Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Silly Season: My First Round of Wildly Inaccurate Predictions

(Note: The predictions below are just for fun. They are almost guaranteed to be 80% wrong, and most likely even moreso than that. But, hey, it’s silly season! Have fun with it!).

Conquest Racing: I believe Bertrand Baguette is working for a return to Conquest in 2011, giving that team a legitimate shot and some much-needed continuity. Along with Baggy/Breadman/Bags/BBB, expect another ride buyer that none of us have ever heard of, most likely.

Dan Wheldon: Everything we’re hearing suggests more and more that Wheldon might end up right back at Panther. Not exactly exciting or mind-blowing, I know, but I see that being as good a spot for him as any, especially now that the legal stuff has all been settled. A lot of people had Wheldon going to KV, which I guess could happen (and would be great for that team), but I’m not sure I see it.

Ed Carpenter: Carpenter was awesome on the ovals this year, but it is suspected he remains marginal on the twisties. I think an all-oval program for Ed would be awesome, but where? Clearly his time with Panther was well-spent, but I don’t see him full-time next year, sadly. That second seat at Panther is really one of the biggest question marks we have for 2011, just because it could go so many ways, from not happening at all to being where Tony Kanaan lands (more on that in a minute).

Graham Rahal: Graham’s shopping that nice sponsorship of his around the garages, but I still believe that Ganassi or Andretti are the most likely stops for him. The biggest thing with Ganassi will be seeing if Graham’s sponsorship matches the level of what Target/Chip Ganassi wants, but the situation at Andretti is also far from settled. Count Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti as confirmed for 2011. Whether or not Tony Kanaan or Ryan-Hunter Reay retain their rides at Andretti might impact if Graham ends up there.

Justin Wilson: I have to think Wilson would be an attractive prospect to a number of teams, but I think he’ll end up right back at Dreyer & Reinbold. He’d be a great driver to build a team around, especially on the road and street courses.

KV Racing: I have to think that someone—anyone—won’t be back after a disastrous KV Racing season. I honestly have no clue who it’ll be, but I think EJ Viso’s the most likely to return, followed closely by Sato and Moraes. Honestly, losing Moraes wouldn’t hurt my feelings any. Oh, and it’s not a crazy thought to want an Englishman (Wilson or Wheldon) in the Lotus Green colors, is it?

Tony Kanaan: TK remains a fan favorite, and along with Rahal, his fate for this year might be the most intriguing story of 2010. Most speculation has him either sticking with Andretti while picking up a (Brazilian) sponsorship, or possibly going to a second car at Panther.

Paul Tracy: Nothing announced yet for PT, but I’m thinking we might be seeing more of a season from him this year. Even with the issue over being swapped out for Ana Beatriz for Homestead, Tracy might find a home at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Another, potentially more probable scenario sees him in a ride at KV Racing. That’s a team in need of senior leadership, and Paul could provide that, plus some stability. I’d like a team of PT and EJ Viso far more than a team of Viso, Moraes, and Sato.

Ryan Briscoe: He’ll be back with Penske.

Ryan Hunter-Reay: Basically, for RHR, it’s going to come down to what Tony Kanaan does. If TK grabs a big sponsor or leaves the team, then we could see Ryan back with Andretti Autosport, albeit in the sort of precarious position he was last year. If TK stays without picking up significant sponsorship, it might be right back to the drawing board.

Sarah Fisher Racing: If Sarah does look for a full-time driver for her team next year while she focuses on ownership, which is the direction things seem to be heading, it might be interesting to see who ends up in this car. A lot of people are speculating on a young, marketable American driver, but I think the jury’s still out. Although, you have to admit, with the Dollar General sponsorship, you can see that being a good fit.


  1. So much of the SFR situation comes down to whether a single-car effort for a full season could do better than with Sarah part time. Putting JR Hildebrand in that car (for example) doesn't do them much good if the car is a sled. If they can put together one solid effort, though, then it'd be a perfect situation.

    I still think Carpenter splitting a second Panther car with Townsend Bell would be a great fit.

    And speaking of Bell, is it me, or does Hunter-Reay seem to be heading in that direction (a driver who has great results, but can't seem to stay in a seat, despite no real attitude problems or other off-track issues - just one of the inexplicable things)?

  2. @Fred: I very much agree. I still think seeing Carpenter in a 2nd Panther cars for the ovals and someone else on the roadies is quite possible. To me, that 2nd Panther seat just might be the most intriguing one of the whole silly season.

    Townsend Bell's a tough case to cipher. I certainly hope we see him more than just at Indy. I'm hoping RHR has a bit more luck than he's had.