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IndyCar 2009 (merged)


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#51 red stick

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 15:06

Originally posted by Crazy Canuck
I've never been a fan of the ignore list...freedom of speech and all that. But considering they've been having the same argument since the split and it still isn't resolved, maybe I'll try it out.


On the off chance that I'll miss something valuable, from even the most unlikely of sources, I've never believed in the ignore list. I suggest just not responding; with nobody to argue with it's hard to have "the same argument." Silence is more deafening sometimes than three pages of all caps.

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#52 red stick

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 15:09

Originally posted by pingu666
i thought he did ok, i mean he is fast, just breaks stuff alot.


Yeah, you can consistently finish eleventh and remain employable. Start costing your team beyond the budget unforeseen repair bills and you'll find yourself walking.

#53 sadler21

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 16:43

Originally posted by Dmitriy_Guller

If there is one thing the current generation of Indycars are known for, then it's for their remarkable resistance to almost going over the fence.


Instead they just go into the fence. :

#54 Crazy Canuck

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 16:49

Not sure if you've heard but a guy named Ben Johnston has purchased all the DP01's and some Reynards and wil organized an arrive-and-drive series with them starting in 2009. It's called Green Prix USA.

http://www.greenprixusa.com/home.html

He's purchased the Atlantic Series as well.

CC

#55 aportinga

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 17:03

3 Races for 2009 with expansion of 10 in 2010. He also bought 93 XE Cosi engines (essentially the ChampCar stock) at $250,000.00. That's a pretty good price for $2700.00 a pop!

Atlantics will be broadcasted on SPEED all year for 09 and double up with the ALMS at a few venues - as mentioned before they may add KV Racing, Dale Coyne and Forsythe to the list of existing teams - guess the economy is just that bad that the only safe haven for OW racing in the US is a near-club level series.

None the less it's okay by me since we get races on SPEED. The only downside is no Road America for 2009.

BUT - rumors are that the GreenPrix may join up with the Atlantics at a private course in Joliet for an event open to the general public. It would be nice to hear those Turbo engines again.

#56 wewantourdarbyback

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 17:58

Good luck to him sounds like a great plan :clap:

#57 aportinga

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 18:09

For a club spec yes.

#58 Crazy Canuck

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 18:15

Originally posted by aportinga
For a club spec yes.


Agreed. I dont think this should be treated as a resurrection of CC or a competitor to IRL.


CC

#59 wewantourdarbyback

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 18:30

Originally posted by Crazy Canuck


Agreed. I dont think this should be treated as a resurrection of CC or a competitor to IRL.


CC

agreed, still a good idea, nice to see the chassis being used

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#60 Rob G

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 18:59

Originally posted by Dmitriy_Guller
If there is one thing the current generation of Indycars are known for, then it's for their remarkable resistance to almost going over the fence.

:lol: That really wasn't a good example, was it?

#61 Dolph

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 19:13

Originally posted by Crazy Canuck
Not sure if you've heard but a guy named Ben Johnston has purchased all the DP01's and some Reynards and wil organized an arrive-and-drive series with them starting in 2009. It's called Green Prix USA.

http://www.greenprixusa.com/home.html

He's purchased the Atlantic Series as well.

CC


But oh why has he shot himself in the foot by giving it such a cheese name!?

#62 aportinga

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 19:24

Originally posted by Crazy Canuck


Agreed. I dont think this should be treated as a resurrection of CC or a competitor to IRL.


CC


Indeed... Worth 4 tickets for my family :up:

#63 TwoCents

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 21:58

So.... Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven have sold off Atlantics.

Would there be a possibility they would use the funds freed for an IndyCar effort? Possibly for 2009?

#64 jonpollak

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 00:29

A reliable little birdie told me yesterday that Penske might just do one car. :confused:

As one might predict, I will be following the fortunes of Dario and Bia Figueiredo in 2009.

Jp

#65 TwoCents

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 00:33

Originally posted by jonpollak
A reliable little birdie told me yesterday that Penske might just do one car. :confused:


Now that would be truly worrying.

#66 B Squared

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 00:50

That would seem to be, if true, a very strong statement of loyalty to Helio Castroneves. I'm wondering though about the contract with Marlboro. Just as three cars have been nixed because of the contract language in the past, couldn't one car possibly cause contract issues too? Just asking, I've no way of knowing. Possibly someone in this audience would have the answer. Maybe a "reliable little birdie"? Thanks,

Brian

#67 pingu666

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 01:42

that would be really concerning. wonder how much it would cost to a) run a car in indycar for a season, and b) what it would cost to run it as a b car, just chuck whatever on it and run the engine for more than the minimum number of races etc...

#68 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:07

Originally posted by TwoCents


Now that would be truly worrying.

No, that would be totally Penske.
Roger sells high, buys low and knows when not to buy at all.

#69 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:10

Originally posted by TwoCents
So.... Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven have sold off Atlantics.

Would there be a possibility they would use the funds freed for an IndyCar effort? Possibly for 2009?

Slim and none, and slim just left town.
With the Surfers no deal, put a fork in Kalkoven.
Forsythe is ancient.
As is Haas, BTW.

#70 Stibbles

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:17

Originally posted by pingu666
hard not to see dario and kanaan not featuring isnt it?

title contenders should hopefully be atleast

dario
kanaan
dixon
ryan briscoe
helio (hopefully)

with a whole ton of others atleast being fully capable of running at the front at times

should be awsome :D


As a former NZ'r living in Aust I'd love to see Will Power up there as well. He is always real fast at Surfers, but cannot string a race together consistently - yet.

Just imagine (please humour me here) a podium with Power, Briscoe and Dixon on it. And it couldn't be counted out.

And how far into the season before all 4 AGR drivers join each other on the bench - someone will run into Kanaan, and the other two will take each other out! It seemed to get close to that last year.

A1GP will allow Danica and Marco to show their real colours. Very few places to hide in a spec formula.

EDIT: Don't get me wrong tho - I'd really like to see both Danica and Marco succeed - Danica because she's succeeded where other girls have really struggled, and it's exposed Indy to a far broader audience; and Marco because it's great to see some Andretti continuity in the sport. I'm not sure I'm a big fan of Marco's yet though. He's got some work to do on that score.

#71 Stibbles

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:25

Originally posted by aportinga


If he needs a mentor after all the experience and opportunities he's had then it's finished. He may as well go sip cocktails on some beach in Spain.



HHHmmmm - sounds OK

:cool:

#72 B Squared

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 07:46

I would guess that this announcement does not bode well for Team Rahal's sponsorship with the American ethanol industry.

http://www.indystar....374/1004/SPORTS

"No, that would be totally Penske.
Roger sells high, buys low and knows when not to buy at all."

Well said. I remember when he sold off his tracks. At the time, most thought he was off base with his decision to do so.

Brian

#73 Crazy Canuck

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 14:07

Originally posted by Stibbles


As a former NZ'r living in Aust I'd love to see Will Power up there as well. He is always real fast at Surfers, but cannot string a race together consistently - yet.

...


Unfortunatly, I don't think Will has a confirmed drive yet....

CC

#74 red stick

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 15:05

Speaking of confirmed drives, Indycar.com has not updated the confirmed drivers since the Australian race. Who is confirmed?

Penske -- Briscoe and waiting to see about Castroneves
AGR -- Kanaan, Andretti, Mutoh, and Patrick
TGCR -- Dixon and Franchitti
NHL -- Rahal. Any news of sponsorship for a second car?
Foyt -- Meira
Panther -- Wheldon, rumors of a second
Vision -- Carpenter. Foyt?
Luzco Dragon -- Matos
Fisher -- limited schedule?
Dreyer and Reinbold -- I think Rice is confirmed. Not sure about others.
Rahal -- TBA
KV -- awaiting sponsorship.
Walker -- rumors of limited schedule
Conquest -- ?
PCM -- ?
Coyne -- ?
HVM -- ?

And Roth's competition license was not renewed. As I understand it, rather than continuing the team as a manager, he is trying to sell the assets.

Can anybody fill in the blanks?

#75 B Squared

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 15:15

Some interesting rumblings from Robin Miller on speedtv.com. I don't think this fills in any blanks. It probably confuses more issues.

http://auto-racing.s...or-november-18/

Brian

#76 TwoCents

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 15:33

Originally posted by red stick
Fisher -- limited schedule?


Sarah Fisher Racing is reportedly doing a full season next year, with Sarah definitely doing all the ovals, with roadcourses left to either Jay Howard, Darren Manning or possibly even Will Power, a decision being taken in the near future.

#77 pingu666

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 16:39

itll be cool to see fisher do more races :)

#78 red stick

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 16:48

OK. As I appreciate Robin Miller's column and TwoCents's info, we have:

Confirmed:

Penske -- Briscoe and waiting to see about Castroneves
AGR -- Kanaan, Andretti, Mutoh, and Patrick
TGCR -- Dixon and Franchitti
NHL -- Rahal
Foyt -- Meira
Panther -- Wheldon, rumors of a second
Vision -- Carpenter and Foyt
Luzco Dragon -- Matos
Fisher -- Fisher; perhaps a RR specialist
Dreyer and Reinbold -- I think Rice is confirmed. Not sure about others.


Sponsorship dependent:

Rahal -- TBA
KV -- awaiting sponsorship.
Walker -- rumors of limited schedule
Conquest -- ?
PCM -- ?
Coyne -- ?
HVM -- ?

Sayonara:

Roth

Looking for work:

Wilson, Scheckter, Manning, Howard, Lloyd, Hunter-Reay, Tagliani, Tracy. Servia? Power?

#79 red stick

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 16:50

I haven't seen any A1GP races. How's Marco doing?

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#80 aportinga

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 17:16

Originally posted by B Squared
That would seem to be, if true, a very strong statement of loyalty to Helio Castroneves.

Brian


Huh?

Why not just bring in a temp driver - which there a ton of such as Wilson or Power, until HCN has an idea of what his future is?

I would say it's a sign of Kodak now being gone from Penske and Marlboro cutting back.

If this is true - and frankly Jon has ZERO agenda, I would say when you have Penske and Newman Haas down to 1 car each - you got trouble. If this happens I would doubt strongly that ICS answers the bell in 2010 with more then the original volume or races they started with in 1996.

Just as a side note, I believe that the ICS website is grossly over estimating the 2009 schedule and most definately the driver/team line up.

#81 red stick

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 17:23

Originally posted by aportinga
Just as a side note, I believe that the ICS website is grossly over estimating the 2009 schedule and most definately the driver/team line up.


I haven't heard anything about any of the races being in trouble. Do you know otherwise?

As for the driver lineup, as I indicated above, I simply think that part of the website hasn't been updated since Surfer's. And with everything in such flux, why bother until there's more solid information?

#82 TwoCents

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 17:24

Originally posted by red stick
I haven't seen any A1GP races. How's Marco doing?


He was 15th in the sprint race and 8th in the final race in his first A1 race at China couple of weeks ago.

#83 red stick

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 18:17

Originally posted by aportinga
Why not just bring in a temp driver - which there a ton of such as Wilson or Power, until HCN has an idea of what his future is?

I would say it's a sign of Kodak now being gone from Penske and Marlboro cutting back.


HCN's trial is in March. The season starts in April. It's now November. Lots of good drivers will evidently be available if HCN can't answer the bell. And Bourdais may soon be unemployed. If you're Penske, and you hold one of the premier rides in all of racing, why rush?

#84 red stick

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 18:19

Originally posted by TwoCents
He was 15th in the sprint race and 8th in the final race in his first A1 race at China couple of weeks ago.


Thanks for the update. But really, HOW is he doing? Staying on the track? Looking racy? Breaking halfshafts?

#85 Rob G

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 18:36

Didn't Stanton Barrett announce an IndyCar program for next year?

#86 B Squared

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 19:08

"Huh?

Why not just bring in a temp driver - which there a ton of such as Wilson or Power, until HCN has an idea of what his future is?"

Maybe Mr. Penske & all the legal team that he surely has at his disposal; that are surely in a position to see what Mr. Castroneves' defense will be, DO have an idea of what HCN's future is. Other than Kevin Cogan, I don't really see too many "thrown under the bus" by RP.

Brian

#87 aportinga

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 19:25

Originally posted by red stick


HCN's trial is in March. The season starts in April. It's now November. Lots of good drivers will evidently be available if HCN can't answer the bell. And Bourdais may soon be unemployed. If you're Penske, and you hold one of the premier rides in all of racing, why rush?


Because people like Paul Tracy would die to run a Penske car for just a handful of races. More drivers from the OW ranks then ever would be willing to do a few stints under the conditions that the seat is reserved for HCN. Plus with one less car you're cutting sponsor exposure in half.

#88 red stick

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 19:38

Originally posted by B Squared
Maybe Mr. Penske & all the legal team that he surely has at his disposal; that are surely in a position to see what Mr. Castroneves' defense will be, DO have an idea of what HCN's future is.


As a state prosecutor for 18 years, including 10 in white collar crime, and knowing what I think of know of the practices of the U.S. Department of Justice, I'm not so optimistic.

As a Penske fan since the days of Mark Donohue, I hope you're right.

#89 B Squared

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 19:40

"Because people like Paul Tracy would die to run a Penske car"

I'd be surprised, to say the least, to see Paul Tracy ever behind the wheel of a Penske Racing car ever again. Indy 2002's disputed finish & the diatribe(s) by Mr. Tracy are probably not forgotten by the long standing members of Marlboro Team Penske. I've been known to be mistaken though!

Brian

#90 B Squared

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 19:49

"As a state prosecutor for 18 years, including 10 in white collar crime, and knowing what I think of know of the practices of the U.S. Department of Justice, I'm not so optimistic.

As a Penske fan since the days of Mark Donohue, I hope you're right."

red stick - I met Mark in 1969 as a kid at Indy. I was a fan of he & Mr. Penske's impeccably prepared team for as long as I can remember. I'm not encouraged by your comments from experience. I hope I'm right too. I'm still amazed that this is an issue that we have in front of us. I've never had the stones to risk my freedom, no matter the monetary gain.

Brian

#91 aportinga

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 22:03

Originally posted by B Squared
"Because people like Paul Tracy would die to run a Penske car"

I'd be surprised, to say the least, to see Paul Tracy ever behind the wheel of a Penske Racing car ever again. Indy 2002's disputed finish & the diatribe(s) by Mr. Tracy are probably not forgotten by the long standing members of Marlboro Team Penske. I've been known to be mistaken though!

Brian


You're missing my point.

How many drivers are out there - especially those who may be out of work that raced in ICS last season?

There is absolutely no reason - what so ever, that any of these drivers could not sit in for a few races.

This is a money issue - pure and simple.

BTW - Looks like no title sponsor for 2009

http://thescore.ibj.com/content/?p=640

#92 TwoCents

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 22:12

Originally posted by whitewaterMkII

Slim and none, and slim just left town.
With the Surfers no deal, put a fork in Kalkoven.
Forsythe is ancient.
As is Haas, BTW.


Sorry to bring this back up (I'm really *willing* this to happen that's why :p ) but I found this quote from July regarding a possible 2009 IndyCar effort from Forsythe Racing:

"After announcing this week that they will make a comeback in the Indy Lights series in 2009, Forsythe Racing are close to also finalising IRL IndyCar Series and American Le Mans Series programmes for next year.

Team manager Tom Swieck was at the Mid-Ohio event in the IndyCar, ALMS and Lights paddocks, and he made it clear that Forsythe's 2009 ambitions are not limited to the junior categories.

"I'd say the ALMS and IndyCar programmes are about 95 percent done." confirmed Swieck."

http://www.auto123.c...009?artid=99500

And I remember reading Swieck's comment on a few other websites too. So there were indeed serious plans at that point.

#93 billm99uk

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 22:26

Wonder what the car count is going to be next year? Can't be good to merge two series and still not come up with a full grid...

#94 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 03:22

Originally posted by TwoCents


"After announcing this week that they will make a comeback in the Indy Lights series in 2009, Forsythe Racing are close to also finalising IRL IndyCar Series and American Le Mans Series programmes for next year.

Team manager Tom Swieck was at the Mid-Ohio event in the IndyCar, ALMS and Lights paddocks, and he made it clear that Forsythe's 2009 ambitions are not limited to the junior categories.

"I'd say the ALMS and IndyCar programmes are about 95 percent done." confirmed Swieck."


Anybody have any idea how many irl chassis were sold this year?
Right about the time of this quote is same time period that new chassis' should be ordered.
I'd guess that back in Forsythes boom days he'd order four chassis and have a PO cut for two more during the season.
I think the truest sense of where the irl is getting cars next year would be seen in Dallara's order book.

#95 TwoCents

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:47

Originally posted by red stick
Confirmed:

Penske -- Briscoe and waiting to see about Castroneves
AGR -- Kanaan, Andretti, Mutoh, and Patrick
TGCR -- Dixon and Franchitti
NHL -- Rahal
Foyt -- Meira
Panther -- Wheldon, rumors of a second
Vision -- Carpenter and Foyt
Luzco Dragon -- Matos
Fisher -- Fisher; perhaps a RR specialist
Dreyer and Reinbold -- I think Rice is confirmed. Not sure about others.


Sponsorship dependent:

Rahal -- TBA
KV -- awaiting sponsorship.
Walker -- rumors of limited schedule
Conquest -- ?
PCM -- ?
Coyne -- ?
HVM -- ?


Conquest Racing have recently taken on new marketing staff and a general rehaul of their efforts. They sound serious about the 2009 season:

"With the 2008 season coming to an end, the Conquest Racing team has begun work on 2009 by taking on a new direction with the implementation of the team’s “Accept No Limits” business philosophy and by appointing marketing and sales veterans to the Conquest Marketing Department.

We’re focused on moving ahead, on growing this team as we continue to pursue excellence in the IndyCar Series. It’s been a year of learning for us, of getting used to our new surroundings and now we’re ready to take this one step further,” said Eric Bachelart, Conquest Racing Team Owner. “The additions of Lou, Pablo and Brian are an important first step in helping us take on this new direction, their experience and different expertise will be of great value to us as we take this team to the next level.”

Alex Tagliani is talking about winter testing with the team so I would assume he would be kept on for next year. Sennheiser have extended their personal sponsorship deal with Tagliani throughout 2009. Less sure is Camara, or indeed a 2nd car at all? Although with all that extra marketing personnel you would expect two cars.

#96 TwoCents

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 13:42

Whoa, new team on the horizon:

"Greg Beck, current owner of Beck Motorsports and now part owner of the newly formed Indy Car operation, Team 3G; which stands for: 3 Guys. As many may already know, Beck has inked stuntman and Nationwide series competitor Stanton Barrett as his full time Indy Car driver for the 2009 season, with hopes of a possible second car to be added."

....

"While listening last night to Speed Freaks, Crash Gladys asked Stanton Barrett, Godson of Paul Newman, when Greg Beck was going to announce Darren Manning as the team’s second driver? As apparently Beck Motorsports plans to campaign two cars in the Indy Car World Series next season..."

http://www.nofenders.....Indy Car.html

Sounds like a new two-car team then with Stanton Barrett and possibly Darren Manning.

Anyone has more info on Paul Newman's godson? Racing resume, how good is he, etc?

#97 aportinga

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 13:44

Originally posted by TwoCents


Sorry to bring this back up (I'm really *willing* this to happen that's why :p ) but I found this quote from July regarding a possible 2009 IndyCar effort from Forsythe Racing:

"After announcing this week that they will make a comeback in the Indy Lights series in 2009, Forsythe Racing are close to also finalising IRL IndyCar Series and American Le Mans Series programmes for next year.

Team manager Tom Swieck was at the Mid-Ohio event in the IndyCar, ALMS and Lights paddocks, and he made it clear that Forsythe's 2009 ambitions are not limited to the junior categories.

"I'd say the ALMS and IndyCar programmes are about 95 percent done." confirmed Swieck."

http://www.auto123.c...009?artid=99500

And I remember reading Swieck's comment on a few other websites too. So there were indeed serious plans at that point.


Forsythe won't do anything on his own dime. If Penske and Newman Haas cannot field two cars - no was Forsythe will... Anyhow I think Gerry has a HUGE resentment for TG still and is just stirring shit up.

One thing I HOPE is that he does not run off to GrandAm.

#98 red stick

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 15:05

FWIW, from Curt Cavin's blog today in the Indianapolis Star, on Penske and HCN:

Question: Roger Penske can't possibly be thinking about keeping Helio on board now that the court has refused the request to postpone the trial until after the IRL season. At the same time, Roger likely does not want to abandon Helio at this particular time. So what's Roger to do? Keep Helio and hope for a short (and favorable) court outcome, or go with plan B, whatever it is? (David, Naperville, Ill.)

Answer: I have been saying for a couple of weeks now that I think Penske will give Castroneves a leave of absence (and still pay him) for as long as he's defending himself. This will also allow Helio to focus on the trial. I think Penske will hire a replacement for the No. 3 car for the 2009 season and bring back HCN in another car when he's ready. If the trial is over quickly and he's acquitted, I think he can return to his car for the start of the season, with the stand-in "placed" somewhere, like with a ride at Indy. But that's just my prediction. I have no insider information because team officials have played this close to the vest.


And on Panther rumors:

Question: Autosport repots that GP2 champion Giorgio Pantano will test before the end of the year with Panther Racing about a chance to get a seat for 2009 season. I'd love to see him as Dan's teammate, and I think Panther would be better off with two cars than one, and I think these two would work well together, Dan bringing the oval expertise, and Giorgio with the road course experience. Is this just a test or a real opportunity to expand to a two-car team? (James, Johnson City, Tenn.)

Answer: Panther is always in the market to expand, especially given the financial difficulties of the day. But I don't know that anything has been signed at this point. Remember, Pantano had a brief IRL shot with Ganassi in 2005. Come to think of it, everyone in racing had a shot with Ganassi in 2005, and only Dixon kept his head above water, although Briscoe has rebounded pretty well.



http://blogs.indysta...1_and_rp_2.html

Like I said, offered up for what it's worth. Cavin usually posts daily and, if you haven't seen the site, it's an excellent way to keep up with the sport, especially in the offseason when few others are writing regularly. His Thursday night radio show is also fairly interesting, and available on podcast.

#99 TwoCents

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 16:10

OK, so an updated list that reflects the above news/rumours:

Confirmed:

Penske -- Briscoe and waiting to see about Castroneves
AGR -- Kanaan, Andretti, Mutoh, and Patrick
TGCR -- Dixon and Franchitti
NHL -- Rahal
Foyt -- Meira
Panther -- Wheldon, plus possibly Pantano
Vision -- Carpenter and Foyt
Luzco Dragon -- Matos
Fisher -- Fisher; plus possibly either Jay Howard, Darren Manning, Will Power
Dreyer and Reinbold -- Rice confirmed?
Team 3G -- Stanton Barrett, plus possibly Darren Manning


Sponsorship dependent:

Rahal -- TBA
KV -- awaiting sponsorship.
Walker -- rumors of limited schedule
Conquest -- have expanded their staff, Alex Tagliani seems likely
PCM -- ?
Coyne -- ?
Forsythe -- ?
HVM -- announced they've 'added' an Indy Lights team which would imply continued presence in IndyCar too.
Sayonara:
Roth -- ?

Dug up some more info on Team 3G: Stanton Barrett will continue a limited Nationwide schedule in addition to his IRL obligations, whenever the IRL schedule will allow:

http://www.crash.net...tch_for_3g.html

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#100 billm99uk

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 17:16

Originally posted by red stick
FWIW, from Curt Cavin's blog today in the Indianapolis Star, on Penske and HCN:

Question: Roger Penske can't possibly be thinking about keeping Helio on board now that the court has refused the request to postpone the trial until after the IRL season. At the same time, Roger likely does not want to abandon Helio at this particular time. So what's Roger to do? Keep Helio and hope for a short (and favorable) court outcome, or go with plan B, whatever it is? (David, Naperville, Ill.)

Answer: I have been saying for a couple of weeks now that I think Penske will give Castroneves a leave of absence (and still pay him) for as long as he's defending himself. This will also allow Helio to focus on the trial. I think Penske will hire a replacement for the No. 3 car for the 2009 season and bring back HCN in another car when he's ready. If the trial is over quickly and he's acquitted, I think he can return to his car for the start of the season, with the stand-in "placed" somewhere, like with a ride at Indy. But that's just my prediction. I have no insider information because team officials have played this close to the vest.


Well, let's face it, there's not exactly a shortage of decent drivers with no seat at the moment, is there :p