Yesterday was a busy news day in Indycar Silly Season. News that Takuma Sato will be in the #26 car at Andretti Autosport really should not be a surprise. Andretti needs funding for that car. Honda funds Sato as they did when he was with Foyt. This solves two problems. It appears likely that Carlos Munoz will be going to Foyt. In effect, they traded drivers.
The other big story yesterday was Juan Pablo Montoya accepting Penske’s offer to drive the Indianapolis 500 only with the promise of a sportscar ride when Penske puts a program together. Again, this proves a part-time gig with Penske is better than a full time ride elsewhere. This arrangement also gives Team Penske a built-in substitute driver should a situation arise as when Will Power couldn’t race at St. Pete this season.
The biggest beneficiary of yesterday’s moves is Conor Daly. Taking Montoya away opens the remaining seats up more for him. What seats remain? There are just a few:
1 at Foyt
1.5 at Carpenter
1 at KV/Carlin?
1 at Ganassi?
1 at Coyne
I think that’s it. I don’t see a completely new team next year, since the aerokits have just one season left. Economically, it doesn’t make sense. The full time field should be between 20-22 cars.
For the 500, it will likely still be a struggle to get to 33, even with a 5th Penske car.
It’s possible we could know the entire lineup by December. The more time I have to learn who is which car the better.