Italian driver Francesco Dracone will replace Brazilian Mario Romancini in the No. 34 Dallara-Honda at Conquest Racing for the final two road course events of the IZOD IndyCar Series season. Dracone will drive the car at Mid-Ohio and Infineon with sponsorship from La Pasta and Halkin Jet.
Dracone has spent time racing in Euroseries 3000 (now AutoGP) for the past four years, improving his spot in the standings each of the past three years. Dracone's best finish in points was seventh place last season, with his best race finish coming at Monza, where he placed fifth.
Dracone has been inactive for most of this season, testing a Nissan LMP1 and an F3000 car in the past few months, but was not expected to drive an IndyCar this season until passing his rookie test at Mid-Ohio last week. Dracone is team owner Eric Bachelart's second strictly European driver signing of the season, with Dracone's teammate Bertrand Baguette a former Formula Renault champion.
Romancini currently ranks third in rookie points, behind only Alex Lloyd and Simona de Silvestro, while Baguette (having missed the season's first two races) ranks fifth. But Romancini has finished no better than 13th all season, has failed to finish in five of seven road course starts (crashing four times), and brings less sponsorship money than Baguette, who has his own Belgian backing. This is no small advantage, as team owner Bachelart is Belgian as well.
Romancini will most likely return to Conquest for the final four oval races of the season, as he was the highest-finishing rookie at Indianapolis and seemed to have his best luck in Firestone Indy Lights last year on the oval tracks.