Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 9/10/14
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Graham Rahal’s announcement last Wednesday that he would be signing with his dads team Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan gave the IZOD IndyCar Series its 21st full-time driver for 2013. There are still five rides left open that’s yet to be filled with a possibility of an extra 11 cars available if drivers can find funding. I currently have eight drivers that were racing full-time last  year without rides, but two of them are close to signing with their former teams and one other has a deal with an engine manufacturer and is just waiting for a ride or sponsor. I wouldn’t be surprised if the costs of parts go down just a little bit to see 28-30 cars on the grid every weekend outside of the Indianapolis 500 with the possibility of more in 2014. There are plenty of talented drivers around and now that we’ve had a year with this car it’s going to open up more cars and engines to teams. The series has certainly shot themselves in the foot with all the bad press releases and firing of Randy Bernard. It’s going to make it difficult for drivers to find full funding as sponsors still don’t know a plan for the series, but if one starts to develop I think you will see rides fill up quickly. I would suspect Justin Wilson and Oriol Servia to be the last two guys to sign before the new year to give 23 full-time driver and car combinations for ‘13. Wilson’s deal with Dale Coyne Racing is all but done as likewise for Servia with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing with their partnership with Panther. The two drove for those teams last year and had success and both parties want a return. I do believe you will see Rubens Barrichello sign with Schmidt Motorsports in a second car as he will become teammates with Simon Pagenaud. Barrichello has a deal with Honda as they have a history dating back to his Formula One days. They are already providing the engine; he just needs a car and Schmidt wants him. They’ve told me they want to do this right and not just throw him in a car so I suspect finding a crew, engineer, and sponsorship is the only thing holding this up. Expect this to happen but after January 1st. The other rides that will be filled are the No. 14 with A.J. Foyt Enterprises and the No. 38 Ganassi Racing Hondas. Foyt has some drivers in mind and has sponsorship secured with ABC Supply Co. He’s just weighing his options. He could bring Mike Conway back, but Foyt wants to win a drivers title and Conway won’t race on ovals. That doesn’t seem likely unless he wants to bring the No. 41 team out for a full season and have Conway and Wade Cunningham split the ride. Ganassi has been looking at Barrichello and other drivers. I can honestly see rookie Conor Daly taking this seat if he can bring the funding as he’s a young very talented second-generation driver without a ride next season. Either way both of these rides will be filled and should give the series 26 full-time rides at least for ‘13. The rest of the rides are all up for who can bring sponsorship money. RLL said they’d love to have a second car, but currently lack the funding. Same with Coyne who wants to fill his second seat as James Jakes was let go. They want a teammate for Wilson and would love to fill it. Barracuda Autosport (formerly Herta) is in talks to wanting a second car while Newman/Hass has been talking about a return to racing as well. Don’t count out Sarah Fisher/Hartman Racing as they could sign a James Jakes or Ryan Briscoe to bring funding and start a second team as well. I can see a couple of these teams finding the funding to get the circuit to having 28 full-time cars with the possibility to more. Certainly, the state of the series and a plan needs to get out there soon so these teams and drivers can secure funding. I don’t blame sponsors for being a little wary on getting involved as the series’ history of shooting themselves in the foot is out there. Expect silly season to go all the way up to March to fill these seats. Confirmed Rides: Team Penske- Chevrolet 3 Helio Castroneves 12 Will Power Panther- Chevrolet 4 J.R. Hildrbrand Dragon Racing- Chevrolet 6 Katherine Legge 7 Sebastien Bourdais KV Racing- Chevrolet 11 Tony Kanaan 78 Simona de Silvestro Andretti Autosport- Chevrolet 25 Marco Andretti 27 James Hinchcliffe 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay AFS Racing- Chevrolet 17 Sebastian Saveedra Ed Carpenter Racing- Chevrolet 20 Ed Carpenter Ganassi Racing- Honda 9 Scott Dixon 10 Dario Franchitti 83 Charlie Kimball Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan- Honda 15 Graham Rahal Sarah Fisher/Hartman Racing- Honda 67 Josef Newgarden Sam Schmidt Motorsports- Honda 77 Simon Pagenaud Barracuda Networks Autosport- Honda 98 Alex Tagliani Open Rides: Team Penske- Chevrolet Ganassi Racing- Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises- Honda Dale Coyne Racing- Honda Dale Coyne Racing- Honda Dreyer & Reinbold/Panther- Chevrolet Other Car Possibilities: Sam Schmidt Motorsports- Honda Barracuda Networks Autosport- Honda Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan- Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises- Honda Sarah Fisher/Hartman Racing- Honda Andretti Autosport- Chevrolet Newman/Hass Team Viso Free Agents: Ryan Briscoe Rubens Barrichello Takuma Sato James Jakes E.J. Viso Mike Conway Wade Cunningham Pippa Mann Vitor Meira Buddy Rice The post IndyCar: Silly Season Update for 2013 appeared first on Race Review Online.
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