Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Stepping Stone

James Davison, it should be noted, has been linked to a couple of "potential" deals over the year, and of course his name has frequently popped up on any thorough Silly Season list. He's tested with Andretti Autosport, and has seemed pretty chummy with Ed Carpenter.

However, since 2009 (when he finished second in Firestone Indy Lights), Davison has also been in what can be referred to as Open Wheel Purgatory. Open Wheel Purgatory is a place between Firestone Indy Lights and IndyCar proper, where the perpetually near-employed scuffle, scrap, and hold out hope that they'll get a chance to show what they can do in the big cars.

Plenty of drivers have been in and out of Open Wheel Purgatory. It's not a fun place to be, I'm sure. But every now and then, a ray of light shines down, offering hope to those in limbo. That's what Davison received yesterday, getting to test at Mid-Ohio with Dale Coyne Racing. That's a course where Davison netted both of his Lights wins, albeit one in as strange a fashion as you'll see.

Now, Davison is hardly the only driver to get a test in IndyCar, and there's always a chance it won't pan out. Stefan Wilson, a fellow Open Wheel Purgatory denizen, also tested with Coyne earlier this year, and is still waiting for his shot at his rookie IndyCar debut. But the second Coyne seat has been home this year to Ana Beatriz, Pippa Mann, and Mike Conway. It would seem if there's a seat for a one or two-shot driver this season, it's that second Coyne seat (Panther's rotation seems a bit more fixed, at the moment).

That's something that's needed in IndyCar. The Ganassis, Andrettis, and Penskes might get all the mainstream attention, but there has to be a place for the drivers on the outside to get their chance. It's one of the purposes teams like Conquest Racing served, and it's one of the purposes of the rotating cast we see in the 18 car. 

Not every driver is going to pan out, and not every driver needs a full season of IndyCar for us to know it. But there's something undeniably special about a racer getting that first chance after a long time, even if it's a partial season. You never know when it could turn out to be a stepping stone to something bigger.

The list of drivers waiting for their chance in IndyCar is a big one. It's not just Davison and Wilson; it's Johnathan Summerton, Peter Dempsey, and Anders Krohn. It's drivers who have had a limited chance in IndyCar, too, with every race being absolutely invaluable to their cause. Let's see if James Davison gets his chance to take that next step.

1 comment:

  1. "That's something that's needed in IndyCar. The Ganassis, Andrettis, and Penskes might get all the mainstream attention, but there has to be a place for the drivers on the outside to get their chance. It's one of the purposes teams like Conquest Racing served, and it's one of the purposes of the rotating cast we see in the 18 car."

    Amen.

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