With two yet to-be-announced seats ahead of the IZOD IndyCar Series’ race at Texas Motor Speedway this Saturday night, we’ll offer some thoughts on potential drivers of Panther Racing’s No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet, and Dale Coyne’s No. 18 Honda, which won the first race at Detroit.
Well, we were going to, but it appears the No. 18 announcement has been made via Twitter, and Pippa Mann appears set for that seat in Texas.
But as for the No. 4, hey, we won’t have the chance to make these prognostications after Wednesday, and we didn’t have the chance to make any last season with only one in-season driver change (Bruno Junqueira filling in for an injured Josef Newgarden in Baltimore).
No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet/Panther Racing
- Oriol Servia. If contractual issues can get sorted, this is probably your guy. His Texas results aren’t great (two DNFs in four starts, with best finish of 15th), nor did he endear himself to the locals with a tweet concerning the track’s safety aspects as it was the first 1.5-mile race since Las Vegas 2011. But in terms of his ability to jump in a car last-minute and get up to speed, plus with having worked in Panther’s technical partnership team of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, a near obvious choice.
- Townsend Bell. No NBC broadcasting commitments or American Le Mans Series race this weekend, plus he tweeted last weekend in Detroit he “wanted to pull a Mike Conway” and go from couch to cockpit and win. Oh, and driving for Panther at the Indianapolis 500 didn’t hurt. Has only one prior Texas start, ninth in 2004 for, you guessed it, Panther.
- Carlos Munoz. He did alright in his IndyCar debut at the Indianapolis 500, eh? A less likely or viable candidate given his Andretti Autosport contract, but he does have IndyCar testing miles under his belt at Texas earlier this year, and has been rumored as a possibility.
- A.N. Other No. 1. Ryan Briscoe, who drove at Detroit, is now in Europe for Le Mans advance work, and Conor Daly is there likewise in Hungary. Katherine Legge could fit, potentially, as a driver who raced at Texas last year.