Looks like Honda’s ready to Dominate the Grid once again with 15+ entries…
Now that the 2021 IndyCar season’s over, I suppose all that’s left is who’ll end up where when we begin racing again at St Pete on February 27, 2022. Which at least it’s only a five monthsOffseason this time, compared to our typical 6-7 Months Snoozers!
Alas, here’s what us lowly Bloggers do during the dreaded Offseason, we Madly Gesticulate like All Bench Racers do! As this is just an attempt of updating what I’ve previously scribbled here upon No Fenders in early August…
As we All know, two of the worst kept secrets have since been confirmed. One a week prior to Long Beach when Ryan Hunter-Reay was dismissed from his long tenure at Andretti Autosport to make way for Romain Grosjean. And the other announcement at Meyer Shank Racing, confirming simon Pagenaud as Helio Castroneves team-mate just some 36 hours after Long Beach as the departing Jack Harvey’s replacement.
Thus continuing on with my No Fenders 2 Part Harmony, Here’s a quick rundown on what’s been Confirmed Driver-wise for 2022 so far.
(2) Arrow McLaren SP: #5 Pato O’Ward, #7 Felix Rosenqvist; (2) Ed Carpenter Racing: #20 Ed Carpenter, #21 Rinus VeeKay; (1) Juncos Hollinger Racing: #77 R-Callum Ilott; (3) Team Penske: #2 Josef Newgarden, #3 Scott McLaughlin, #12 Will Power.
(R = Rookie)
(3) Andretti Autosport: #26 Colton Herta, #27 Alexander Rossi, #28 Romain Grosjean; (4) Chip Ganassi Racing: #8 Marcus Ericsson, #9 Scott Dixon, #10 Alex Palou, #48 Jimmie Johnson/Tony Kanaan; (2) Meyer Shank Racing: #06 Helio Castroneves, #60 Simon Pagenaud; (1) Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: #15 Graham Rahal.
Hence by my very Quick, Unofficial count, this gives us 8 Chevy and 10 Honda runners equaling 18 entries currently confirmed. Out of the presumably minimum 27 Car count next season, leaving us with nine Seats available. Which I’ll just Jot my remaining first impressions below.
Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
(1) #29 TBA
It seems a foregone conclusion that The Mayor ‘O Hinchtown’, aka James Hinchcliffe Has left The Building, i.e.; Departed Andretti Autosport’s IndyCar team, and we’re All just ah-Waitin’ the next glossy, Snap Happy Press release announcing that fellow Hoser’, Err Kuhnuck Devlin DeFrancesco who’s just concluded his Rookie Indy Lights campaign will move up to IndyCar’s for 2022.
Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan
(1) #18 TBA
I’ll stick with my earlier speculation (For the moment) that Kyle Kirkwood, having now won the 2021 Indy Lights Championship will fill this seat. Even though Mikey A’ (Andretti) has said he really wants to keep Kirkwood who’s “The Real Deal!” Uh Duh, Mikey! Who holds an Option on him following his Indy Lights campaign, even though He Doesn’t have any IndyCar seats available for the Yank. But it’ll be a Crime if Kirkwood Doesn’t get a Full Season ride in Indy Cars next year!
On an interesting Sidenote, Don’t know if Y’all saw the recent conjecture over Toyota possibly becoming the long sought after third IndyCar engine manufacturer beginning in the 2023 2.4-litre V-6 Turbo Hybrid era? As could a future Vasser Sullivan Racing IndyCar entity be the Kickoff team to launch such an effort, Who knows? And surely Andretti, and more importantly Honda wouldn’t want to lose the services of Kirkwood, Righto?
Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing
(2) #51 TBA, #52 TBA
With No Disrespect towards Taku-san’, aka Takuma Sato, who I’m a Huge Fan of! Why would Dale Coyne and his Assorted Cast ‘O Merrymen choose the 44yr old Japanese driver over the younger 34yr old Kuhnuck’ James Hinchcliffe? Other than I suppose Sato’s name has more “star Power” due to his being a Two-times Indianapolis 500 winner, not to mention his Honda ties. But it’s just a Stop Gap move at best, unless Dale Coyne’s truly Happy with his never ending revolving Merry Go Round Driver Factory model, eh?
No idea if the No. 52 with Co-Owner Rick Ware’s son Cody, who’s supposedly focusing upon his Journeyman RASSCAR’ Career will return to the cockpit again next year? But I think they want to check off some ‘lil ‘Ol Oval race at 16th and Georgetown. Or if somebody else will make limited appearances aboard it?
Oh Shit! As I really need to Stop thinking about this! But two more names for CWR’s “lead” No. 51 car just came to thoust Tip of Thy Tongue. Since Dale Coyne seems to fancy European lads’, why not either Linus Lundqvist who just finished third Overall in Indy Lights, or perhaps “Poach” Christian Lundgaard?
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
(2) #30 TBA, #45 TBA
This is probably one of the more coveted seats on the grid that we’re All Ah-Waitin’ to “See” who fills RLLR’s third No. 45 entry. As it seems only a matter of time until Jack Bloody Nige! Harvey’s confirmed as Takuma Sato’s replacement in the No. 30, currently the team’s second entry.
Believe that Hy-Bee the Midwest Grocery Chain that’s also the title sponsor of the forthcoming Iowa Double Header will be the #45’s primary sponsor. And I’m left wondering if it’s essential for them to have an American Driver onboard?
Since after all, once again, wouldn’t Hinch’ be the perfect fit for this seat? Even though I’d like to see Oliver Askew land the ride, not sure he or Thee Great Santini’, nee Santino Ferrucci have done enough to close thou Dealio?
And now pretty sure I just heard IndyStar’s Nathan Browne note that Ferrucci’s claimed he’s no longer in the Frame for the ride…
And Thar Yuhs Have it Ladies and Germ! For the previous 2022 Bowtie Brigade Silly Season Volume 2 edition, please visit the following No Fenders link.