Recapping the Indycar News

What a week it has been for Indycar. Silly season awoke from its slumbers and a lot of news came through the woodworks. Here is a brief recap of the news this past few days:

James Jakes joins Rahal
Indycar driver James Jakes will return for his third season in Indycar as he switches teams from Dale Coyne Racing to Rahal Letterman Racing. Jakes will pilot the number 30 car, teaming up with veteran driver Graham Rahal, and he will participate on a full time basis. RLL will now be fielding three cars at Long Beach, with Mike Conway joining the duo.

James Jakes - Grand Prix of Baltimore - Day 2
James Jakes in 2012 (Photo: Jonathan Ferry / Getty Images NA)

Viso signs with Andretti Autosport
Venezuelan driver EJ Viso signs with Andretti Autosport to complete the four car outfit, joinging James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, and defending champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. Viso will pilot the number 5 car in a joint effort with HVM Racing and Keith Wiggins. The official entry is listed as PDVSA Team Venezuela/Andretti Autosport. He will participate in all 19 rounds of the 2013 season.

Leaders Circle Announced
The Indycar's subsidation program called Leaders Circle was announced this week. Each of the entrants listed below will receive $1 million in additional funding for 2013. A team earns a Leaders Circle spot based off of their results in the past season. Three entrants left (Penske 3rd car (Briscoe), Chip Ganassi Racing (Rahal), and KV Racing (Barrichello)) leaving vacancies for other entrants to bump their way in. Indycar also decided to add two entrants, increasing the program to 22 entrants. Here is an updated list of the entrants receiving the funding:

1, Andretti Autosport, Ryan Hunter-Reay 
3, Team Penske, Helio Castroneves 
4, Panther Racing, JR Hildebrand 
5, Andretti Autosport/PDVSA Team Venezuela (from HVM), EJ Viso 
7, Dragon Racing, Sebastien Bourdais 
9, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Scott Dixon 
10, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Dario Franchitti 
11, KV Racing Technology, Tony Kanaan 
12, Verizon Team Penske, Will Power 
14, A.J. Foyt Enterprises, Takuma Sato 
15, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Graham Rahal 
18, Dale Coyne Racing, TBA 
19, Dale Coyne Racing, TBA 
20, Ed Carpenter Racing, Ed Carpenter 
22, Panther DRR, Oriol Servia 
25, Andretti Autosport, Marco Andretti 
27, Andretti Autosport, James Hinchcliffe 
67, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, Josef Newgarden 
77, Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, Simon Pagenaud 
78, KV Racing Technology, Simona de Silvestro 
83, NovoNordisk Chip Ganassi Racing, Charlie Kimball 
98, Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, Alex Tagliani

Allmendiger gets test with Penske
Former Champ Car driver and NASCAR veteran AJ Allmendinger has signed on with Team Penske to participate at a test on February 19th at Sebring. According to sources, if the test goes well, then AJ will get a part time deal with Team Penske at a number of races, including Barber, Long Beach, and Indianapolis. If 2013 goes well, it could lead to a full time deal in 2014.

Hamilton brings HP onboard 
Davey Hamilton returns to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports despite contemplating switching teams. The partnership, which also existed in 2012, brings computer giant Hewlett Packard to sponsor the #77 entry driven by Simon Pagenaud.

Simon Pagenaud - Grand Prix of Baltimore - Day 2
The HP car driven by Pagneaud (Photo:
Jonathan Ferry / Getty Images NA)

Briscoe left hanging
Ryan Briscoe may be without a full time ride in 2013. Briscoe, who has driven for Team Penske since 2008, was let go by the team this past year. There were many scenarios in which Ryan could obtain a full time ride for 2013. One of those was signing with Dragon Racing. The deal would put him in the seat formally occupied by Katherine Legge, would be sent over to a satellite team, most likely HVM Racing. But with HVM now off the table with EJ Viso and Andretti Autosport, and a report coming out saying Briscoe denying a contract offer at Dragon, Ryan may be out with a chair in this festival of music.

Lots of news! Anything stand out to you? Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey