next year aboard the #06 entry, with the No. 60’s driver to be announced at a later date.
As I’ll just weave together my thoughts of what makes the most sense for next year’s moving “chess Pieces” from Racer’s Marshall Pruett’s most recent silly Season report.
Meyer Shank Racing
Obviously I’ve got Zero Clue who MSR will choose as it’s second driver for next season, but I think the best choice would be “Symone,” nee Pageantry’, aka Simon Pagenaud in the No. 60 since it would give the team it’s best chance for joining the “big leagues,” but then again it doesn’t exactly build for a long term future Driver-wise, but would keep one “grizzled” Veteran on tap for when Hulio’ retires again from Indy Cars.
Mikey A’s team seems to have the most moving pieces to it, since I’d Arse-sume Thars gona be at least two seats available next year, i.e.; the No.s 28 and 29. As Ryan Hutner-Reay’s presumably leaving IndyCar’s and either retiring completely from driving or heading to IMSA Sports Cars? Whilst thoust Mayor’s IndyCar future is unknown.
As Pruett seems to think it’s a foregone conclusion that Romain Grosjean will be joining Andretti Autosport next season in the #28, along with current Indy Lights Driver Devlin DeFrancesco possibly taking James Hinchcliffe’s #29 seat. Which if true leaves Andretti Indy Lights Bad Arse Kyle Kirkwood without a ride, not to mention Oliver Askew, but could one of these two Young Guns take over Marco Andretti’s vacated ride, seeing Mikey A’ return to five cars next year?
Dale Coyne and His Alphabet Soup Brigade
Marshall seems fairly Bullish that Dale Coyne and Company will be sporting a Brand New Driver lineup next season with Romain Grosjean leaving, and Ed Jones being Dismissed. But where it get’s interesting for Mwah is Pruett’s recent article ‘bout how Top Jimmy’ (Vasser) and James Sully’ Sullivan have already bought a brand new Dallara DW12 chassis and are intent on establishing Thar own IndyCar team possibly as soon as 2023, Inhouse at their current IMSA Sports Car facility in North Carolina. Since it would be the perfect time to debut in Indy Cars with the introduction of the new 2023 Dallara Hybrid IndyCar chassis.
Thus, could Coyne Vasser and Sullivan run potential Indy Lights Champion Kyle Kirkwood next year with Vasser and Sullivan having an option on him for 2023? Since after all Kirkwood’s competed for Vasser Sullivan’s Lexus GT Daytona squad in previous endurance events, but this is just total 100% Speculation…
Also think Pruett teased us with the possibility of The Mayor of Hinchtown landing at Dale Coyne, Arse-sumedly in the No. 18 ride, whilst Oliver Askew could also be another likely option for the team’s other drive, since I’ve got Zero Clue on who’ll fill Grosjean’s vacated seat at Coyne Ware Racing, or how many cars Coyne and “Co-Owner” Rick Ware will choose to field next year.
Ed Carpenter Racing
Whilst the #21 drive with Rinus VeeKay is “locked Down” for next year, and hopefully into the future? It’s Team Boss Fast Eddie’s Twisties’ driver Conor Daly’s seat that seems in question?, with Conor needing to keep his U.S. Air Force Funding intact.
Marshall recently scribbled a article about how Indy Lights driver David Malukas is getting interest from some IndyCar teams, most notably ECR, but Malukas wants a Fulltime Drive next year, like everybody does! Not to mention the whispers of Formula 1 Refugee Nico Hulkenberg having “chats” with the team.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
While the IndyCar Blogosphere seems to think that Jack Harvey is Andretti Autosport bound, Marshall has been saying the IndyCar Paddock seems to point at the Brit’ landing at RLLR instead, presumably as Takuma Sato’s replacement? As I can see Sato either going to Part time status or just running Indy Only, or more likely the Month of May Double in an extra RLLR chassis and then heading off to one of the Factory Acura Sports Car drives for 2023 since he’s had longtime Hondre’ backing.
Bobby Rahal has said they’d like to run three cars Fulltime next season, and it seems like the “Great Santini,” aka Santino Ferrucci has been auditioning for the proposed #45 seat for 2022 this year, albeit they just tested the Danish FIA Formula 2 Race Winner Christian Lundgaard, but I still think Ferrucci returns to IndyCar’s next year as the team’s third Fulltime driver.
Interestingly, Lundgaard is a member of the Alpine Driver Academy, which has both current Formula 1 Drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso retained, leaving little room for it’s Junior Academy Drivers to advance to F1, and now Christian will make his IndyCar debut at the Brickyard Double Header weekend on the IMS Road Course.
as of Nashville, Ferrucci currently sits 21st in the Points standings with 146, followed by Helio Castroneves in P22 with 125 and Felix Rosenqvist P23 with 118. Which makes me wonder why RLLR’s Monkeying around with Drivers if they’re so intent on keeping the #45 in the IndyCar Leaders Circle Prize Fund which pays the Top 22 Finishers $1.0 million…
Saved this one for towards the last, just to Tease Y’all! Since why anybody would want to willingly leave El Capitano’s organization is beyond me! But if Pagenaud does indeed depart for “Greener Pastures,” Huh? Then it leaves us pondering if Roger will wish to try filling a fourth seat or contract back to his “preferred” three car IndyCar entry instead?
As Penske seems to have a longtime habit of letting others in the Paddock groom potential Star Drivers and then simply Hiring them away, for whom I Don’t see who they could get for next year in this category.
But an interesting prospect would be Ricky Taylor whose driven for El Capitano before, albeit in Sports Cars, and presumably is contracted to Wayne Taylor Racing for the foreseeable future? Then again when Roger Calls, you Definitely listen! As Pruett notes that Kirkwood’s had some “Feelers” from the Penske Camp…
A.J. Foyt Enterprises
Naturally you’d Arse-sume that le Hamburgular’, nee Sebastien Bourdais will return in the No. 14 next year, but one cannot say that Dalton Kellett’s exactly lit the world on fire this season in the team’s #4 entry! As I’d like seeing Columbia’s Bad Arse Tatiana Calderon take over this seat instead, but the second Foyt seat simply seems to be driven solely by whoever can bring the most Dinero to the team.
So now the 64k Questione is will Any of this Happen? Or is your Humble No Fenders Scribe Tomaso completely Off Kilter as usual? Especially since the winds always Ah-Blowin’ mightily on Ye Isle ‘O Nofendersville Mateyss, Aye Karumba!
As Don’t forget the other Indy Lights title Contendah’ Rookie Linus Lundqvist, who I believe Marshall’s previously noted has plenty of Sponsorship backing behind him. So could Arrow McLaren SP possibly run two Swedes’ next year? Since Scuttlebutt says they’re hoping to run a third car in 2022. Or could they pull another coup by signing Kyle Kirkwood away from Andretti, Penske and Others? Stay tuned…