Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who Will Drive For Dreyer & Reinbold?

We're still staring at a couple of months of silly season before IndyCars are battling one another, and one of the key remaining seats is the presumed 2nd seat at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. With Justin Wilson confirmed on the team, most folks seem to anticipate D&R will run one additional full-time seat--the one that belonged to Mike Conway until his horrific crash at Indy last season.

Last year, Dreyer & Reinbold saw Wilson start every race, but outside of that, it was musical chairs in the wake of Conway's terrible accident. Ana Beatriz, Paul Tracy, Tomas Scheckter, J.R. Hildebrand--there was no shortage of quality drivers for Dreyer & Reinbold, but neither was it exactly the most stable of situations for the fan and viewer.

Forward to 2011, where as of this date, Mike Conway still isn't signed (as far as we know), and although Hildebrand is now with Panther, the rumor mill is in full swing for Tracy, Scheckter, and Bia possibly landing a ride at Dreyer & Reinbold. And now, we're hearing a bit more on that the idle rumor of Wheldon joining D&R that I had mentioned from State of IndyCar. Let's look at each of the prospects in turn:

Mike Conway: Conway's a heck of a story if he comes back strong from his wreck at Indy, and he still seems confident that something will be coming along. Then again, every silly season there are confident drivers who end up on the sidelines. Conway showed improvement before his injury last year, and he'd be one of the more intriguing drivers to grab a ride here.
PT: On the road to Conquest?

Paul Tracy: PT was linked strongly with a ride here early on in the season, and I'm not saying it doesn't happen. But there's been strong movement towards PT in the second Conquest seat in the rumor mill, not to mention KV Racing, and with several drivers seeming to have more concrete connections to a D&R ride, PT might be the least likely off this list to end up there.

Tomas Scheckter: Tomas Scheckter is the Man of A Million Rumors; it seems like we link him to all these programs on the offseason, and then it comes down to a partial ride or series of one-offs. As great as I think it would be to see him full-time in the series, more and more I'm thinking his 2011 will be a lot like his 2010. We'll see him at Indy with someone and perhaps a few more races here and there, but I don't think his season lies with Dreyer & Reinbold, unless it's a fourth car at Indy or somesuch.
How Many Races For Bia?

Ana Beatriz: Bia drove part-time with the team last year, and I think she's pretty solidly in with the team. If we see her in 2011, it'll be with Dreyer & Reinbold. The only question is for how many races?  I think it's going to be more than 2010, which is a good thing if she keeps up her off-season awesomeness.

Dan Wheldon: When I first heard this at State of IndyCar, I really thought this was a throwaway. But with Andy Soucek looking somewhat more likely at Andretti Autosport, I have to wonder, could Dreyer & Reinbold be Wheldon's best remaining option? There aren't many seats left, and a Wheldon/Wilson team could be golden for D&R. Of course, there are also newer rumors of Wheldon at Conquest, so even if this seat doesn't happen, there is still a little leeway left out there. January isn't the time to panic.

As Curt Cavin reported, all these options are up in the air, but the money's not finalized yet for anything.

There's no shortage of quality drivers looking for space at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. But barring some sort of madness like last year, we won't see them all. My gut tells me we'll see Conway full-time and Beatriz running a partial schedule, but as with all things in silly season, all we can do is wait and see.

How about it, IndyCar fans?  Who do you see ending up at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in 2011? Make your predictions now, and we can revisit this in a couple months for bragging rights.

(Photos provided courtesy of IndyCar Media) 


  1. I really thought Wheldon would have been a good fit at KVR in the Lotus car. Being an Englishmen it just made sense. Wheldon seems to be easier on his cars than who they have now.

  2. I thought so, too; I actually mentioned Wheldon to KV back in December, but I've heard very little else on it. I think it'd be an awesome boost to that team, and I think Wheldon would look awesome in the Lotus Green, but we'll need to see. I haven't entirely given up on that scenario, yet.

  3. While I've heard Wheldon linked to all of the above teams, I was thinking a couple of days ago about the HVM interview that said they were hoping to add a second car and had talked to a driver that was interested in driving for them. Could this be Dan? It would be a very popular pairing with fans with Simona excelling on road and streets and Dan helping with the set ups on ovals. Of course this just something I've thought of and not a rumor.

  4. Now that would be an interesting matchup! Of course, you can that about a lot of these seats and Wheldon.