Indycar Silly Season Could Be INSANE, Here’s A Chaotic Wishlist

IndyCar silly season generally consists of a lot of rumors but then little to nothing happening other than some movement among the smaller teams. In 2017 that could all change as the series races towards 2018 and some potentially huge changes. Essentially every seat is available outside of Penske and Scott Dixon’s seat at Ganassi. Everything hinges on Michael Andretti’s decision to stick with Honda or jump to Chevy.

Here is what 2018 could potentially look like for each team. You’re going to need some yarn, a large wall, pictures and a lot of time to break this down like you’re hunting the Zodiac.

Andretti Autosport (Chevy)

Ryan Hunter-Reay- stays with the team, he’s an AA guy through and though. He also won his 2012 IndyCar Championship behind the wheel of an Andretti Chevy.

Marco Andretti – He’s never going to leave, 2018 is his year. Like 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 were.

That leaves 2 seats at Andretti open if they switch to Chevy. Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi are both Honda guys who will go where Honda can land them a seat. Will Andretti keep fielding 4 cars? Possibly but they’ll need someone to bring sponsorship. Or AA will team with Mike Shank and field a car for Jack Harvey like the Herta relationship fields Rossi. Maybe Spencer Pigot jumps from Ed Carpenter Racing over to Andretti.

Potential 2018 Lineup:

Hunter-Reay, Andretti, possibly Hinch. Andretti is the hardest team to predict. Longshot, Kurt Busch leaves NASCAR for Indycar and his buddies at Andretti.

Penske (Chevy)

Like most things about Team Penske even silly season for them is kind of boring. They’ll likely downsize to three cars and push Helio out to pasture. Or to their Acura DPi program in IMSA which is where he and Juan Montoya will race next year.

Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power are all untouchable.

Ganassi (Honda)

Scott Dixon – Will Scott Dixon race at Ganassi in 2018? Is Emma Dixon the hottest wife in the paddock? Of course he will.

 

From there the rest is all up in the air. Tony Kanaan is likely out of Ganassi after only recording only one win in his tenure at Ganassi. Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball each bring sponsorship to the team and both are weighing their options for 2018. If those two guys leave the team that opens up 2/3 Honda seats for 2018.

If 3 seats are open at Ganassi there are three seats for Honda to slide their guys into. Takuma Sato will get one of those seats, Alexander Rossi will also snatch up one of the seats. Honda wants to see those guys succeed. The third seat could be a wildcard but James Hinchcliffe makes total sense for the seat too considering how much Honda values that guy. Ganassi’s 2018 lineup in theory could be stacked.

If Kimball and Chilton both stay then Rossi or Sato will take that fourth seat. Also kills some of the silly season excitement.

Potential 2018 Lineup:

Dixon, Sato, Rossi and either Esteban Gutierrez or Hinchcliffe. Longshot, Juan Montoya.

Ed Carpenter Racing

Ed Carpenter – will continue to race on ovals either in the second car or potentially the team’s third car. Likely sit on the front row of the 500 then watch it all unravel over 500 miles.

JR Hildebrand- The 2011 Indy 500 runner up is transitioning back into a full time IndyCar ride. He still hasn’t found success on road/street courses and needs to show improvement at Watkins Glen and Sonoma to really solidify his ride for 2018. On ovals Hildebrand is a master, he will win on an oval if ECR sticks with him. His third and second place finishes at Phoenix and Iowa could result in a win at Gateway in a few weeks. On road/street courses this season he has a best finish of 11th, not ideal.

Spencer Pigot- Everyone raves about how fast this kid is, will Ed give him a full time seat in 2018? If he was smart he would but he’d have to cut JR to do that. Not sure Ed is willing to do that just yet but if he doesn’t another team could swoop in and snatch Pigot.

Potential 2018 Lineup:

Pigot and Hildebrand both full time. Ed only runs the 500 in a one off third car.

Dale Coyne Racing

Sebastian Bourdais – The one for sure thing at Dale Coyne in 2018. If the team gives him a car like they did at the beginning of this season and for the 500, he is a serious championship contender. Weird how Bourdais went from being the heel in Champ Car to being beloved now.

Ed Jones- the Englishman from the UAE has all the speed in the world and any team would love to have him. He has no money though and that may be hard for Coyne to continue running him in 2018. Ed won the Indy Lights title in 2016 which gave him some substantial funding for 2017 and allowed him to race a full season. He won’t have that funding in 2018, hopefully someone runs him for talent and not because his dad slapped a sticker on the side of his car.

Esteban Gutierrez- an F1 burnout looking for a second life in IndyCar may very well have found it at DCR. He has substantial backing from Carlos Slim which could very well buy him a Ganassi or Andretti ride.

Potential 2018 Lineup:

Bourdais and Gutierrez, think Ed Jones is out unfortunately. Or Coyne signs a low level Formula 3.5 driver because money. Sup, Carlos Huertas?

Rahal Letterman

Graham Rahal- see Marco, just count on a win or two a season with some snobby remarks, complaining and then how great his drive was. Actually is great with fans though.

Every year we hear about Rahal Letterman wanting to add a second car and every year it doesn’t happen. If Andretti moves to Chevy that opens up some engines and could make it more enticing for a second team. Oriol Servia is an option or the team could snatch Spencer Pigot back up.

Potential 2018 Lineup:

Rahal, Servia/Pigot/Jones

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

There are no certainties at SPM in 2018. Hinchcliffe could easily be back with the team or he could bolt for “greener” pastures. He has won with SPM twice but money talks and Ganassi is hard to say no to. Mikhail Aleshin has run into visa problems this year, combine that with wrecking and it’s not a great time to be him.

SPM may have a whole new lineup and that lineup could include Rossi or Sato in 2018.

Potential 2018 Lineup:

Rossi and Aleshin

AJ Foyt

Everyone so badly wants this team to succeed, especially with Carlos Munoz being incredibly likable. They just can’t figure this out at all right now. Either both drivers will be back or none but it will be hard to find better drivers to fill those seats.

Potential Teams

Harding Racing – is looking at running full time in 2018, they’ve finished in the Top 10 of both races they’ve entered this season with Gabby Chaves. Having a brand new team race the full season is what IndyCar needs.

Juncos- entered 2 cars in the Indy 500, the best looking cars in the 500. Will they run a full season in 2018? Doesn’t seem like it but if Sebastian Saavaedra can secure funding they just might.

Carlin- We’ve been hearing about Carlin since the first Obama administration, this Carlin team has been toying with the idea of joining the IndyCar series forever. If this does happen Max Chilton will be leading the way and Charlie Kimball could very well join him.

2018 Indycar could see a massive mix up of everyone swapping seats. Right now Penske is the only constant. Those starch shirt robots just keep winning. Convinced Roger has invested in a start up that steals babies and genetically modifies them to be great at a certain aspect.

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