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Friday, November 19, 2010

Silly Season Roundup: November 18, 2010

A muddy IZOD IndyCar Series silly season picture for 2011 has begun to clear up, as big names begin to sign contracts, or at least line them up, with major teams.

Since the future appears bright, with Chevrolet and Lotus joining the fray in 2012, it's easy to forget that IndyCar has another season of spec racing ahead of it, and plenty of driver contracts to be signed along the way. But just this week, we saw the confirmation of two drivers returning to their teams from 2010, and another setting up a ride with an old friend for 2011.

Justin Wilson announced his return to the No. 22 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara-Honda for 2011 last Thursday, turning down offers from a handful of other teams. He'll continue a relationship that yielded an 11th-place points finish in 2010 and shone on the road and street courses all year.

Meanwhile, E.J. Viso confirmed to Yahoo! Sports Argentina that he will remain in IndyCar next season, likely returning to KV Racing Technology as the team's relationship with Lotus expands. Previously, team owner Jimmy Vasser had suggested to SpeedTV.com that the team's driver lineup would remain the same in 2011 as in 2010, although this year was a hellish season for the team that saw a plethora of wrecks.

For those who like to speculate, the article also mentioned Takuma Sato as a KVRT driver, but not Mario Moraes. Lotus has also confirmed full-time sponsorship commitment of only two cars for next year.

Meanwhile, Tony Kanaan and Gil de Ferran are a few steps closer to working together next season. Kanaan recently spent time in a de Ferran Dragon Racing car, with the intent on critiquing the team's engineering progress thus far. But de Ferran's previous driver, Raphael Matos, just finished the second of a two-year deal, and the ever-popular Kanaan is heading to Brazil, his and de Ferran's home country, to seek out sponsors. The 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner is adamant that he will employ the 2004 IndyCar champion next season.

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