The confirmation game

Posted by Iannucci | 3/18/2009 | 12 comments »
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Unless I am mistaken, the last driver confirmed by any team for the 2009 season was either Robert Doornbos or Will power, and Power's employment is actually a contingency plan related some crazy tax-evasion trial. In other words, it's really quiet out there.

While the Braintrust at TrackSide Online is reporting today that Ryan Hunter-Reay is getting fitted for a car with HVM, the fact remains that Ryan has still not been announced as a driver for HVM - or anyone else for that matter. (Off topic: I just inadvertently typed his name "Ryan Hyphen-Reay", and not for the first time.)

Usually in the weeks leading up to any season there are always drivers being floated as possible drivers, but as noted previously there seems to be an exceptional number of "possible" drivers for 2009. Hopefully at least one of these will be the next winner of "The Confirmation Game".


Ryan Hunter-Reay - He's got a contract with an active sponsor, which puts him in a class with few other drivers. However that contract doesn't include paying for the car, so league officials are busting out the calculators for a cost/benefit analysis of how important it is to get him in this car.

Milka Duno - While Robin and others gently weep over the newest N/H/L driver, it's important to nothe that she still isn't officially on their roster. Sure, she's testing with the team, but without an announcement thusfar it's just Bobby and Rahal driving for N/H/L.


Alex Tagliani - They're not dead yet over at Conquest Racing, and they are on the participant list for the upcoming test at Barber Motorsports Park. Of course, the driver for Conquest is the ever-popular "TBA".

Justin Wilson - Like Duno, Wilson has been testing with the team but not officially stated as a driver for the team. Like Conquest, Coyne doesn't have any declared driver. They do however have a newly-hired engineer.


Buddy Rice - He's still listed on the Rubicon site, but there's no official entry anywhere and you can't expect a team with exactly one race on their resume to simply show up at St Pete for their first street racing effort. Even Marty Roth wouldn't have done that.

Oriol Servia - Has anyone seen or heard of a second KV Racing entry lately? Me neither. Perhaps we'll see him at Indy.

Bruno Junqueira - Maybe he'll be back for a third season of "gratis" driving for Dale Coyne. Maybe not.

AJ Foyt IV - Vision Racing has given indications that if Quattro has funds that they'd welcome him back for another year. This begs two questions: 1) where exactly would these funds come from and 2) how much does he enjoy being lit on fire.

So who do you think will get the job? One of these? None of these?


  1. pressdog // March 18, 2009 12:39 PM  

    Of your group, I'd say RHR, Milka and JWil are in. The rest are watching on VERSUS in stunning HD like the rest of us.

  2. Fred Hurley // March 18, 2009 1:40 PM  

    Actually, I think all of the names you list will race for the teams you list at some point this year. I just think some of them will be in very limited duty. Rubicon/Rice and Conquest/Tagliani are the shakiest pairs right now, and in the former's case, is there any way they aren't at Indy, while in the latter's case, is there any way they aren't at Toronto?

    Actually, the one I see maybe racing with a different team is Quattro. Racing for Grandpa at Indy may be his season, though a Vision car at Texas makes sense there.

    2009 will be remember as the Year of the Partial Ride.

  3. Iannucci // March 18, 2009 1:50 PM  

    2009 will be remember as the Year of the Partial Ride.

    Very true, especially when you throw in the partial Sarah Fisher Racing season already planned. Plus, given the economic state of things, it wouldn't be surprising if one or more of the rookies (Barrett, Conway, Doornbos, Matos) ended up running a partial season.

  4. Anonymous // March 18, 2009 6:57 PM  

    I'm with Pressdog...RHR, Milka and Justin will be in. I see Tag getting involved for a handful of races that includes Indy and the two Canadian for the rest, I dunno.

  5. Anonymous // March 18, 2009 10:02 PM  

    Why isn't Paul Tracy on this list? With his showing in the Subway car for that one race (Edmonton? IIRC), I figured he'd at least have a shot for a ride at Indy.

  6. Anonymous // March 19, 2009 8:17 AM  

    Yeah - what's up with leaving Tracy off the list? Are you trying to make Meesh turn into a ragin' Canadian version of the Hulk?! "You won't like it when she's angry." er, then again, we love it when she's angry!

  7. Iannucci // March 19, 2009 8:51 AM  

    No offense to The Chrome Horn, but I haven't heard his name mentioned as a fulltime driver for anyone. In fact, the only thing I heard was that he turned down a possible ride with Dale Coyne. So I figured he's not even at the level of rumors at this point.

  8. Anonymous // March 19, 2009 11:46 AM  

    I've heard KV is a possible landing spot for PT

  9. Fred Hurley // March 20, 2009 2:31 PM  

    Look, we all know PT could very land somewhere at Indy, and suddenly he's got a ride the rest of the way. It may well happen.

    But given that he turned down a ride this off-season, and that he's over 40, and has a nice house and some cash, and broke his back last time he raced a full season, it may be time to face a cold, sad fact. We're just never going to get to see PT and Danica get into a fight on the Kentucky infield.

    I wanted to see it. You wanted to see it. We all wanted to see it. But we're not going to. We move on.

  10. Fred Hurley // March 20, 2009 2:37 PM  

    I mean, lord, at this point, the only difference between PT and Jimmy Vasser is that Vasser owns a team for which he could race. For that matter, when are we going to start the "Why doesn't Mauricio Gugelmin have a ride," campaign?

    PT was entertaining an competitive ... five years ago. I'd like to see him get a ride, too, but if you want a strong Canadian presence in IndyCar, you'd be better off trying to get Hinchcliffe, Lacroix, and Morad into strong Lights rides.

  11. Anonymous // March 24, 2009 6:12 PM  

    Paul Tracy was competitive five years ago? The one race he did race he finished 4th (in a vision car no less). I'm pretty sure he'd be a top 10 driver given a full time ride with the right equipment. BTW Jeff, my post wasn't a knock on you, I was just curious as to why no one is throwing his name around. I'm all for more drivers and more entries, regardless of what their "name" is.

  12. Anonymous // March 25, 2009 1:53 PM  

    I keep hoping I'll see Da Matta's name pop up again myself...