INDIANAPOLIS — Romain Grosjean. Jimmie Johnson. Scott McLaughlin. These are just part of a star studded rookie class in what will join an already all-star type lineup in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series.
You’ll get McLaughlin on a full time basis with Team Penske. We’ll have Johnson in all road/street courses with Chip Ganassi Racing. Then, we get Grosjean running the same 13 races as Johnson with the Dale Coyne Racing/Rick Ware Racing joint entry.
Talk about a mega storyline and that’s just rookies.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg as we’ve seen a very busy Silly Season in Indy Car thus far. All that’s left is what DCR/RWR will do with the four races that Grosjean isn’t going to race in and what to do about that No. 52 Honda as well.
Grosjean made it perfectly clear — he’s not racing on superspeedway’s. That gives the two races at Texas and the Indy 500 open for the No. 51 Honda. On Wednesday, it was revealed that the 52 entry will run an additional 4-5 races on top of the Indy 500 this year. All signs are pointing Cody Ware to this car for road/street courses for his opportunities, but nothing is guaranteed at the moment. Ware could also shift to the ovals only in the 51 as all options are on the table for what they’ll do with Ware and Dale Coyne will have the final say in that decision making.
From there, the gaps will be filled by someone like Charlie Kimball, Spencer Pigot and/or Pietro Fittipaldi. Both could also be in play for the Carlin seat that has races open in the No. 59 Chevrolet for Texas and the World Wide Technology Raceway.
The rest of the driver lineup is filled. Here’s what’s transpired so far.
Team Penske will expand from three to four full time cars with McLaughlin joining Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud with the team.
Chip Ganassi Racing also expands to a fourth car with a shared Jimmie Johnson and Tony Kanaan entry (No. 48 Honda). Marcus Ericsson is back. As is defending champion Scott Dixon. While Felix Rosenqvist does depart to Arrow McLaren SP, Palou replaces him in the No. 10 Honda.
Rosenqvist, in turns joins Pato O’Ward with Arrow McLaren SP as Oliver Askew wasn’t retained.
Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato are back with RLL. Ed Carpenter Racing will also feature the same lineup with Rinus VeeKay full time and Ed Carpenter/Conor Daly splitting the No. 20 Chevrolet seat in the same capacity.
Meyer Shank Racing will expand to a second car for six races and have Helio Castroneves in it.
Colton Herta shifts from the 88 to the 26 Honda in replacing Zach Veach. Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe join Herta and the already under contract Alexander Rossi at AA. Marco Andretti will be part-time as of now in the No. 98 Honda.
Dale Coyne Racing has Ed Jones in the No. 18 Honda with Vasser-Sullivan as the rest of the situation is stated above.
Carlin has Max Chilton back for road/street courses as well as the Indy 500 and still searching for a driver for the Texas two-step and the World Wide Technology Raceway.
Team Penske (4) – Josef Newgarden (No. 2), Scott McLaughlin (No. 3), Will Power No. 12), Simon Pagenaud (No. 22)
Arrow McLaren SP (2) – Pato O’Ward (No. 5), Felix Rosenqvist (No. 7)
Ed Carpenter Racing (2) – Ed Carpenter ovals only, Conor Daly road courses only (No. 20), Rinus VeeKay (No. 21), Daly in the 3rd Indy 500 car
AJ Foyt Racing (2) – Sebastien Bourdais (No. 14), Dalton Kellett (No. 4)
Carlin (1) – Max Chilton road/street courses only (No. 59) the oval seat is open
Andretti Autosport (5) – Colton Herta (No. 26), Alexander Rossi (No. 27), Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 Honda), James Hinchcliffe (No. 29 Honda), Marco Andretti (No.98 part-time)
Chip Ganassi Racing (4) – Marcus Ericsson (No. 8), Scott Dixon (No. 9), Alex Palou (No. 10), Jimmie Johnson road/street courses only, Tony Kanaan ovals only (No. 48)
Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing (2) – Graham Rahal (No. 15), Takuma Sato (No. 30)
Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan (18 car) and Rick Ware Racing (51 car) (2) – Ed Jones (No. 18 Honda), Romain Grosjean (No. 51 Honda for 13 races), ovals open for 51 ride
Meyer Shank Racing (2) Jack Harvey (No. 60), Helio Castroneves – PT (No. 06 Honda)