As IndyCar Testing Continues, Free Agents Vie for Final Spots

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May 25, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indy Car Series driver James Davison (33) during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

230 mile-per-hour pole speeds. 11 winners in 18 races. An Indianapolis 500 won by 0.06 seconds. If the Verizon IndyCar Series had a genre, you might be inclined to call it “action.”

In the winter of 2015, it’s starting out as more of a mystery.

Aerokits are, to date, well-kept secrets. Grainy spy shots of the new, manufacturer-specific bodywork (clad in camouflage) have been the public’s only window into the next generation aesthetics. The results of private testing at Sebring were confidential, too, leaving only speculation as to which team might have made the best start, albeit in the old cars.

Then, there’s the other puzzle: free agency.

Six known seats remain on the IndyCar grid. Powerhouse teams Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport each have one, vacated by Ryan Briscoe and James Hinchcliffe, respectively. Dale Coyne Racing, frequently tardy in driver decisions, brings two open rides. Schmidt Peterson, where Hinchcliffe ended up, has one space to fill, while KV Racing’s second car is also available.

All five of those teams sent at least one car to Victory Lane in 2014. They’ll have high standards on talent, even with the constraints of funding leaving all but Dale Coyne’s primary car in need of a sponsored driver.

Luckily, many racers are trying to meet them, from Indy Lights standouts to European stars, series veterans, and even an X Games gold medalist.