BATESVILLE, Ind. — Blog by Race Chaser Online Open Wheel Correspondent Ryan Kent Jr. — Indy Lights photo —
6 months is just far, far to long to wait for IndyCar drivers. However, I think it may be the necessary amount of time considering the potentially limitless driver changes that we could see next year in both IndyCar and Indy Lights.
Monday, Carlin Racing — a European based junior race team — announced they would field a 2 car full time effort in the IndyCar ladder system starting in 2015. Josef Newgarden, Sebastian Vettel, Will Power and many other world championship level drivers have driven a Carlin machine.
Carlin said that the reasoning for the jump to the Mazda Road to Indy was fueled by the highly anticipated IL-15 car that the series will run starting next season. This adds another championship caliber team to the likes of Andretti Autosport, Schmidt Peterson, and defending champion Belardi Autosport.
IndyCar, on the other hand, could for the first time in years see a 26+ car field every weekend. Looking back at last season, there were 22 regular names on the starting grid every time out. With Penske Racing adding an additional seat in Simon Pagenuad, Andretti still possibly looking at another full time ride, Schmidt with an open seat, Rahal possibly looking at another seat, an opening at Ganassi, the CFH merger possibly birthing a third ride, and A.J. Foyt adding an additional seat — it’s going to be a crazy Silly Season!
And then think — all of these teams could add yet another driver for the 500! We could have Bump Day for the first time in what seems like forever!
With young guns like Sage Karam, Zach Veach, Stefan Wilson looking for rides among veteran names like JR Hildebrand, Conor Daly, and Simona De Silvestro — not to mention foreign names like Alexander Rossi, Daniel Abt, and a driver who is looking towards IndyCar for 2015 in Jean-Eric Vergne — the garage is full of drivers who have plenty of talent.
The main issue with IndyCar right now is that sponsors don’t have the reasoning to pay more than 15 million dollars to sponsor a driver for a season-long campaign. With the lack of attention on the TV side, and hardly improving (if you can call it improving) attendance at every race except the 500, sponsors just don’t see eye to eye with what the expectation is, and what they’re actually getting in the end.
IndyCar.com announced just a handful of days ago that TV ratings had gone up slightly, which is obviously a good thing for the sport. So with at least 5 IndyCar full time seats open and an array of drivers that are more than eligible, who do you think will end up where?
We’re interested to know your thoughts — if you’ve got a response to this blog, let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter at @RaceChaserNews or @RyanKentJrTV! Keep it family friendly please!