IndyCar: Simona de Silvestro still pursuing sponsorship for 2014 season

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The sponsorship hunt continues for IndyCar Series fan favorite Simona de Silvestro, who completed her fourth season in the series last year for KV Racing Technology but currently doesn’t have a ride lined up for 2014.

In an interview with Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star, the driver fondly known as the “Swiss Missile” revealed that she’s been back home in Switzerland trying to drum up support; Cavin reports that she was not in attendance for last week’s IndyCar winter meetings in Indianapolis.

“There are companies here that are kind of interested [in IndyCar],” de Silvestro told Cavin. “At the end of the day, I want to be in IndyCar, so that took a little bit of priority [over meetings].”

De Silvestro overcame a rough mid-season stretch and finished 2013 strong, earning her first career IndyCar podium in Race 1 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader last October.

The breakthrough in Houston had her optimistic about her future path in the sport, but she wants to make sure that wherever she ends up on the IndyCar grid, she’ll continue to have a chance to flourish.

“The big challenge is what [can] field me the right way,” De Silvestro said to Cavin about teams that could acquire her services. “It has got to be the right environment.”

Considering that De Silvestro had to go through the 2012 season with the devastatingly poor Lotus engine – in hindsight, a season that no racer would wish upon even their most bitter rival – it’s understandable why she wants to make sure she has a competitive program.

But while there are more than two months to go before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 30, there’s only a handful of potential rides remaining to be filled.

Returning to KV opposite Sebastien Bourdais could be an option, but there are also second cars open at Dale Coyne Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan. Also unconfirmed at this time are drives at Barracuda Racing and Panther Racing (although they recently tested Colombian driver Carlos Huertas at Sebring).

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

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There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.