2019 IndyCar Series Silly Season Synopsis
The first green flag and checkered of the season has happened, but that doesn’t mean Silly Season is about to slow down. Although the drivers running the full schedule are settled, there is still lots of news expected surrounding the Indianapolis 500.
As we begin the race season, here is the updated IndyCar Silly Season Synopsis as of March 12, 2018.
TEAM PENSKE: Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud are back on the fold full-time. You will also likely see an Indianapolis 500 entry once again for Helio Castroneves as he was testing with the team pre-season.
CHIP GANASSI RACING: Scott Dixon is confirmed for a couple years to come, alongside the team’s new addition in Felix Rosenqvist. Expect this to be the only announcements from the team as they do not do one-off entries for the Indy 500.
ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Zach Veach and Marco Andretti are all back on-board. The only change is Marco Andretti now holds an ownership stake in his ride. They will also have a fifth entry for the Indianapolis 500, this time with Conor Daly behind the wheel.
TEAM McLAREN: Fernando Alonso will run the Indianapolis 500 in May in a Chevrolet-powered entry.
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING: Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato are both full-time. They will also have a third entry for the Indianapolis 500, with Jordan King behind the wheel.
DALE COYNE RACING: Sebastian Bourdais is on-board full-time through a multi-yer agreement between Dale Coyne Racing and Vasser-Sullivan signed to be co-entrants on the No. 18 Honda. Bourdais is joined by Santino Ferrucci full-time.
Both of their entries from last year also have plans as Pietro Fittipaldi is a test driver for the Haas F1 team, while Zachary Claman De Melo returns to Indy Lights with Belardi Racing.
They have also made their first Indianapolis 500 announcement, with James Davison behind the wheel through a partnership with Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi.
ARROW SCHMIDT PETERSON MOTORSPORTS: Arrow’s involvement with the team has expanded for 2019, as they have become the title sponsor of the organization with branding on all entries. The team will be fielding both James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson on a full-time basis.
Notably, Robert Wickens is confirmed on paper, however questions surround whether his recovery will be at the point of getting back behind the wheel of a racecar. If it is does, Schmidt has stated a car will be available at that time.
A.J FOYT RACING: Both Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist have been confirmed for 2019. A third car for the Indianapolis 500 is a possibility, though.
ED CARPENTER RACING: Spencer Pigot put together a strong enough program to stay on-board for another season, while Ed Carpenter will continue running the oval races. A unique partnership with Scuderia Corsa will bring Ed Jones on-board to run the road course events and Indianapolis 500, despite struggling a little this past year with Chip Ganassi Racing.
CARLIN: Carlin Racing announced in January that Max Chilton will run the full NTT IndyCar season, while Charlie Kimball will be running a partial schedule consisting of five events. The other 12 entries will see 2018 Indy Lights Champion Patricio O’Ward behind the wheel, beginning at COTA, after his deal fell apart with Harding Steinbrenner Racing.
HARDING STEINBRENNER RACING: After a successful debut year in IndyCar, Harding Racing, led by Mike Harding with team president Brian Barnhart, has teamed up with Steinbrenner Racing’s George Steinbrenner IV to form Harding Steinbrenner Racing.
Although initially announced as a pair of entries with both O’Ward and 2018 Indy Lights runner-up Colton Herta behind the wheel, they will only be fielding Herta on a full-time basis.
JUNCOS RACING: Riccardo Juncos was quoted in August 2018 about expanding to two entries for 2019, rotating drivers in the process. Thus far, the only announcement is Kyle Kaiser being behind the wheel of the team’s entry at COTA.
MEYER-SHANK RACING: Michael Shank will continue to expand his IndyCar involvement in 2019, with plans to enter Jack Harvey into 10 events throughout this year. This marks an increase from running six in 2018, with a focus on running a full schedule down the road.
DREYER-REINBOLD RACING: Sage Karam will indeed be back for the Indianapolis 500, with the team hoping to expand that effort into more races this season.
DRAGONSPEED: They will compete in five races next season, including the 103rd Indianapolis 500, powered by Chevrolet engines and with driver Ben Hanley. They intend to be on the grid full-time in 2020.
CLAUSON MARSHALL RACING: The Sprint Car team is ready to take their next step and enter IndyCar Racing, with Pippa Mann behind the wheel. She’ll be looking to make the field after failing to qualify last year with Dale Coyne Racing.
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