INDIANAPOLIS, IN- It was announced Friday night that National Guard will leave Panther Racing at the end of the 2013 Izod IndyCar Series season and join Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing for 2014 and beyond.
They’ve been with Panther since 2009 as a primary sponsor the last five seasons but will take on a full season at RLL on the No. 15 Honda driven by Graham Rahal.
That’s huge news for RLL as this deal could potentially lead to a third car with the organization next season. That obviously all depends on if James Jakes returns to the team next year as he has full funding by Acorn Stairlifts.
It’s in Jakes’ best interest to return as he had one of his best years ever in IndyCar as he sits 19th in points after earning his first top five of his three year career in 2013. He also has three top 10′s this year to go along with nine laps led.
If a deal can be made with Jakes and RLL, which seems likely, then look for the organization to add a third full-time car.
They already have the funding as Midas, Big O Tires, Valvoline and Blu e Cigs which were all on Rahal’s car this year could move to another car within the RLL stable. They ran three cars in select races this year and tried to make it work at Indy but it was the lone car that didn’t make this year’s race. This deal brings a lot more money and allows all three cars fully funded for 2014 and beyond.
This is a huge win for RLL.
Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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