Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Silly Season update (Aug. 28)

2007 lineup
Andretti Green Racing (4)
7-Danica Patrick (Motorola, 3rd-year FT driver, 1st year with AGR). Confirmed for 2008.
11-Tony Kanaan (7-11, 5th year FT driver, all with AGR, 2004 champ). Under contract through 2008.
26-Marco Andretti (NYSE Group, 2nd year FT driver, all with AGR). Likely for 2008, although Grandpa Mario has been hinting at wanting to get Marco in the F1 ladder series.
**Update, Aug. 22: Robin Miller, who began this Marco-to-CC stuff by tossing something against the wall to see if it sticks, has said Marco is happy with AGR and staying.**
27-Dario Franchitti (Canadian Club, 5th year FT driver, all with AGR). Free Agent at the end of the year.
**Update, Aug. 28: Dario's options seem open, whether they be the IRL team or the ALMS car with AGR.**
**Update, Aug. 20: Jaime Camara's name is getting mention a lot in connection with AGR, but nothing concrete is being mentioned beyond that.**
**Update, Aug. 17: NASCAR.com and several other outlets say Dario is one of a few options for Richard Childress' Nextel Cup team for 2008, but some published reports say it's an unlikely option.**

Team Penske (2)
3-Helio Castroneves (Team Penske, 6th-year FT driver, all with Penske, 2-time I500 champ). Under contract to Penske through 2008.
**Said in early August that he would be "interested" in NASCAR (but every race driver is "interested" in other series). Helio has said he's staying with Penske, at least for next year.**
6-Sam Hornish Jr. (Team Penske, 8th-year FT driver, 4th with Penske, 3x ICS champ)
**Has been heavily rumored to be pondering NASCAR, and is running ARCA/Busch races this year**
**Aug. 26 update: Hornish says he's unhappy with the IRL in an Indianapolis Star story, but is noncommittal one way or another. Still 50/50, but seems to be tilting to NASCAR. His number will be 37 if he goes to Cup.**
**Aug. 18: Hornish says he's still 50/50 in several published reports, right before finishing 25th at Michigan in a Busch race.**
**Aug. 12: Hornish answers questions at Kentucky ... smiling, laughing, gives 5 reasons he wouldn't go to NASCAR (he gives the reasons why he wouldn't, didn't say he won't, though) ...
They are ... I couldn't have Helio for a teammate, we've got great fans in the IRL, the schedule is a little bit more over there, the Indy 500, it's not IndyCars. See it on YouTube.
**If Sam leaves, Ryan Briscoe has been mentioned as a possible replacement in several places, including Curt Cavin's blog**

Target Chip Ganassi Racing (2)
9-Scott Dixon (Target, 5th-year FT driver, all with TCGR, 2003 champ). Likely for 2008.
10-Dan Wheldon (Target, 5th-year FT driver, 2nd with TCGR, 2005 champ). Confirmed for 2008.
**Aug. 27: Chip Ganassi has said Wheldon will remain with TCGR's IndyCar team for 2008.**
**Aug. 13: According to Motorsport.com, Indy Pro Series points leader Alex Lloyd will test with TCGR at Sebring later this week. Does this portend a future ride in a red car?** (thanks to Jeff Ianucci at MyNameIsIRL for the link & info).

Rahal Letterman Racing (2)
8-Scott Sharp (Patron, 12th-year FT driver, 1st with RLR, 1996 champ). Will be at RLR as long as Patron has the $
17-Ryan Hunter-Reay (Ethanol, rookie, former CC driver). Replaced Jeff Simmons at RLR before Mid-Ohio race. Will be wih RLR at least through the end of the year. Will likely be the ICS Rookie of the Year.
**Aug. 18: A Mexican CC-fan site is trotting out the annual CC-fan fantasy that RLR is considering jumping the pond to CC, with Ethanol in tow. Again, no legitimate sources have corroborated it, so consider it a fan fantasy until future notice. Robin Miller seems to think there's no way it happens. Aug. 27 update: Scott Roembke said that fantasy was a bunch of people putting 2 + 2 together and equaling 6. RLR is staying in the IRL.**

Panther Racing (2)
4-Vitor Meira (Delphi, 6th-year FT driver, 2nd with Panther). Hard-luck driver hasn't had much luck this year.
55-Kosuke Matsuura (Panasonic, 4th-year FT driver, 1st with Panther). May be on his way out, with Hideki Mutoh waiting in the wings.
**60-Hideki Mutoh is slated to run the season-ender at Chicago, as announced in a presser at Mid-Ohio. May jump into Super Aguri seat currently held by Matsuura in 2008**

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (2)
5-Sarah Fisher (AAMCO, 6th FT season, 2nd with D&R). Has sponsorships from AAMCO and AAA.
**Aug. 11: Fisher says in AP article that D&R is going down to one car next year, and it would be difficult for her to sell herself given her performances this year. But with her gaining sponsorship from AAMCO and AAA, I would anticipate she wouldn't have much difficulty finding a ride. Later in the weekend, she said she was misquoted, but it was also stated that D&R *is* considering dropping one of its two entries for 2008.**
15-Buddy Rice (RollCoater, 6th-year FT driver, 1st with D&R). Has had a lot of success this season, given the fact that D&R generally has struggled.

Vision Racing (3)
2-Tomas Scheckter (Joost, 6th-year FT driver, 2nd with Vision). Has been increasingly stronger. If someone is going to bring Vision its first win, this guy will likely be it. However, he might be snooping around, or possibly be the odd man out of Vision goes to two cars, according to some observers.
20-Ed Carpenter (Hitachi Power Tools, 4th-year FT driver, 3rd with Vision). Confirmed for 2008. I'd expect he'll have a ride at Vision as long as he wants one.
22-A.J. Foyt IV (Indy Vision, 4th-year FT driver, 1st with Vision). Third at Kentucky won't hurt his chances, but he is a free agent until funding can be found.
**Aug. 27 update: Only one car is a definite for Vision next year (Carpenter's). The other two drivers have been told they can look for other opportunities, according to the Indy Star. TG would like to field three cars, but it'll depend on funding.**
**Aug. 20 update: A couple of published stories quoted TG as considering going to a two-car team next year if sponsorship can't be found for the third car. Scheckter & Carpenter currently have sponsored rides, but speculation has centered on Scheckter leaving if there is contraction. In his Aug. 20 blog, Curt Cavin said he's not ready to say Scheckter is out, but there could be some shuffling in the works.**

A.J. Foyt Racing (1)
14-Darren Manning (ABC Supply, 3rd-year FT driver). Contract extended through 2008.
**Update Aug. 27: Foyt is exploring the option of adding a second car, pending funding.**

**Part-Time Entries**
SAMAX Racing (1)
23-Milka Duno (Citgo - rookie). Duno is on probation. She has run six races of an initially-planned 10-race part-time schedule. She skipped Kentucky to film Speed Racer. Who knows what SAMAX's plans are for next year.

Roth Racing (2)
25-Marty Roth: Has landed sponsorship from Dussault Apparel for the season finale at Chicagoland. Also slated to run Belle Isle, according to the Aug. 1 Detroit Free Press.
73-P.J. Chesson: Will run Chicagoland with Dussault Apparel sponsorship.
**Aug. 22: P.J. Chesson joins the team for Chicago.**
**Roth Racing is planning to run the full 2008 schedule as a two-car team, according to a team press release.**

Racing Professionals (1)
Jon Herb: Has stated he's trying to squirrel together a sponsorship package for Chicagoland. Plans to race.

Beck Racing (1)
Alex Barron: Although Beck ran some early-season events, the Beck machine hasn't been seen since Indy.

With Mutoh, Roth's two cars, Herb's one car and the Duno car, the car count could hit 23 for the Chicagoland race. Curt Cavin, in his Aug. 8 Indy Star blog, said he expects 22 cars for Chicagoland, but it appears 23 might be entered.

Fernandez Racing: From Curt Cavin's blog (8/8/2007), Adrian Fernandez's team still has its IndyCar equipment and Tom Anderson is apparently interested in a return to the IRL, but things "haven't been worked out." Cavin says on Aug. 13 that he knows of two individuals to keep an eye on for new 2008 teams, but hasn't seen any sign of $$ backing them.

Kingdom Racing announced its plans to field a team for 2008 on Aug. 16. Led by Houston businessman George Del Canto, the team plans to be based on a Christian philosophy, with several pastors and Christian leaders on the board of directors.

PDM Racing would like to run a partial season of ovals in 2008 and become full-time in 2009. It would be more than good to see this longtime program back in the ICS full-time.

Cheever Racing ... the Aug. 28 IRL press release quotes Eddie's nephew Richard Antinucci as looking to get into the ICS (and get the team back into the ICS) long-term, if, of course, the $$ comes together.

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