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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Plenty of Drivers Sitting on the Sidelines

While most of the IZOD IndyCar Series took to the track for preseason testing today, a handful of solid talent was either roaming the sidelines or nowhere to be found.

Among the drivers pacing the pits were Ana Beatriz, Ed Carpenter, and Mario Moraes. Of the three, only Beatriz has a confirmed deal for this year, and even that is only for the season-opening race at Brazil. Carpenter is actively seeking sponsorship to get back on track. Moraes brings some money from Votorantim, the Brazilian construction company owned by his grandfather, but so far has been unable to secure a ride.

Oriol Servia has also been roaming the pits looking for a ride. He ran five races last season, with only one DNF and a worst finish of 11th in the four races he completed. Servia has mostly kept in contact with the open-wheel world via Twitter, and while he continues to search for a ride, the lack of success has proved to be a point of frustration for the Spanish driver.

Paul Tracy has been spotted at the test sessions, but his voice has been heard by the community over the past few days. He, like Servia has used his account to keep his name out there; most of his tweets bash the insurgence of foreign pay drivers and lack of North American talent in the series. He has implored fans to send a message to the league, particularly incoming CEO Randy Bernard, that the direction in which the sport has been heading needs to change.

Worst of all, popular and talented young American Graham Rahal does not yet have an IndyCar ride for 2010, and it appears he may be meeting with stock car teams in an attempt to secure a drive. Rahal scored two poles, five top-fives, and none top-10s last season on the way to a seventh-place finish in points, but has no sponsorship to bring to team owners. Multiple teams have attempted to put programs together for him, but for almost every group the hang-up has been sponsorship, leaving one of the league's most marketable young drivers on the sidelines.

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