Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Silly Season update: March 12

The short version
Confirmed/likely IRL FULL-TIME returnees (17-18 full-time cars)
AGR (4): 7-Danica Patrick, 11-Tony Kanaan, 26-Marco Andretti, 27-Hideki Mutoh
D&R (2): 15-Buddy Rice, 23-Milka Duno/Townsend Bell
Foyt (1): 14-Darren Manning
Ganassi (2): 9-Scott Dixon, 10-Dan Wheldon
Panther (1): 4-Vitor Meira
Penske (2): 3-Helio Castroneves, 6-Ryan Briscoe
RLR (1): 17-Ryan Hunter-Reay
Roth (2): 24-Jay Howard, 25-Marty Roth
Vision (3): 2-A.J. Foyt IV, 20-Ed Carpenter, 22?-Alex Lloyd
Champ Car teams (7 confirmed cars, 9 likely cars)
*-Confirmed team
*Conquest (2): Franck Perera, TBA (Simon Pagenaud?)
*KV (formerly PKV) (2): 32-Oriol Servia, 8-Will Power
*Newman/Haas/Lanigan (2): 06-Justin Wilson, 02-Graham Rahal
*HVM (formerly Minardi) (1): TBA (Ernesto Viso?)
Coyne (2): Bruno Junqueira, Mario Moraes (likely)
Part-time/Indy-only (listed in order of likelihood of happening)
*-Confirmed team
*-Fisher (1): 67-Sarah Fisher (Indy/Texas/Kentucky/Chicagoland)
*-Luczo Dragon (1): 12-Tomas Scheckter (Indy/Kansas/Sonoma)
*-Rubicon (1): Max Papis (Indy-only)
*-Beck (1): Roger Yasukawa (Motegi, possibly Indy)
Playa Del Racing (1-2): Al Unser III, Al Unser Jr. in 2nd car if it materializes
Pacific Coast (1): Alex Figge (road courses only)
PDM (1): Usually fields a car for Jimmy Kite at the 500. Plans to field an Indy entry this year. Is attempting to secure sponsorship.
Racing Professionals (1): Jon Herb
Additional cars from major teams for Indy: AGR (1); Vision (1)-possibly Davey Hamilton or John Andretti; Panther (1)-possibly John Andretti or P.J. Chesson; Foyt (1)-41-Pablo Donoso
Kingdom (1) (haven't heard anything from them)
D.B. Mann (1) (ditto)
Rumored/possible/potential entries (up to 2)
A.J. Foyt (1): Pablo Donoso, could begin at Indy and continue
Ganassi (1): Paul Tracy (if Chip decides to have a third car, highly unlikely)
RLR (1): Second car (#8 car vacated by Scott Sharp). Cavin said that Rahal is still working diligently on trying to field this car.
Future teams
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.

Future races
The schedule will expand to 20+ races in 2009 most likely. Here are some candidates to be added to the docket.
A preseason Grand Prix (possibly non-points) in the Caribbean islands of Turks & Caicos has been discussed.
Michigan International Speedway has mentioned they'd be interested in a return for 2009. We've had speculation on New Hampshire Motor Speedway returning to the IRL for 2009 if it loses a Cup date, coming from NHMS themselves. However, TG said in the unification press conference that the IRL had exhausted all potential ovals, and insinuated that it would likely not be looking to add any more.
Several reports out of Toronto have stated the city's street race at Exhibition Place is a potential go for 2009 if sponsorship can be found.
The Mexico City race has been mentioned as a possible addition for either 2008 or 2009
NHL co-owner Mike Lanigan promotes street/airport events in Houston and Cleveland. Lanigan is hoping to get one or both races on the 2009 schedule.
Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama hosted an IRL test in the fall and its owner expressed hope of hosting an IRL race someday. With unification, it's unlikely to happen.
Other North American CC races that are not in the proposed 2008 schedule, but were on the CC docket: Road America (a strong possibility for the future), Mont-Tremblant (unlikely), Portland (goner, almost didn't make it in '08), Laguna Seca (could make a merged schedule if Infineon ever drops off the list).

Races confirmed for the future: Indianapolis (forever), Texas (through 2009), Iowa (through 2009), Milwaukee (through 2009), St. Petersburg (through 2009), Detroit (through 2011), Surfer's Paradise (through 2013)

Since we have a lot of teams coming over, here's a list of car numbers that are currently in use
1-Reserved for last year's series champion (AGR, could be used on 5th car at Indy)
2-Vision (A.J. Foyt IV)
3-Penske (Helio Castroneves)
4-Panther (Vitor Meira)
6-Penske (Ryan Briscoe)
7-AGR (Danica Patrick)
8-KV (Will Power)
9-Ganassi (Scott Dixon)
10-Ganassi (Dan Wheldon)
11-AGR (Tony Kanaan)
12-Luczo Dragon (Tomas Scheckter)
14-A.J. Foyt (Darren Manning)
15-D&R (Buddy Rice)
17-RLR (RHR)
18-PDM (Indy-only)
19-Racing Professionals (Jon Herb, Indy-only)
20-Vision (Ed Carpenter)
21-Playa del Racing (Indy-only)
22-Vision (Alex Lloyd?)
23-D&R (Milka Duno)
24-Roth (Jay Howard)
25-Roth (Marty Roth)
26-AGR (Marco Andretti)
27-AGR (Hideki Mutoh)
31-Playa del Racing (Indy-only)
32-KV (Oriol Servia)
39-AGR (5th Indy entry, if they don't use #1 this year)
41-A.J. Foyt (usually used additional Indy entries)
55-Panther (could be used for 2nd Indy entry?)
67-Fisher (Sarah Fisher)
77-Chastain Motorsports (Indy-only, used in 2007)
91-Hemelgarn (Indy-only, if they run)
98-Greg Beck (Indy-only)
99-Sam Schmidt (Indy-only, if they run)
Known vacant numbers: 5, 13, 16, 28, 29, 30, 33-38, 40, 42-54, 56-66, 68-76, 78-90, 92-97

An NHL statement listed Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson's car numbers as 02 and 06. We'll see if those hold.

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