It's no secret that an awful lot of how INDYCAR silly season pans out depends on where Justin Wilson decides to go. Much attention has been given how he basically has a wide variety of choices in where he drives next year; teams such as Andretti Autosport, KV Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, and even Michael Shank Racing have been rumored or are known to be interested in his services.
It's a prime spot for the 33 year-old veteran, as his experience and skill on road courses in particular make him the big free agent in the offseason. Further, he is well-respected in the paddock, as evidenced by being part of the triumvirate of drivers who have been been seen as leaders both before and especially after the Wheldon tragedy. Along with Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti, Wilson is seen as a veteran, uniting voice for the drivers. He would seem exactly the sort of driver you'd want when you're shaking down a new car.
Yet whether or not Wilson goes to Andretti or chooses one of the other potential paths, a lot of teams and seats would appear to be in a holding pattern right now. A seat at Andretti, a seat at KV, the identity of Michael Shank's driver, the direction Rahal Letter Lanigan goes, even the seemingly remote chance he chooses to stay with Dreyer and Reinbold--it's all going to be impacted by his choice. That's not a scenario we see a driver in too often, is it?
That's not to say he can just hop right over to any ride he chooses. For many of the potential offers, it sounds like there'd be plenty of details still to work out. Of course, it's always nice to find the seat early in the musical chairs that makes up the INDYCAR offseason.
On a TrackForum poll I started over the weekend asking where Wilson should go for 2012, the responses are split. Last I checked, Andretti was running around 44%, KV Racing 25%, RLLR 20%, and Other 11%. From conversations online, it would seem like most fans do believe Andretti Autosport is where he will end up.
So what if the fan opinion is mirrored by that of Wilson? Does he go to the seat that would have been Dan Wheldon's? One thing's for sure, if you're looking for a friendly, classy, and well-respected driver to fill that seat (which is perhaps an awkward thing to discuss, I understand), I don't see how anyone could complain with the choice of Justin Wilson.
So, I put the question to the readers as well: where should Justin Wilson go? Should he fill the GoDaddy seat at Andretti Autosport? Or should he be Tony Kanaan's next teammate at KV Racing? Should he look for opportunities at Rahal Letterman Lanigan, or is there somewhere else you'd like to see him in 2012? Wherever he decides to race in 2012, it will be the first step in figuring out where a lot of drivers are going to go.