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.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
IndyCar drivers do their best “hey, this is what this sounds like!” imitations.
Apr 18, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT
Two practice sessions begin a new year for the WEC.
Apr 18, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT
Making the V6s louder might not be such an easy fix.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
German driver not yet happy with his own performance in China, but his long run pace suggests that a podium finish may be within his reach.
Apr 18, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
Rookie errors from Lotus driver no big deal, apparently.
Apr 18, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Mattiacci thought that job offer was a late April Fools joke at first; says that necessary changes will take place.
Apr 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
Spanish driver puts in an impressive display during practice, but warns that rain could scupper Ferrari’s chances of reaching the podium.
Apr 18, 2014, 7:30 AM EDT
Yasuhia Arai reveals some more information about Honda’s decision to return to F1 and the Japanese marque’s plans for the future.
Apr 18, 2014, 6:45 AM EDT
Hamilton keen on the team correcting handling issues before qualifying tomorrow.
Apr 18, 2014, 3:32 AM EDT
Mercedes returns to the top of the timesheets, but Ferrari and Alonso are in close company.
Apr 18, 2014, 1:45 AM EDT
Can Mercedes fight back and resume normal service?
Apr 17, 2014, 11:32 PM EDT
Spanish driver ends Mercedes streak of first place finishes, but teammate Kimi Raikkonen fails to post a time.
Apr 17, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT
You’ve heard of the wildly popular “Evolution of Dance” video on YouTube? Now there’s the Evolution of the Pit Stop.
Apr 17, 2014, 6:58 PM EDT
NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the expectations for Gene Haas as he looks to start a F1 team. The pair question whether an F1 team can be run successfully out of the United States.
Apr 17, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT
NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the emergence of some of this year’s top rookies on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America. Petty says it is time for a changing of the guard, as many of today’s most successful drivers are nearing the end of their careers.
Apr 17, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT
The latest generation of NASCAR’s fabled Alabama Gang rode again in its debut Tuesday and Wednesday at Talladega Superspeedway. Justin Allison, grandson of Donnie Allison and grandnephew of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, both original members of the Alabama Gang, took part in a two-day test of ARCA drivers at NASCAR’s largest oval track.
Apr 17, 2014, 5:32 PM EDT
Whether you like it or not, you can’t say the Ford Mustang doesn’t have staying power. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, the Mustang has become one of the premier muscle car brands ever made by Detroit.
Apr 17, 2014, 5:08 PM EDT
One of the best venues for short track racing in the country, South Boston (Va.) Speedway, will be the new home for and play host to Denny Hamlin’s annual Short Track Showdown next Thursday (April 24).
Apr 17, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT
NASCAR chairman Brian France’s unwavering stance to bring parity to the sport during his 10-year tenure is finally paying dividends.
Apr 17, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT
News and notes from the ground in China from NBCSN’s Will Buxton.
- Vettel suspects Mercedes of sandbagging during practice 0
- Mattiacci determined to turn around Ferrari’s failing season 2
- Hamilton recovers in FP2 to edge out Alonso and Rosberg 0
- Alonso fastest in first practice for Chinese GP 1
- Flashback to when a 67-second pit stop at the Indy 500 was fast vs. a modern-day F1 stop (video) 3
- IndyCar: Massive crash triggered after round of pit stops (VIDEO) (17)
- American-based F1 franchise, Haas Formula, officially introduced (9)
- Andretti drivers say GP of Long Beach should stay with IndyCar (7)
- Kurt Busch won’t soon forget Clint Bowyer’s race-ruining shove at Darlington (VIDEO) (6)
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson do it old school style in a pair of classic pickup trucks (VIDEOS) (5)