One of the longer IndyCar offseasons in
memory has set the stage for a familiar,
and yet intriguingly different campaign.
Reigning series champions Team
Penske have a huge new point of interest
with Josef Newgarden taking over for
Juan Pablo Montoya. Returnees Will
Power and Helio Castroneves must cope
with that new challenge to their position
within the team, while also hoping to
come up with some answers to Simon
Paganeud’s mastery of 2016.
The reset is even more significant
at perennial rival Chip Ganassi Racing,
whose switch from Chevrolet to Honda
engines tweaks the IndyCar power game
(see sidebar). While all four of its 2016
drivers return, team leader Scott Dixon
will be in all-new colors following the
departure of iconic team sponsor Target.
Among other changes, Takuma Sato
moves from AJ Foyt Racing to Andretti
Autosport, lending his experience to
Andretti’s lineup alongside Ryan
Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Indy
winner Alexander Rossi (again in
association with Bryan Herta).
Carlos Munoz swaps seats with Sato,
joining Conor Daly in an all-new lineup at
Foyt. Sebastien Bourdais rejoins Dale
Coyne Racing, where he’ll partner Indy
Lights champion Ed Jones and be
reunited with Craig Hampson, his Champ
Car engineer during his title-winning
glory days with Newman/Haas.
“I’m not there to make a revolution or
anything,” said the Frenchman. “I’m just
there to have fun and hopefully be
competitive to win races.”
That mindset’s got plenty of company.
James Hinchcliffe couldn’t quite emulate
the achievement of Helio Castroneves by
winning “Dancing With the Stars,” but the
Canadian won a bunch of new fans in the
process of waltzing his way into the finals.
The Verizon IndyCar Series lineup resets with some key changes
INDYCAR’S FRESH TAKES
the youth of 100th
Indy 500 winner
Alexander Rossi in
The serious competition to Simon
Pagenaud’s IndyCar title defense starts
within his own Penske Racing team.
All the latest IndyCar news at
Honda adds Ganassi,
but defections on both
sides spice up the mix.
A.J. FOYT ENTERPRISES
ED CARPENTER RACING
Ed Carpenter (ovals)/TBA
CHIP GANASSI RACING
DALE COYNE RACING
Juan Pablo Montoya
(ABOVE) returns for an Indy
shot with Penske, while
Oriol Servia will run at least
Indy and Detroit for Rahal.