The wildest of NTT INDYCAR SERIES races ended Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with so many drivers and teams preparing for change. Some of those moves for the 2024 season have been announced, others still need to be.
INDYCAR.com is using this space to take inventory of Silly Season, providing a where-it-stands recap of drivers, teams, manufacturers – heck, anyone who figures to be part of next season.
AJ Foyt Racing: The best bet is that Benjamin Pedersen and Santino Ferrucci return for second seasons with the team led by Larry Foyt, but the new alliance with Team Penske could change things.
Arrow McLaren: The lineup appears to be set with last week’s confirmation of David Malukas replacing Felix Rosenqvist in the No. 6 car. Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi will return to the Nos. 5 and 7 cars. The only question is, will there be an association with another Chevrolet organization – for example, does there become a formal connection to Juncos Hollinger Racing. For the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, the team is prepping 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson for his first ride in the May event.
Ed Carpenter Racing: Rinus VeeKay will return to the team, but it’s not clear which driver will be in the No. 20 car. It seems Ryan Hunter-Reay won’t return following his valuable contribution in the second half of the recently completed season. Could this be a landing place for Devlin DeFrancesco, whose two-year stint with Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport has come to a close? Another driver to watch is INDY NXT by Firestone champion Christian Rasmussen, who will have scholarship money to apply to a program. Ed Carpenter is expected to return to the Indy 500, and he might continue to be in the other oval races, too.
Juncos Hollinger Racing: Callum Ilott finished the season with a strong run at Laguna Seca, and he said he is “optimistic” about where Ricardo Juncos’ team is headed. Juncos also would like to have Agustin Canapino back for a second season if funding can be secured. Canapino desperately wants to return, and he drove his best race of the season in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.
Team Penske: This one is easy. Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden and Will Power return. The question is, how does the alliance with AJ Foyt Racing look and feel?
Andretti Global: Marcus Ericsson (pictured above at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he won the "500" in 2022 and finished second this year) is the highest-scoring driver on the move for next season. He will join fellow race winners Colton Herta and Kyle Kirkwood in what should be a strong three-driver lineup for the rebranded team. Michael Andretti has said a fourth full-time entry is not guaranteed. If it is, could Hunter McElrea, its top driver in INDY NXT by Firestone, be tabbed? Or, is someone else lurking? Most likely, Louis Foster, who won two races for the organization this year in INDY NXT by Firestone, will return to that series for a strong shot at the title. Marco Andretti figures to return to the team for his 19th “500.”
Chip Ganassi Racing: This will be a team of proven and relatively unproven drivers. Reigning series champion Alex Palou and six-time series champion Scott Dixon comprise the former; 2023 Rookie of the Year winner Marcus Armstrong and newcomer Linus Lundqvist, the 2022 INDY NXT by Firestone champion, are the latter. Armstrong will be making his debut on oval tracks next season; his first test is Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway. Two-time Indy winner Takuma Sato would be an asset to any team next year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but there are no indications that will again be with Chip Ganassi’s team.
Dale Coyne Racing: This is the team with the most to announce. Malukas is gone and rookie Sting Ray Robb did not make much of an impact in his rookie season but wants to return. There are many who think Romain Grosjean could return to the organization after two seasons with Andretti Autosport, but that seems too predictable for team owner Dale Coyne, who often has surprises in hand.
Meyer Shank Racing: The shakeup is considerable here. Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud have been replaced by Rosenqvist and rookie Tom Blomqvist. Castroneves, who is moving into a team co-ownership and driver coach role, will get another chance to win Indy in the team’s third car.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Graham Rahal and Christian Lundgaard will return to the Nos. 15 and 45 cars, and it seems a safe bet that rookie Juri Vips, who showed well at Portland and Laguna Seca to end the season, will be in the team’s third full-time car, No. 30. However, Vips has not been confirmed. Expect a fourth car in the “500.” Sato would be an ideal candidate given his prowess at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and they won the 2020 race together.
Adjustments to this ledger could come at any time as the silliest of seasons rolls on.