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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Silly Season Roundup: November 10, 2010

Marshall Pruett reports today on SpeedTV.com that KV Racing Technology is closing in on finalizing their 2011 plans, helping clarify the IZOD IndyCar Series silly season picture, if only marginally.

According to team owner Jimmy Vasser, the team is working on a deal to rebrand the team Lotus/KV that will also see the team run retro paint schemes from Lotus' Formula 1 and Indianapolis 500 heyday.

Vasser also hopes to return all three of his team's full-time drivers from 2010 - Takuma Sato, E.J. Viso, and Mario Moraes - despite a trying season that saw the team wreck nearly enough cars to fill the Indianapolis 500 by itself. Paul Tracy has also been mentioned as a candidate for a fourth ride, although some of his funding has been knocked out of whack with the cancellation of the Honda Indy Edmonton.

Vasser mentioned that the long-term deal will mostly be incentive-based, meaning the team cannot quite go out and hire whomever it wants. He has also praised the team's current core of drivers, chalking up last season to inexperience and significant bad luck. However, the team is waiting to hear what some top free agents will be doing for next season, including Graham Rahal, Tony Kanaan, Justin Wilson, and Dan Wheldon.

Rahal, according to Pruett, hopes to finalize and announce his plans within the next ten days. Rumors have suggested a third car at Chip Ganassi Racing, though Ganassi himself has denied the rumor. Rahal's Service Central sponsorship contract is sizable, however, and should land him at a top team.

Kanaan has been rumored to join just about every team under the sun, a testament to his strong driving talent. As Curt Cavin has been saying for weeks, de Ferran Dragon Racing seems like the strongest possibility now, as Vasser appears set at KV and Newman/Haas Racing is still searching for sponsorship. Wilson has talked to a handful of teams, including his 2010 team, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

Panther Racing is also a possibility for Wilson, as Wheldon more than likely will not be back with that team. Panther plans on holding a "gong show" test in December for their lead car, and will decide from there whether or not to expand. Meanwhile, Wheldon is considering opportunities in NASCAR, perhaps driving for Kyle Busch's Truck Series team. Wheldon and Busch share sponsorship from NOS Energy Drink.

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