Dec 17, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT
We did this on Monday for Formula One, and now with most of the top seats filled in IndyCar, here’s a look at its remaining free agent pool for 2014. Only four to potentially six full-time seats remain to be filled (Barracuda, second cars for KV, RLL and Coyne, with Panther, Dragon and Dreyer & Reinbold statuses to be determined).
UPDATE, 5:00 p.m. ET: Take Takuma Sato off the free agent board as his return with A.J. Foyt Racing was confirmed this afternoon.
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, 13th in 2013
- GOOD: Her seemingly never-ending positive attitude, high paddock support, consistent improvement and strong finish to 2013 has boosted her stock after her first three years had more valleys than peaks.
- BAD: A liability on ovals, even though she has made some strides on them in 2013.
- VERDICT: With the continued support of her partners, who would likely seek a minority ownership stake in a team’s second car, de Silvestro will land in one of the remaining second seats. Coyne more likely than RLL or KV, though, at this stage.
E.J. VISO, 15th in 2013
- GOOD: Has really, really calmed down on track the last three years with far fewer accidents after denting his reputation his first few years in the series.
- BAD: Has more or less gone silent, save for a handful of Instagram posts and maybe one news report or two, since missing the season finale at Fontana.
- VERDICT: Viso might not have enough of a budget for IndyCar next year anyway. A move to sports cars seems probable.
JAMES JAKES, 19th in 2013
- GOOD: Quick on his day and brings a healthy budget to any available seat.
- BAD: No one would accuse him of being the hardest worker in IndyCar.
- VERDICT: Like de Silvestro, figures to land somewhere depending on where the dollars and chips may fall.
TRISTAN VAUTIER, 20th in 2013
- GOOD: Unfulfilled potential after three great years in ladder series, the pace to match and a very positive attitude.
- BAD: Trial-by-fire as a rookie led to a lot of mistakes in 2013.
- VERDICT: Likely out for 2014, but could re-emerge as a one-off later in the year.
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, 21st in 2013
- GOOD: Had some great qualifying efforts early in the year.
- BAD: Dwelled in anonymity the rest of the year.
- VERDICT: With two other Colombians on the grid in 2014, hard to see where Seb junior fits unless Dragon continues for a handful of events.
ORIOL SERVIA, 22nd in 2013
- GOOD: IndyCar’s most underrated shoe. Consistent, quick, dependable, and an asset to any team he would join.
- BAD: Flies so far under the radar that TV cameras often miss him. And has a horrible streak of driving for teams that ultimately run out of funding.
- VERDICT: If talent alone merited a spot, Servia’s place would be set. Alas, it’s not.
ALEX TAGLIANI, 24th in 2013
- GOOD: Veteran experience, quick on his day, good technical feedback.
- BAD: Still makes more mistakes than he probably should.
- VERDICT: With Ganassi spot gone, sports cars almost certainly beckons. Although it would not surprise me to see him in Indianapolis 500 or Toronto one-offs.
JR HILDEBRAND, 25th in 2013
- GOOD: We forget he dominated an Indy Lights field in 2009 with 13 future IndyCar drivers in it. We also forget he was 11th in the 2012 points ahead of 13 other full-timers. Scored Panther’s best result of 2013, a forgotten fifth at Long Beach.
- BAD: Panther’s dismissal of him left a pox on his reputation.
- VERDICT: Good enough to merit a second chance at a proper operation, although Bryan Herta Autosport and Barracuda Racing appears his only shot at the moment.
- Ana Beatriz: Adopting another name, Bia Figueiredo, and exploring sports car racing. Doubtful she’ll have another IndyCar opportunity anytime soon.
- Luca Filippi: Front-runner at Barracuda if funding issues don’t enter the equation, and could be placed elsewhere by Honda if he fails to land there.
- Pippa Mann: As ever, persistently working to secure funding for future races, likely on ovals as she raced in 2013.
- James Davison: Has a full-time sports car ride with TRG’s Aston Martin Vantage, but is in play for one Indianapolis 500 seat and perhaps more.
- Stefan Wilson: Minimal news yet for Justin’s younger brother but we need some “Bromates” action back in IndyCar at some point.
- Conor Daly: The European exploration nearing an end, Daly has set his sights on IndyCar. Talent would do it, but he needs to find funding to put it all together.
- Townsend Bell: Like Davison, has a full-time sports car ride with Level 5’s Ferrari 458. Will probably do his usual Indianapolis 500-only program.
- Katherine Legge: Like Davison and Bell, committed to the TUDOR Championship with the DeltaWing, but would welcome another IndyCar chance if the funding’s there.
- Buddy Lazier: Seems set for another Indianapolis 500 program.
- Sam Bird: Rumored by RACER to make the switch to IndyCar, Bird’s starred in GP2 but lacks the budget needed for F1. It could be viable in IndyCar.
- Sage Karam: The Indy Lights champion has some funding and is still working to find more for the step up.
- Mikael Grenier: Young French-Canadian who tested for KV in November is not particularly likely to find the budget needed for a series debut.
- Jack Hawksworth: Will test for Dale Coyne Racing this week, which already is his second in an IndyCar. The Englishman could use more seasoning, but may make the jump if his management team finds the funding.
- Arie Luyendyk Jr.: Seems bullish on an IndyCar return and has tested once for Coyne already. If a full-season ride doesn’t happen, a month of May program could.
- Francesco Dracone/Giuseppe Cipriani: They either have tested or will test for Coyne. Anything beyond that for either of them would be a serious stretch.
- A.N. Other: There’s always at least one other driver completely out of the woodwork that could appear, so reserving this bullet point for them.
Oct 23, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Brendan Gaughan back for another year with RCR in XFINITY.
Oct 23, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Sergio Perez, Felipe Massa and Esteban Gutierrez signed up for COTA fan forum.
Oct 23, 2014, 9:56 AM EDT
Wurth renews for multiyear deal.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:35 PM EDT
Brad Keselowski is flattered people might compare him with the late Dale Earnhardt, but he’ll be the first to say he’s not the new Intimidator in NASCAR.
Oct 22, 2014, 8:18 PM EDT
Perhaps the greatest collection of original Indianapolis 500 pace cars will soon be on display at an upcoming car show in suburban Chicago.
Oct 22, 2014, 7:36 PM EDT
For most Canadians, their homebrewed beer choice is typically Labatts or Molson. But countryman and IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe is starting to get some traction with his own beer brand, Hinchtown Hammer Down (HHD).
Oct 22, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT
On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Parker Kligerman took a spin around Martinsville Speedway in the NBC race simulator to show why the paper-clip shaped track can be extremely difficult.
Oct 22, 2014, 4:13 PM EDT
In a stunning move that could potentially threaten his bid for a record-extending 17th NHRA Funny Car championship, John Force announced Wednesday that veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock has resigned, effective immediately.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
Crew chiefs, road crews for Nos. 10 and 41 Stewart-Haas Racing cars will swap starting at Texas.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT
More murky messaging from Leafield as Caterham’s future hangs in the balance.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
When you drive a car that produces nearly 10,000 horsepower and reaches speeds approaching 330 mph, a hurricane with wind speeds over 100 mph is nothing. That was the case Sunday for NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
Ken Block, Matthew Wilson make WRC returns for this weekend’s Rally Spain.
Oct 22, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT
Sixteen-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force is expected to make a major announcement concerning John Force Racing later Tuesday afternoon.
Oct 22, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT
Kurt Busch’s 2015 paint scheme adds more red.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT
Lotus will have a new sponsor for Austin that’s beginning, but called Endless.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:06 AM EDT
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be featured for UPMC campaign that seeks to change the conversation about concussions.
Oct 22, 2014, 10:18 AM EDT
Series of competition changes announced by NASCAR on Wednesday.
Oct 22, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT
Sam Michael to leave McLaren at year’s end, the team confirms.
Oct 21, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
The championship contender talks about his reputation during a Monday night appearance at Texas Motor Speedway.
Oct 21, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
As NASCAR AMERICA’s Kyle Petty explains, the new Chase format has created something that NASCAR hasn’t seen before.
Video from NASCAR America
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- NASCAR AMERICA: Jeff Gordon’s “Drive For Five” continues at Martinsville (VIDEO) 0
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