The IZOD Indycar has been blessed with driver consistency over the past few seasons. Instead of a constant revolving door from midpack on back there have are a number of drivers with two seasons or more of experience who really need to start moving up the grid. In my opinion it’s time for at least five drivers to start producing or start looking for different series.
Simona de Silvestro
Simona has shown flashes of brilliance and a great personality in her three years in the series, but it’s time for her produce. It’s her third season in Indycar – Last season was a write off because of her under-powered Lotus engine – she’s moved up the grid from HVM to KV Racing, and has an experienced teammate to draw from for the first time ever. She was consistently in the Top 10 at the open test at Barber, and a good season for Simona would be a win and a top-10 in points.
Marco seems to get up for one or two races a year, and that’s not enough. He last won at Iowa Motor Speedway in 2011, and finished 16th in points last year while his teammate Ryan Hunter Reay won the championship. In an era where the series needs American star power Marco has sorta been like Dale Earnhardt Jr in that he doesn’t win as much as anyone would like, but he lacks Earnhardt’s legions of fans and firebrand personality. Given his years in the series and the engineering talent Andretti Autosport he should be able to tally two or three wins and a finish in the top six of the point standings.
Graham has been in the series since he was 19, and it’s time for him to step up. Hopefully moving to his Dad’s team will be a positive one for him, but by and large he’s been disappointing, not as disappointing as Marco Andretti, but he needs to be more. Indycar will be much healthier if Graham was winning races and challenging for the points lead.
Yes, E.J. has stopped crashing, but he still isn’t producing. He’s been one of the best funded drivers in the series for a few years now, according to rumors, and he’s not finished in the top 10 yet. I’m not certain if being the fourth car at Andretti Autosport is better than being the third car at KV Racing, but this is his second fast ride. He needs to start converting the flashes of speed to consistent finishes.
He’s not been bad in his first two years with Dale Cone, but he’s not stood out either. I’m not certain what to make of James Jake, and his new contract with Rahal Letterman Racing is the best opportunity of his career. If he can’t move up the grid this year it will start to cast doubts on his ability.