IndyCar preseason driver meetings almost a “Where’s Waldo” in finding drivers currently rideless

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With only a little more than a month to go until the Verizon IndyCar Series season opener in Brasilia, Brazil, there’s, as mentioned previously, still a number of outstanding seats and items to get resolved.

First up on the list – you’d think, anyway – would be filling the seven or eight remaining cars set to make up the balance of the grid.

And these two photos from Josef Newgarden and Pippa Mann at IndyCar’s preseason driver meeting in Indianapolis – both of whom should figure in the 2015 Indianapolis 500 – give away some faces of drivers not currently on the 2015 grid but who could well be on the grid in a little more than a month’s time.

Among those spotted include: Justin Wilson, younger and taller brother Stefan Wilson, Conor Daly, Zach Veach, Carlos Huertas and Sebastian Saavedra.

Justin Wilson has been linked to Andretti Autosport’s vacant fourth seat, while budget is still needed to put that together for him. Stefan had been announced for a Fan Force United seat back last summer, but that deal has gone quiet since it was announced. Both drivers were in Daytona for the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test searching for rides, but due to their professional status as Gold or Platinum-ranked drivers, were strangely less valuable to teams who could instead opt to utilize Silver-ranked drivers per the 2 Silver/Bronze-ranked driver minimum in the pro-am classes.

Daly was also in Daytona staying with good friend James Hinchcliffe, and has an IndyCar test upcoming (more on that in a separate post to come on MST).

Veach, like Wilson, is on the Andretti Autosport short list and is still working towards a program there.

Colombians Huertas and Saavedra are, frankly, surprises in the room. The pair finished 20th and 21st in the 2014 championship – the last two positions among full-time drivers – although Huertas won Houston race 1 in the rain and Saavedra scored the pole position at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Neither has been mentioned in the conversation for the vacant rides as yet, but both found deals late last year and could well be poised to do so again this year.

With IndyCar news still pretty much at a standstill until the dominos start falling, the “Where’s Waldo!” driver approach is a good clue-finder to see what could be happening.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.