Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

December 15, 2010

Panther Racing of the IZOD Indy Car Series Does it Right

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:20 pm

Every once in a while (and more often, recently) some GREAT news emerges from the IZOD IndyCar Series. This week it is the news that J.R. Hildebrand, an American driver who matriculated through the Indy Car ladder system, earned a ride on talent instead of his own ability to fund it. Panther Racing replaced Dan Wheldon in the #4 National Guard Panther car with Hidebrand.

Why can’t most other owners do that as well? Michael Andretti is trying and good for him. But John Barnes and crew went out and did it. That is good for the series and its fans.  Bigger picture, the series gets another American driver after nearly eliminating ALL American driving involvement after Tony George’s bailout of the remnants of cart that began earlier this decade.

That said, Dan Wheldon needs a ride in the series as well. He is an articulate former Indianapolis 500 winner who consistently represents sponsors well. He has not sniffed victory much lately, and he seems to wear out his welcome with teams somewhat quickly, so there are obstacles. Any recent vintage 500 winner (like Buddy Rice) should be driving in the series if they are still in prime shape and young enough.

It is also my understanding that the total Indy Lights field for 2011 could be less than a dozen cars. That is a joke. That needs to be fixed at once. There should be at least 24 competitors in that series, and they should run everywhere the Indy Cars do.



  1. agree about Lights. that series should be kept as inexpensive as possible and Indycar teams should be encouraged to participate in the minor league.

    about JR–Panther has the luxury of getting big time money from the Guard. I’m sure–if American drivers is the goal–that if other teams had that money, they would be happy to hire more US drivers also. But good for them for going with JR.

    Comment by redd — December 15, 2010 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  2. I have to think we’ll be seeing some big changes to Lights in the next two years, in any case. I’d like to see a field of 15+, but 2011 might be a weird year overall.

    Comment by Zachary — December 16, 2010 @ 1:06 am | Reply

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