Indycar Notes: Open Seats, A Loss for Lights, Ganassi Back in IMSA

Meyer Shank’s announcement of a second, part time car with Helio Castroneves puts another car on the grid for a third of the season, but several full time rides have yet to be filled.

Ryan Hunter-Reay is expected to return with DHL at Andretti Autosport. Hunter-Reay, the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner, has had a great relationship with DHL for the past six years. I’m not sure for how long the new deal will be. I expected Hunter-Reay to be Indy only starting in 2021.

Meanwhile, Andretti’s 26 car is still open, and there has been no news about the 98. Marco Andretti is assumed to still be in the 98, and James Hinchcliffe is presumed to drive the 26.

Other open full time rides-

Dale Coyne has not announced drivers for either of his two cars. I would not be surprised to see two new faces there next season.

A.J. Foyt Racing- Nothing yet for the 4 car.

Ed Carpenter Racing- Will the 20 have a road/street driver while Ed runs the ovals? Will Conor Daly have a full time ride and Ed brings a third car for the ovals?

Carlin Racing- I assume Max Chilton will be back for the 500 and the road/street portion. An oval driver for just three races may be hard to find.

Chip Ganassi Racing- Who will fill the oval portion for the 48?

By my count I have five open full time seats and up to three part time rides at this time.

Belardi Closes Lights Program

Brian Belardi, one of the anchors of the Indy Lights program, has closed his racing venture. Belardi has been a foundation of Indy Lights for the past decade, fielding cars for drivers such as Gabby Chaves, Zach Veach, Felix Rosenqvist, Peter Dempsey, Anders Krohn, Aaron Telitz and Shelby Blackstock.

I thank Brian Belardi for his dedication and for contributing to the series for such a long time.

It will seem strange to not see a Belardi car in the series. I understand there is some very positive news coming for the top rung of the Road to Indy soon.

Ganassi Returns to IMSA Prototypes

Chip Ganassi Racing will return to IMSA’s prototype class in 2021, fieldi9ng a Cadillac powered entry. Ganassi essentially takes over the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac as Taylor switches to Acura next year.

There is a deep pool of available drivers, including former Indycar drivers Ryan Briscoe and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Ganassi last ran in IMSA in 2018, running Ford’s GTLM cars. I miss those cars. He has run prototypes in the past.

What would really be fun is if Penske and Ganassi could run IMSA at the same time. It seems like only one of the two top Indycar teams has a sports car operation in any one year. At any rate, there should be a few more opportunities for Indycar drivers to run in the endurance races.

back tomorrow with a Sebring preview as this odd racing season wraps up.