As Who’s left to be included upon Santa’s Naughty or Nice list?
Yeah, like I said previously. This is just what
I tend to loosely recall timewise, stretching deep into the Off-season! And
after Callum Ilott’s Firing, Err “Mutual Parting” from JHR, there were five
unconfirmed seats with three teams remaining as of Veteran’s Day.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR)
This is the most confounding driver signing to
Mwah. As I still don’t know where Pietro Fittipaldi as Jack Harvey’s
replacement in RLLR’s No. 30 came from? Since I thought it was simply a
formality before Juri Vips was announced as it’s new chauffeur.
But it appears it was a sponsorship based
decision, with the Fittipaldi name carrying vastly more clout vs. Vips. Not to
mention Pietro’s Oval experience, and perceived prowess set to help the team
solve it’s weakest racing parameter.
And although I thought I’d read that Graham
Rahal has re-upped for at least the 2024 season. Racer’s Marshall Pruett said
ah Contrair you Silly blogger! Noting how de facto team leader Graham hadn’t
been announced publicly yet, albeit I’d say this is just a formality, Wee Wee?
Indeed, RLLR announced that Graham has signed a new
multi-year contract extension on November 13th…
Christian Lundgrd returns for at least one more
year, with the team signing Vips as a reserve driver. And Bobby Rahal saying He’d
like to run the Estonian as a fourth entry in selected events next year.
Along with being RLLR’s “Insurance policy” for
either Graham’s retirement or Lungaard being poached by a rival team for 2025.
Since Pruett thinks it’s only a formality for Vips to be a Fulltime IndyCar
Only Problema with running vips next year is
where would RLLR”s fourth Honda engine come from? Since theoretically if
Andretti keeps it’s four Honda engine leases next year. Then HRC US (Honda
Racing Corporation U.S.) is already stretched to capacity with 16 Full-season
Thus as previously noted, Andretti still holds
the key to it’s fourth engine lease. With everyone waiting to see if they’ll
use it in some capacity next year?
Ed Carpenter Racing
Unlike JHR, Fast Eddie’, aka Ed Carpenter gave
2023 ECR No. 20 IndyCar driver Conor Daly His “Pink Slip” during the season,
following the Detroit race. With The Dude! Aka Ryan Hunter-Reay replacing Daly
for the remainder of the season in an attempt to help ECR fix their wandering
ECR subsequently held an Off-season Shootout
between Oliver Askew and reigning Indy NXT Champion Christian Rasmussen to fill
the vacated No. 20 seat. And although I’m not surprised. Naturally I’m disappointed
that Rasmussen who “won” the drive is only getting a partial season as a “Twisties”
Specialist. Along with the third Indianapolis 500 seat next May.
As the 23yr old Dane’ will share the ride with
His Boss Ed Carpenter running the Ovals. With ECR shuttering Ed’s No. 33 Ovals
Rasmussen’s part time status makes me think He’ll
be hard pressed to pull off an Marcus Armstrong and win 2024 IndyCar Rookie Of
the Year Honours running the Street Circuits and Road Courses only vs. Ganassi’s
Full-season rookie Linus Lundqvist…
While “Count Dracula”, aka Rinus VeeKay will
pilot the No. 21 ECR entry fulltime in what I believe is the final year of His
Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR)
Have already pontificated about the nasty
Firing of Callum Ilott in order to make way for Romain Grosjean to fill His
seat next year here upon No Fenders
And thus I’m very unhappy with Riccardo Juncos right now, and will be hard pressed to root for this upstart Minnowesqe IndyCar team next year! Other than I cannot wait to “See” what happens when Romain gives Argentine “golden boy” Augustin Canapino the Chrome Horn treatment next year…
A.J. Foyt Enterprises
This is one of the two remaining IndyCar teams
that hasn’t solidified it’s 2024 drivers lineup. As both Santino Ferrucci and
Benjamin Pederson are considered to be in the “Frame” to remain with the team.
But naturally both drivers will need to bring some sort of budget with them.
Meanwhile, we’re All Ah-Waitin’ to see how the
new Foyt-Penske technical alliance partnership works out and whether or not
this will influence who the team ultimately decides to put behind the wheel of
it’s Nos. 14-55entries next year.
As much as I’d love to see Callum Ilott filling
a third Foyt entry for a season, before moving onto “Greener” pastures, I Don’t
expect this to happen…
Meanwhile, Larry foyt told Pruett that the team’s
focused upon retaining Ferrucci in the No. 14 Fulltime next year, but wouldn’t be
drawn upon Pederson’s status in the No. 55. With Pruett noting if the most
loathed IndyCar driver of last season doesn’t return, then look for a well
funded replacement. Meaning Sting Ray Robb, Devlin DeFrancesco or Gasp! Even
perhaps Enzo fittipaldi could wind up there?
Although it sounds like Robb has the inside track
for the “Double Nickel” #55 seat…
Dale Coyne Racing (DCR)
Pruett also noted in His November 3rd Silly
Season update. It’s Happy Hunting Grounds for the Illinois team owner. With
Dale having reverted back to His traditional status of being the last to pick ‘n
choose and announce who His newest drivers will be. And with two seats available
at DCR, the field’s wide open for who’ll land the two coveted IndyCar seats
Sting Ray Robb who drove for Coyne’s No. 51
with Rick Ware Racing entry this season is rumoured to have a significant
budget of some $9m available! While former Andretti driver Sparky’, aka Devlin
DeFrancesco also has money to bring to the table. With current FIA Formula 2
driver Enzo Fittipaldi, younger brother of Pietro testing an Coyne IndyCar at
Sebring in November.
Current Indy NXT driver Jacob Abel tested first
for Coyne (DCR) on November 6th, running a single day test. His first outing in
an IndyCar. Although Abel’s test was just a familiarization outing, with Jacob
planning to continue in Indy NXT next year.
The following day at Sebring, Enzo shared the
track with older brother Pietro, with just the two Fittipaldi brothers testing
together. With Enzo getting His first taste in an IndyCar. While Pietro reacclimatized
Himself to Indy Cars with RLLR after last racing for DCR in 2021…
DCR Development Driver Danial Frost is also a possible
candidate for one of Coyne’s Indy Cars. Whilst reigning FIA Formula 2 champion
Theo Pourchaire is also interested in racing in Indy Cars.
And that’s before we even get to Messer Ilott’s availability, or Jack Harvey sniffing round…