Silly Season Update: November 14th

As with any Indycar offseason, there is a lot of driver and team changes to keep track of. Here are all team and driver updates for the 2015 Verizon Indycar Season as of November 14th:

Bryan Clauson*
2015 Team: Jonathan Byrd's Racing
2014 Team: N/A

Bryan Clauson reemerges to the Indycar scene for the first time since 2012. Not only has Clauson not driven an Indycar in some time, but the team he is driving for, Jonathan Byrd's Racing, hasn't been to Indianapolis since 2005. The team will partner with KV Racing for the Month of May.

Bryan Clauson - Indianapolis 500 - Day 1
Clauson at Indy in 2012 (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

Buddy Lazier*
2015 Team: Lazier Partners Racing
2014 Team: Lazier Partners Racing 

It is clear that Buddy Lazier and his team Lazier Partners Racing has the intentions to run in the 2015 Indianapolis 500. Lazier has run in the last two Indianapolis 500s, so barring anything unexpected, we will see them back in 2015.

Carlos Munoz
2015 Team: Andretti Autosport
2014 Team: Andretti Autosport 

Carlos Munoz will look to build on a top-ten championship effort in his rookie season with another strong performance under Andretti Autosport.

Charlie Kimball
2015 Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
2014 Team: Chip Ganassi Racing

Charlie Kimball is expected to be back with Chip Ganassi Racing for his fifth season.

Ed Carpenter
2015 Team: Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing
2014 Team: Ed Carpenter Racing 

The polesitter for the last two Indianapolis 500s will race in 2015 under a new banner. Ed Carpenter has joined forces with Sarah Fisher to create Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing. Like last season, Ed will take over oval duties. This year, that means Indianapolis, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee, Iowa, and Pocono.

Graham Rahal
2015 Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
2014 Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Graham Rahal once again headlines the team at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racnig. The team has made many internal changes in order to improve results following a disastrous 2014 season.

Graham Rahal - Raceway on Belle Isle: Day 1
National Guard is no more at RLL (Photo: Nick Laham / Getty Images North America)

Helio Castroneves
2015 Team: Team Penske
2014 Team: Team Penske

Helio Castroneves will once again return to Team Penske for the 2015 Indycar season. This came despite the fact that there was some rumors that Roger Penske was going to drop one of his drivers to make way for Simon Pagenaud. This rumor was rebuked by many and was eventually killed when Penske announced that Pagenaud would be driving a new fourth team car. Will Helio finally get a championship after falling short once again?

Jack Hawksworth
2015 Team: AJ Foyt Enterprises
2014 Team: Bryan Herta Autosport

The Flying Brit Jack Hawksworth is switching teams for 2015. Jack had an up-and-down rookie campaign with Bryan Herta Autosport, with some great performances and some not so good performances. Now he jumps to AJ Foyt Enterprises, where he and Takuma Sato will both have the ability to work with a teammate, which is something neither of them had last year. Can Hawk and Foyt prove to be a good combination?

James Hinchcliffe
2015 Team: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
2014 Team: Andretti Autosport

James Hinchcliffe was one of the best drivers to move this offseason. After three relatively successful years at Andretti Autosport, Hinch is reuniting with his former Indy Lights owner Sam Schmidt at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, replacing Simon Pagenaud. This could be a solid move for Hinch, who will get to focus less on finding sponsors and more on racing.

James Hinchcliffe - GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma: Day 2
Hinchcliffe is no longer at Andretti Autosport (Photo: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images North America)

Jay Howard*
2015 Team: Bryan Herta Autosport
2014 Team: N/A 

Jay Howard, who hasn't found a way back into since the 2011 season, is going to drive for the Bryan Herta Autosport for the 2015 Indianapolis 500 and maybe a few other races. This came as a surprise to me because recently, Jay has been one of those drivers who always talked about getting back into the show but it never happened. Now he actually has a ride, so now it's time to put up or shut up.

Josef Newgarden
2015 Team: Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing
2014 Team: Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing

Breaking news: Josef Newgarden has a teammate! This is something that is completely foreign to him. In his three years in Indycar, he's only had teammates at two of his three Indianapolis 500s. Now, he will have Ed Carpenter on ovals and TBA on road courses to help him after Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing merged with Ed Carpenter Racing to form Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing. Time for Josef to shine.

Juan Pablo Montoya
2015 Team: Team Penske
2014 Team: Team Penske

Juan Pablo Montoya, who looked like he was having a genuine amount of fun in 2014, happily returns to the Verizon Indycar Series in 2015 with Team Penske. Hopefully he can build on the great season he had last year.

Marco Andretti
2015 Team: Andretti Autosport
2014 Team: Andretti Autosport

Marco Andretti returns to Andretti Autosport for another season.

Mikhail Aleshin
2015 Team: Schmidt Peterson Racing
2014 Team: Schmidt Peterson Racing 

Assuming Mikhail Aleshin is healthy and mentally fit to drive and assuming SMP Bank and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports can agree on a sponsorship deal, then the electrifying Russian Aleshin will return to Indycar in 2015 and for many years to come.

Ryan Hunter-Reay
2015 Team: Andretti Autosport
2014 Team: Andretti Autosport 

2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay has signed a multi-year extension with Andretti Autosport and DHL, keeping him in title contention for years to come.

Ryan Hunter-Reay - Indianapolis 500 Trophy Presentation
The championship didn't end the way he wanted, but RHR still won the Indianapolis 500,
making it a great season (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

Scott Dixon
2015 Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
2014 Team: Chip Ganassi Racing 

Scott Dixon is all but confirmed to be back with Chip Ganassi Racing for another season.

Sebastien Bourdais
2015 Team: KV Racing
2014 Team: KV Racing

Sebastien Bourdais moved to KV Racing after the 2013 season, and themoved  proved to be a good one. Despite not being competitive on ovals (excluding Indianapolis), Bourdais got back to winning form on road courses that we witnessed in the Champ Car days. He won his first race since 2007 at Toronto, While I don't think Bourdais is a championship contender, he is certainly a contender to win races.

Simon Pagenaud
2015 Team: Schmidt Peterson Racing
2014 Team: Team Penske

The biggest blue chip free agent in the field was Simon Pagenaud. Pagenaud, who has won several races and consistently battled for championships with Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports, is moving to powerhouse Team Penske to drive their fourth car, where he will have no reason to finish outside the top-five in the championship.

Simon Pagenaud - GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma: Day 3
Pagenaud jumps from the 77 to the 22 (Photo: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images North America)

Takuma Sato
2015 Team: AJ Foyt Enterprises
2014 Team: AJ Foyt Enterprises

Takuma Sato, who has had some rough times at AJ Foyt Enterprises, returns for another season with Foyt. Unlike past years, Sato will have a teammate this season in Jack Hawksworth.

Tony Kanaan
2015 Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
2014 Team: Chip Ganassi Racing

Tony Kanaan is expected to be back for the 2015 season with Chip Ganassi Racing. Kanaan looks to build on a consistent season with Ganassi, winning the season finale at Fontana.

Will Power
2015 Team: Team Penske
2014 Team: Team Penske

The 2014 Verizon Indycar Champion Will Power will be back with Team Penske in 2015, switching from car #12 to car #1.

Will Power - MAVTV 500 - Day 2
Power celebrating his championship win (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

Number of confirmed full-time cars: 18

Number of confirmed Indianapolis 500 cars: 21
*Indianapolis 500 entries only

Team Notes

Andretti Autosport still has a vacant seat that has been left open by James Hinchcliffe. All signs point to either Justin Wilson or GP2 ace Daniel Abt to take over the seat. Also, Zach Veach is actively looking to join the team for a part-time schedule.

Bryan Herta Autosport still has the #98 car to fill. Bryan Herta has been actively looking for sponsors to fund his full-time program. I fully expect this car to be on the grid in St. Petersburg. Not sure who the driver will be though.

Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing needs to figure out what they are going to do with the #20 car. Ed Carpenter will be driving on the ovals, but will he do what he did in 2014 and split the car with a driver, or will he field a car full-time and a third car for himself to drive on ovals? That looks to be the best option on paper. If he does go this route, then JR Hildebrand would be a prime candidate. If not, then JR Hildebrand or Mike Conway would be the candidates for the road course car.

Chip Ganassi still has the fourth car to fill. They have the fourth seat to fill. All signs point to Sage Karam to take over the car given that he finds sponsorship. Ganassi basically told Ryan Briscoe, who drove a pretty average season for Ganassi in 2014, thanks but no thanks.

Dale Coyne Racing will, as usual, take his sweet time to decide his 2015 plans. If he isn't careful, he could lose his great driver Justin Wilson. Justin and Carlos Huertas drove the full-time cars in 2014. It also seems like a near-lock that Pippa Mann joins the team in the third car for the Indianapolis 500 for a third consecutive year.

Davey Hamilton plans to either expand on with a current team or start his own team to field a car in the 2015 season. Hamilton had previously been a partner on Sam Schmidt's team.

Fan Force United announced several months ago that they plan to run a season in 2015 with Stefan Wilson behind the wheel. With no news from them recently, it's tough to determine if it will happen.

KV Racing already has Sebastien Bourdais under contract, but a second car has not yet been locked up. Sebastian Saavedra drove a joint KV-AFS Racing entry last year. With lackluster results, it remains to be seen if Saavedra will return or if a driver, who will likely need funding, comes to the team.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is fielding Graham Rahal for the 2015 season, but it remains to be seen if a second car will run either the full-time or part-time schedule. Expect a second entry for at least the Indianapolis 500, or maybe more.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, with James Hinchcliffe under their wing for 2015 and an expected return from Mikhail Aleshin, has tested drivers Gabby Chaves, Rodolfo Gonzalez, and Rocky Moran Jr. Maybe some part time action coming for one of them.

Driver Notes

Here are the drivers I can see in Indycar in 2015 that have not been signed yet:

  • Daniel Abt
  • Townsend Bell
  • Jack Brabham
  • Ryan Briscoe
  • Gabby Chaves
  • Mike Conway
  • Conor Daly
  • James Davison
  • Luca Filippi
  • Rodolfo Gonzalez
  • JR Hildebrand
  • Carlos Huertas
  • Sage Karam
  • Katherine Legge
  • Pippa Mann
  • Franck Montangy
  • Rocky Moran Jr.
  • Martin Plowman
  • Sebastian Saavedra
  • Oriol Servia
  • Alex Tagliani
  • Zach Veach
  • Jacques Villeneuve
  • Justin Wilson

Do you have any predictions as to which drivers go where before Brazil? Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey