INDIANAPOLIS – On the surface, it would appear that the Verizon IndyCar Series may be in trouble. The top two teams in the series downsized by a combined three cars. Team Penske went from four cars to three while Chip Ganassi Racing ditched two cars as well. Troubling times on the horizon? No actually. In fact, promising times are in the near future.
It’s actually a very positive thing to see Penske and Ganassi shed cars because it’s giving light to new teams for the series. In fact, car counts are actually rising and will exceed the 21 mark set last year. There’s going to be races where we see 24 cars on the grid.
The 2017 Indianapolis 500.
Four new organizations stepped up to the plate last May at Indy. Juncos Racing brought a two car tandem of Spencer Pigot and Sebastian Saavedra. Ricardo Juncos has always stated his dream was to run in the series full-time. Well, he well on his way. Kyle Kaiser won the 2017 Indy Lights championship and earned a scholarship to run in three guaranteed races for 2018. Juncos stepped up and will race Kaiser in four. But, their plan is to run a full season and are actively trying to put this in place.
Thank the ‘500 last May for a team getting their feet wet and coming back for more.
Then there’s Harding Racing. They’ve never ran a race before. They showed up to Indy and finished inside the top 10. They ran two more races, both superspeedways, and are now shaping up for a full season run in 2018 too.
Thank the ‘500 for that too.
What about Michael Shank? He’s always wanted to run at Indy. He had such a blast in teaming with Jack Harvey and Andretti Autosport last year that he’s coming back for more in 2018 with Harvey and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. In fact, he’s running at least four races in 2018.
Thank Indy for that as well.
Now, Carlin Racing has decided to step up. They’re bringing two entries and doing so on a full time basis. While they didn’t run the ‘500 last year, they did win the Freedom 100 Indy Lights Series race.
Last May, Carlin won on Carb Day, Shank, Juncos and Harding all showed up for the first time for the ‘500, now all four are back in an even bigger capacity for 2018. Each can even add more cars to their organizations in the future too, meaning car counts are only going to get bigger and bigger.
Thank you Jay Frye for making this work.