Monday, November 26, 2012

We Need The Conquests Of The World In IndyCar

Over the weekend, while doing the minimal amount needed to work off Thanksgiving's extra poundage, I tinkered a bit with my Silly Season IndyCar projections. It won't surprise any of you that many rides are still wide open, while a couple, such as Rubens Barrichello/Schmidt Hamilton, seem pretty likely.

What isn't resolved is the fate of some of the smaller teams that could potentially round out the paddock, such as Michael Shank Racing and Conquest Racing. Conquest Racing, in particular, seems a tough nut to crack, with some discussion with at least one driver with some money having taken place, but a waiting game in place as far as engine acquisition goes.

It would be a shame if Conquest Racing isn't a part of the 2013 IndyCar lineup. I get some eye-rolling at times when I say this, but I firmly believe it's the case. No, Conquest has never been a world-beating team. Still, they've been a viable option for many drivers who otherwise may have not had the opportunity to be in IndyCar. And while having a Francesco Dracone in the car is not exactly a crowd-pleaser, let's not forget they've also run Ana Beatriz, Betrand Baguette, Pippa Mann, Tomas Scheckter, Sebastian Saavedra, Alex Tagliani, and back in Champ Car days, a young rookie named Justin Wilson.

A huge of part of IndyCar is simply getting the chance to compete. Not everyone can go straight to a top-tier team such as Andretti or Penske, which is why it's good to have teams like Conquest as a part of the proceedings. Having those less expensive teams is a boon to the series, especially as the days of Milka Duno recede in the distance. There's not just one road to success in racing, and the Conquests, just like the Dale Coynes (before their move into mid-tier) and the Dick Simons of the world, provide one more avenue for those looking to get their chance to race. 

I'm not sure what Conquest's future is in IndyCar, but I certainly hope we see them back in action for 2013. (There's the speculation out there that we might see them ally with Andretti Autosport once more to run a driver, which produced a very good Pole Day performance with Ana Beatriz in this past Indianapolis 500). You never know which driver of tomorrow will get a chance with them, or which fan favorite will make an appearance. There's a level of unpredictability and opportunity there that the IZOD IndyCar Series can always use.

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