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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

RLLR Signs Servia For '500'

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced today the signing of Oriol Servia to pilot the team's 2nd entry in the 2017 Indianapolis 500.

“Oriol is a talented driver who brings value beyond what takes place on the race track,” said Bobby Rahal. “His race craft is that of a veteran obviously but more important than that is his ability to develop the race car and as a one car team fighting the multi-car teams the last few years, that is a big benefit.  We have a great chemistry at our team and Oriol fits nicely into our program.”

Servia will be making his 4th Indianapolis 500 start with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing this May. He previously ran the 2009, 2014 and 2015 races with the team. In total Servia has made 8 '500' starts with a best start of 3rd and finish of 4th.

The team has made it known that RLLR is interested in putting together a 2nd full-time car, but only with a driver that could help with more than just a paycheck. If more funding can be found Servia will be that guy.

Servia's next race will be his 200th career IndyCar start.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Andretti Signs Sato

Andretti Autosport announced today the signing of Takuma Sato to the team's 4th full-time entry in 2017.

The confirmation of Sato crosses the t's and dots the i's of essentially a driver swap between AJ Foyt Racing and Andretti. Following last season Carlos Munoz became a free agent and with a substantial portion of his funding going away, the Colombian was in need of a paid seat. That seat became available when Foyt switched engine manufacturers from Honda to Chevrolet. Sato, a Honda backed driver who Foyt may have let go for performance issues anyway, wasn't returning to a Chevrolet-powered car. With Munoz's funding-required Honda ride available, it was an obvious landing spot for the veteran Japanese driver.

“I think joining the team will be a new and positive opportunity for Takuma,” said Michael Andretti. “He’s not yet had the chance to be part of a larger team where the drivers collaborate; our four drivers and team of engineers working together has bred success for us in the past and has helped many drivers develop on track. Takuma has strong racing experience and we are looking forward to providing a team atmosphere where he can continue to grow, develop and be successful.”

Sato, who will pilot the No. 26, has racked up 5 podiums, 5 poles and 1 win in his 118 starts with 3 teams.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Foyt Sign Munoz & Daly

AJ Foyt Racing announced Tuesday morning the signing of Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly to the teams two Verizon IndyCar Series entries in 2017. In addition, ABC Supply has signed on to sponsor the team through 2018.

Munoz will pilot the No. 14 while Daly will run the No. 4.

It was thought by many both Foyt seats would open up after a disappointing season by both Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth. But when the team switched from Honda to Chevrolet, a driver switch in the No. 14 car became a sure thing due to Sato being a Honda-backed pilot. Hawksworth's contract to run the team's 2nd entry was no renewed.

While Munoz's car will be based out of their Waller, Texas shop, the team's second entry changes numbers from No. 14 to the No. 4 and will move to their new Speedway location.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Jones Signs With Coyne

Bucking his trend from the previous 30 or so years, Dale Coyne Racing announced today the signing of Ed Jones to the teams 2nd full-time entry in 2017. Jones will run the No. 18 Honda entry alongside teammate Sebastien Bourdais.

“I’m hugely excited about stepping up to the Verizon IndyCar Series next year with Dale Coyne Racing,” said Jones. “To reach an agreement as early as we have done is great news as it gives me plenty of time to settle into the team and get to know everybody properly so we can prepare as well as possible for the season ahead."

Jones has competed in the Indy Lights Series the previous two years, racking up 5 wins, 11 poles, 15 podiums and the series championship last season. The championship prize included a $1 million dollar scholarship to put towards an IndyCar program.

“IndyCar has been my goal ever since I left Europe to come and race in America, and it’s crazy to think I’ll be joining the grid just two years after moving stateside. Together with my management team and sponsors, I’ve worked so hard for this opportunity and I fully intend to grab it by the scruff of the neck and make the most of it.”

Friday, November 4, 2016

Hildebrand Signs With Carpenter

Ed Carpenter Racing announced Friday morning the singing of JR Hildebrand's to the team's full-time No. 21 entry.

The seat became available when Josef Newgarden left the team to pilot the No. 2 car at Team Penske.

“Honestly, I just couldn’t be more ready to get started!” said Hildebrand. “I’ve been close to, but still outside of, this role for long enough to really understand and embrace the opportunity to be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time.”

After winning the 2009 Indy Light Championship with Andretti Green-AFS Racing, Hildebrand ran just 2 races in 2010 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Panther Racing tested and took a liking to the California native and signed him to run the No. 4 entry full-time.

Fast forward past the famous Turn 4 incident at the 2011 Indianapolis 500 and several other disappointing results, Panther Racing let Hildebrand go following a 33rd place finish at Indy in 2013.

In recent years Hildebrand has found a home with Ed Carpenter Racing competing in the last 3 Indianapolis 500 races in addition to some testing duties. Although his starting positions at Indianapolis have slowly dropped from 9th to 10th to 15th, his much more important finishing positions have improved from 10th to 8th to 6th from 2014 to 2016.

“We first started talking about this in 2013 and the timing has just now worked to give JR an opportunity to show what he can do with a full-time ride," said team owner Ed Carpenter. "The job that he has done for the team each time we have put him in a car the past three years has proven to us that he is the right man for the job."