For a second consecutive year, it’s taken until late in the week in the run up to the Verizon IndyCar Series opener for Dale Coyne to confirm his second driver, better known until now as TBA.
For a second consecutive year, the driver’s a young individual from South America. But while in 2013 it was Brazilian Ana Beatriz (now Bia Figuieredo), in 2014 it will be Colombian rookie Carlos Huertas.
Huertas, who tested for Panther Racing this offseason, is now the fourth Colombian and fourth rookie in the 22-car field. That said, Friday’s first practice will be his first time driving in the No. 18 Honda.
“It’s not ideal; it would have been better to do the (Open) test, but the good thing is nobody has tested here,” Huertas said, via IndyCar.com.
Huertas is expected, but not officially confirmed, to contest the remainder of the road and street races. Meanwhile, the No. 18 seat is open for ovals.
Part-time NTT IndyCar Series entrant Juncos Racing will announce their attempt to qualify for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 within the next few weeks, according to RACER.
The team, which made its Indy 500 debut in 2017, ran 12 of the 17 IndyCar Series races last season, but has only made a start in one of the four events so far in 2019, finishing 18th in the inaugural running of the IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas with Kyle Kaiser behind the wheel.
Though no driver has yet to be announced for the single-car entry, Kaiser is expected to be the leading candidate for the ride. The 23-year-old Californian has raced for the team since 2014, where he won the 2017 Indy Lights championship.
One of the top teams in the Road to Indy ladder system, Juncos Racing has over 50 wins between Indy Lights and Indy Pro 2000 competition. The team’s most recent victory came in the second Indy Lights race at St. Petersburg this year with Rinus VeeKay behind the wheel.
Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter