Silly Season Update – Nothing To Report

Posted by Iannucci | 10/04/2006 | 0 comments »
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While drivers and teams continue their silly season courtship of looking for dance partners for the 2007 season, race fans are sitting around wondering where half the drivers from last year will be. While some drivers (Jeff Simmons, Dario Franchitti) are likely to return to their teams, others (Kosuke Matsuura, Buddy Rice) face uncertain futures. Negotiations are sensitive and ongoing for next year and still, one man holds the key to the future of every unsigned driver.

That man is Scott Sharp.

Scott is the lone driver with enough personal sponsorship backing to choose his future, and what racing team he joins will say a lot about how he wants to end his career.

Let’s face the fact that Scott is in the twilight of a very successful career. He’s no longer considered one of the top drivers, and rarely is he considered a serious contestant for victory lane. He has only two victories in the last five seasons, and his chances of adding a tenth career win seem slim. However, he’s still a good driver, and if he were to get with the right team he could return to the upper echelon of competitors.

Now is the time to decide what he wants to do with his remaining laps in the IndyCar series.

If his main motivation is to try for another IndyCar win, then his best shot is forming a second team with Panther Racing. Although winless in 2006, Panther showed to be the most competitive team for the Red and White Brigade of Penske and Ganassi drivers.

If he wants to add to his financial future, then he might be better served forming his own team. Scott is talented enough to safely run with a low-budget team, and as someone who has been around the IRL since it’s inception he would appear to be a likely candidate for becoming a team owner.

If he wants to stay loyal, then he can remain with Fernandez Racing. There is a dollar value too comfort, and if he enjoyed the staff from this past year he may return if he isn’t overwhelmed with an offer to go elsewhere.

If he wants to take a shot at returning a big name team to excellence, then he should go with Rahal Letterman Racing. Rahal had a horrendous series of bad luck last season, and Scott could choose to lead the RLR resurgence to contention.

It would stand to reason Scott is still considering all of these options, but in doing so he is keeping many other drivers in a holding pattern. Just about all of the free agents would love to get an agreement from any of these teams, and yet those teams probably have Scott at the top of the “best available” list of free agents.

So Scott, can we get this ball rolling? I don’t want to rush you, but it’s October and there are careers hanging in the balance. If you don’t make a decision soon then other drivers with uncertain futures may decide to take offers to drive in a different series.

And from a purely selfish standpoint, it would give me some actual news to report. As it is I have to sit around and waste a few hundred words by discussing what is NOT happening.