Today’s question: You are an NTT INDYCAR SERIES team owner with an unlimited budget for driver salary and possibly a contract buyout, with an empty seat in 2022. Which active driver from any series on Earth are you hiring for next season?
Curt Cavin: This is a tough call since I not only need to win the season championship, I want to win the Indianapolis 500. Given the way Alex Palou performed in 2021, particularly at Indy, he’d be difficult to pass on, and the same goes for Josef Newgarden, who might be INDYCAR’s best all-around driver. But Colton Herta is only 21 years old and capable of dominating any race he enters, so I’ll buy him out from Michael Andretti’s organization.
Zach Horrall: While I have the world to choose from, I’m keeping my pick within the NTT INDYCAR SERIES because I truly believe we have some of the best racing talent in the world. Therefore, my pick is Alex Palou. The Spaniard proved to us this year that he’s the real deal. Three wins, eight podiums and the Astor Challenge Cup in just his second year. He has started his INDYCAR career in a very similar fashion to Scott Dixon, and even with the same guy Dixon did it with! Plus, if I put my team owner cap on, Palou is young, and I want to keep him in my stable for years to come and build my organization around him.
Paul Kelly: Max Verstappen. He just turned 24 and is about to topple Formula One god Lewis Hamilton as World Champion with a combination of incredible skill and unrelenting self-belief. He’s the best driver in the world under age 25, and I would want him in my car tomorrow. Some may question how Mad Max would adapt to ovals, and my answer is simple: very well. Anyone with that kind of talent and ability to drive a very difficult car on the edge lap after lap will thrive in nearly every racing environment.