IndyCar Driver Review: The part-timers

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We take a brief look at the part-time drivers, most of whom only did one or two race weekends, in this final look at our driver-by-driver segment of MotorSportsTalk’s 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season review.

24. Oriol Servia
25. Kurt Busch
26. JR Hildebrand
27. Sage Karam
28. Luca Filippi
29. James Davison
30. Jacques Villeneuve
31. Alex Tagliani
32. Townsend Bell
33. Pippa Mann
34. Martin Plowman
35. Buddy Lazier
36. Franck Montagny

Compared to 2013, there were very few part-time campaigns to note where drivers shone in limited opportunities.

Only Oriol Servia and Luca Filippi drove more than two, but less than six races this season. Each had four races in Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s second car.

Servia overachieved at Long Beach with seventh, and was a caution away from stealing a win at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Filippi got another four-race cameo of his own later in the year but his results didn’t match his speed at Houston or Toronto. Sadly, it remains to be seen if we’ll see either in an IndyCar again.

Of the month of May-only one-offs, NASCAR’s Kurt Busch and Indy Lights champion Sage Karam each drove stellar Indianapolis 500s. It would have been nice to see JR Hildebrand earn further drives with Ed Carpenter Racing; likewise, fellow Californian and NBCSN analyst Townsend Bell nearly stole the show at the Indianapolis 500 in one of his best ‘500 drives.

Back in an IndyCar for the first time in three years, Martin Plowman had a month of May to forget when he launched over fellow one-off driver Franck Montagny at the GPI, then hit Josef Newgarden under caution in the ‘500 two weeks later.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.