Sam Hornish Jr. was identified with a black silhouette after his last-minute appointment in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway.
But the real mystery driver of racing, circa 2014, is the driver of Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 18 Honda in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
He – or she – is the mythical, legendary, TBA.
TBA has been in this position before. It’s less than a week until practice begins in St. Petersburg, and despite public statements in DCR press releases to the contrary saying the driver would be named by now, they haven’t.
TBA could be one of the team Twitter account’s recent follows: Conor Daly, Carlos Huertas, Luca Filippi, James Jakes, Sage Karam, Peter Dempsey or Sam Bird.
It could be one of its 2013 drivers currently without a full-time ride: Ana Beatriz, Pippa Mann, James Davison or Stefan Wilson.
It could be any of the late-1990s to early-2000s DCR second drivers like a Charlie Nearburg, Paul Jasper, Dennis Vitolo, Geoff Boss, Gualter Salles, Joel Camathias, Tarso Marques, Ricardo Sperafico or Juan Caceres.
It could be any of the names that have tested for Coyne this winter: Arie Luyendyk Jr., Francesco Dracone or Giuseppe Cipriani.
It could be none of the above 20-plus names and someone else plucked from an obscure open-wheel series altogether.
This is the brilliance of Dale Coyne’s second car. He’s always leaving us guessing until the 11th hour.
But I dream of one day where Coyne will run the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ car in an official on-track session, with a driver in a plain white firesuit and a plain white helmet.
It will be then, and only then, that “TBA” will make his or her officially unofficial – or unofficially official – race weekend debut.