Dec 17, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
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.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:30 PM EST
When he went looking for a new crew chief to replace the soon-to-be departing Steve Letarte, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ultimately didn’t have to look very far.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:00 PM EST
Kasey Kahne looks for success with new crew chief… and another Super Bowl for his Seahawks.
Jan 29, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway was arrested last week and charged with indecent exposure and lewdness.
Jan 29, 2015, 7:09 PM EST
Conor Daly finally set for an IndyCar test this offseason, with SPM.
Jan 29, 2015, 6:33 PM EST
After coming so close last season, Ryan Newman is ready to fight for the Sprint Cup championship in 2015 — and he’s bringing his brass knuckles to give him a hand.
Jan 29, 2015, 6:01 PM EST
Car owner Rick Hendrick said he consulted with Jeff Gordon about if to retire the No. 24 after this season.
Jan 29, 2015, 5:42 PM EST
One week after announcing he was retiring after the 2015 season, Jeff Gordon told NASCAR America that he wants to win his final Daytona 500 and also walk away with his fifth career Sprint Cup championship.
Jan 29, 2015, 4:42 PM EST
IndyCar’s Brasilia, Brazil race set for March 8 has been canceled.
Jan 29, 2015, 4:35 PM EST
Jimmie Johnson will again embark on a quest for his seventh Cup title, but he acknowledged and embraced Thursday he’s not the story at Hendrick Motorsports for 2015.
Rick Hendrick: No pressure on Jeff Gordon in final season, he just has to win 14 races and championship
Jan 29, 2015, 4:12 PM EST
There’s nothing like putting a little pressure on a guy, especially in his final season. Team owner Rick Hendrick expects Jeff Gordon to win 14 races and the championship in 2015!
Jan 29, 2015, 4:00 PM EST
Today’s NASCAR AMERICA runs for an hour and has a heavy No. 24 theme.
Jan 29, 2015, 3:15 PM EST
Ganassi, Sabates praise McMurray’s start to 2015.
Jan 29, 2015, 2:41 PM EST
Although he grew up a Jeff Gordon fan and was counseled by Gordon on his future, Kyle Larson will watch someone else drive the No. 24.
Jan 29, 2015, 2:35 PM EST
Fresh off a team win in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Kyle Larson not only is keeping time better, he says it’s also time to win some races and contend for the Sprint Cup championship in 2015.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:52 PM EST
The 2014 Xfinity Series champion is announced as Jeff Gordon’s successor a day before his father, Bill Elliott, is inducted in the Hall of Fame.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:00 PM EST
British youngster will combine this role with a full season in GP2 with DAMS.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:10 PM EST
The 2014 Xfinity Series champion will make his Sprint Cup debut in March before moving full time to NASCAR’s premier series in 2016.
Dover Motorsports Inc. releases earnings report, sets sale of Nashville Superspeedway for end of February
Jan 29, 2015, 11:51 AM EST
Dover Motorsports Inc., one of only two independent track ownership groups in NASCAR, released its fourth quarter and yearly earnings report on Thursday. That included significant news on the pending sale of the DMI-owned Nashville Superspeedway.
Video from NASCAR America
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- Rick Hendrick: No pressure on Jeff Gordon in final season, he just has to win 14 races and championship 4
- Column: Chase Elliott’s promotion perfectly timed for NASCAR 10
- Chase Elliott will replace Jeff Gordon as No. 24 driver next season 5
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