INDIANAPOLIS – The chairs are quickly being taken away and the music is starting to slow and fade. The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series Silly Season is almost wrapped up, as within the last week, three more seats have been filled. We now know that Tony Kanaan will drive the famed No. 14 Chevrolet for A.J. Foyt Racing for the 2018 season and beyond. On Wednesday morning, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports revealed their 2018 driver lineup too.
James Hinchcliffe and rookie Robert Wickens will drive for SPM in 2018. That means that’s two less seat available too.
So, what’s left?
To my count, as far as definite seats open, we’re down to just three full-time rides and one part-time left. Just the second seat at A.J. Foyt Racing is open, as well as the second seat with Dale Coyne Racing. Also, the second seat with Chip Ganassi Racing is available too. Those are currently the only three full-time open rides.
The part-time seat is the one to split the driving duties with Ed Carpenter in his No. 20 Chevrolet as well.
This much we know.
So, who’s going to be in them?
The Foyt ride will likely be between Conor Daly or Carlos Munoz. All signs are pointing to Daly returning to that seat though and joining Kanaan with the team. As far as DCR, a deal is close to keep Ed Jones in that seat again. Both sides want to make it happen and I think it will get done.
That just leaves the Ganassi seat which there’s several rumored drivers to be in the mix for. If you ask me, if the series ends up in Mexico City, I expect Esteban Gutierrez to get a serious look to be in that Ganassi seat. This is a coveted seat, but you have to bring money.
There’s also rumors that Carlin Racing and Juncos Racing could join the series in some capacity too. Kyle Kaiser has some scholarship money and I expect him to use that with Juncos. Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball are rumored to be heading to Carlin for a two car team as well. Whether any of these two organizations show up in a full-time capacity or even part time for 2018, remains to be known. Either team could range from single car entries up to two cars each.
Also, Harding Racing has already stated multiple times, that they plan to run full-time with Gabby Chaves and I haven’t heard anything changing on that front either.
So, as you can see, silly season is virtually done.
No. 4 Chevrolet – AJ Foyt Racing
No. 10 Honda – Chip Ganassi Racing
No. 19 Honda – Dale Coyne Racing
No. 20 Chevrolet – Ed Carpenter Racing (Part-Time)
Juncos Racing (1-2 Cars)
Carlin Racing (1-2 Cars)
Notable Free Agents
Current Driver Lineup
Team Penske (3) – Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power
AJ Foyt Racing (2) – Tony Kanaan, TBA
Ed Carpenter Racing (2) – Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter (PT -ovals only), TBA (street/road course only)
Harding Racing (1) – Gabby Chaves
Andretti Autosport (4) – Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Zach Veach
Chip Ganassi Racing (2) – Scott Dixon, TBA
Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing (2) – Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (2) – James Hinchchliffe, Robert Wickens R
Dale Coyne Racing (2)- Sebastien Bourdais, TBA