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Q: Let’s face it. We all know that Chip is hardwired to never place an American shoe in his IndyCars, but have Kyle Larson or Chase Elliott ever crossed any IndyCar owners minds? If given a decent car and a good test program, with consideration to his background, Kyle can be an exceptional IndyCar fixture. Chase has a tough gig, given his father’s legacy and legend in NASCAR. Give the kid a year in either Indy Lights (the series can use a PR boost, or any PR for that matter) or in a high-powered IMSA DPi, and he can be an IndyCar frontrunner.
Both these cats have both a fan following and skill, and either would be a massive boost to the IndyCar Series come year after next. At least get these kids into a car to try it out for a day or two! Lord knows we need something solid in the wake of the Alonso hype many of us were hopeful for over the last few months that fizzled out recently. To the entire IndyCar executive and marketing teams, Penske, Andretti, Coyne and Carlin, now would be a good time to start thinking 2020 and beyond! Just saying!
Brian L, Spring, TX
RM: Obviously, Larson’s background and first love is open-wheel, and I have no doubt he would adapt quickly to IndyCars, but why would he take the pay cut? Not sure what Chip is paying him, but when you combine merchandise and prize fund I’ll bet it’s a helluva lot more than anyone in IndyCar could offer, and Kyle’s got the best of both worlds now because now he gets to run sprinters during the season. Can’t imagine Elliott even considering it, and why would he? He’s the next big deal in NASCAR. If Larson gets to run the Indy 500 we’ll all be happy, but I like the idea of him testing an IndyCar and NBC filming it.
Q: What an enjoyable year of IndyCar, and it’s only going to get better. Alonso will make his decision in November! What a bunch of B.S. He knows (you might and can’t say a word), Michael Andretti knows, and I am sure few others do to. Maybe an announcement at COTA in a few weeks? Here is my question: could we have a problem with drivers who might have a full-funded season and no team to go to? Hypothetically, if a driver went to Chip/Roger/Ed with $6 million or so, would they expand?
RM: I swear I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone else does, either. Fred says he wants to run the Daytona 500, and he told Michael he wanted to run the whole IndyCar season if he came over, but I just don’t think he knows what he wants to do yet. Zak Brown wants him in IndyCar and maybe they’ve already sealed a deal with Andretti, but then why would he be talking to Bobby Rahal? It would depend on the driver, but if you had $6 million I don’t think you’d have any trouble finding a good ride. Ganassi likes cutting back to two cars, but if the price was right, a third wouldn’t be out of the question. R.P. wants to stay at three cars, but I’m sure Ed Carpenter could make room for a third for that kind of money.
Q: The past few years it seems that IndyCar owners are getting big-name Formula 1 drivers to ventures over to the States. Yes, these guys are very talented racers. Rossi and Sato are Indianapolis 500 champs. I have no issues at all with F1 guys coming to the U.S. But, as a USAC/Ed Carpenter fan, I got a little fatigued this year hearing everyone talking F1 drivers coming to race IndyCar. My simple question is, can you confirm that USAC guys no longer have any chance to run IndyCar, let alone Indianapolis, again? Kody Swanson seems very close to maybe getting that opportunity. Any chance Ed Carpenter would hire Swanson for a future Indianapolis 500? Does Ed still follow his USAC roots? I still to this day wish BC had his full-time shot. He was a talented enough driver that I am certain he could run the road courses as good as he could run an oval. It was awesome to see the BC midget race. I hope that stays for years to come.
P.S. I’m still hoping Silver Crown cars run Gateway with IndyCar next year.
RM: Other than Rossi and Fernando, there aren’t any F1 guys wanting to come to IndyCar to my knowledge. Felix Rosenvquist had the pedigree to be in F1 but never got the call so he doesn’t really count, and Jordan King aspired to be in F1 and got a job as development driver for Manor but obviously saw the handwriting on the wall and headed to IndyCar. Swanson could run the Indy 500 if he had $1 million, it’s that simple, and that might even include a good test program with a decent team. And I’m sure if he found $500,000-700,000 that Ed would try to put something together for May, but it’s all about money if you’re a USAC driver. Hell, it’s about money if you’re somebody as good at Indy as J.R. Hildebrand. I think the midget race will be back in 2019, and Silver Crown is always a possibility at Gateway.