The seat of the AJ Foyt owned number 14 ABC Supply IndyCar is empty. With Mike Conway likely out after his comments in Fontana about not wanting to race on ovals anymore, the team is looking at all of their options.
Larry Foyt, who runs the team, said they’ve had “at least 20 guys” inquire about the open seat. The team has some options, maybe too many. They could stick with one car and split the schedule between Conway and Wade Cunningham, hire one full-time driver, or do both and run two cars next season.
The driver they desire will need to be able to win big oval races like Indianapolis and Texas, but also perform well on the non-ovals. Everyone knows how important Indy and Texas are to this team. Remember too, that they are a Honda-powered team.
Obviously the big domino of the whole Silly Season spectacle revolves around the (likely) open seat at Ganassi. With Graham Rahal likely going to his father’s team, there will be a lot of drivers eyeing that particular seat. If Ryan Briscoe finalizes his sponsorship to stay at Penske, that would be another giant piece of the puzzle that is solved.
Other notable free agents like Justin Wilson, Sebastien Bourdais, and Oriol Servia are expected to re-sign with their current teams. Having an American driver is something the Foyt’s would like, but it may not be their best option. Tomas Scheckter, Townsend Bell, and Bryan Clausen have all been rumored to be in the mix, but none of them stand out as very good non-oval drivers.
Without any testing in the near future, the decision to find a driver for the 14 car will likely take some time. The team is in no rush to sign someone, especially when you consider the amount of talent they will have to choose from. One driver that won’t be in that crop is AJ Allmendinger, who never responded to AJ’s request for a meeting. He’s back racing in NASCAR, driving for Phoenix.
There are a lot of drivers to choose from, but if the dominos fall like we think they will, Takuma Sato could be a very good match. This could be one of the final deals that comes together during Silly Season, but if they make the right choice, they could be a Championship contender in 2013.