Wait, New Teams?

My longstanding biggest critique of IndyCar ever since the introduction of the DW12 is the utter lack of new teams in the series. I mean think about it, 15 of the 33 cars in this year's Indianapolis 500 comes from three teams. If, god forbid, one of those three teams went under, there would be no way a field of 33 would be met.

Yes, there are outside factors that have prevented a couple of new teams from entering the series, like the ridiculous cost of aero kits and a lack of engines provided from Chevrolet and Honda (a third manufacturer would be great) has prevented new teams. But with the introduction of a new chassis next year with no more aero kits (aka a lot less money will be needed) and momentum gaining in IndyCar, a plethora of new teams could be seen on the IndyCar grid on a regular basis. Here's a rundown of the potential teams:

Lazier Partners Racing
The veteran team on this list is Lazier Partners Racing, a family operated team started by 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier and his dad and former racer Bob Lazier. Starting in 2013, Lazier would be a fixture during the Month of May for the next several years. A lack of funding has prevented the team from running a full week of practice, which hampers them from making a serious run at strong performance. They did not qualify in 2015, but have made the field the other three seasons. If the team finds more funding, an expansion of their calendar could be coming. The team makes more strides every year, and that will lead to more success.

Juncos Racing
The longtime Mazda Road to Indy team has expanded to IndyCar in the form of a two car effort in the Indianapolis 500. With a brand new race shop, cars, equipment, and crew, the team is a serious contender to be on the grid on a full-time basis in the future.

Harding Racing
Out of nowhere, Mike Harding of the Harding Group has formed a new team in IndyCar and have enlisted Gabby Chaves as their driver for their first race at Indianapolis. Now, the team announced today that they will be running at Texas and Pocono. There is no reason to think they won't be a full-time entry in the next couple of years.

The new Harding Racing car (Photo: IndyCar Media)

Carlin Racing
Trevor Carlin, the owner of Carlin Racing, one of the best feeder series teams in the world, has continued to express interest in moving up to IndyCar. Plans to be the equipment from the defunct KV Racing outfit fell through, and so now Carlin is playing the waiting game. In an interview with Motorsport.com, Carlin said that he is pursuing the right sponsors to make it happen for a long time and not just a one season effort. With someone who handles his business professionally, I love that he is doing it the right way. It may take a couple of years, but when they do join the grid, it will have a positive impact on the car count and the competitive levels of the field.

Steinbrenner Racing
George Steinbrenner IV, as in Steinbrenner family that owns the New York Yankees, has made it clear that he is going to be fielding a team in the IndyCar Series in the near future. He has also made it clear that he wants to do it with Colton Herta. Steinbrenner has partnered with Michael Andretti in the Indy Lights Series to field young Herta. A lot of things still have to happen for them to be on the grid, but a man like Steinbrenner will make it happen.

The most shocking driver announcement in recent memory was McLaren announcing not only their return to IndyCar, but that driver Fernando Alonso would be in their car. I think the best news about the whole situation was that McLaren, a world-renowned team and car manufacturer, would be a fixture at Indianapolis every year and potentially the IndyCar grid full-time.

The new McLaren IndyCar (Photo: IndyCar Media)

Belardi Auto Racing
One of the small teams of the Indy Lights grid has grown over the years into a serious championship contender each season, and Brian Belardi, the owner, has made it clear that he would love to be in IndyCar someday, but it would likely not be anytime soon without major funding.

Team Pelfrey
With their expansion into Indy Lights, the former IRL team and Pro Mazda giants Team Pelfrey make logical sense to grow into the IndyCar Series at some point. They will likely look to solidify their Indy Lights program before moving up to IndyCar.

Michael Shank Racing
The veteran team in endurance racing founded by former driver Michael Shank has finally breached his way into IndyCar in the form of a dual effort with Andretti Autosport and driver Jack Harvey. This is Shank's first taste of IndyCar, though he attempted to join the series several years ago. He purchased a DW12 but was unable to secure an engine. Don't count them out in the future.

Marotti Racing
With continued efforts of trying to field their own car failing, Marotti Racing has only been able to be an associate team to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the last two Indianapolis 500s. Last year it was Oriol Servia, this year Mikhail Aleshin. Can the team secure the funding, resources, and talent to make their own way onto the grid.

I have not had more of a sense of optimism about new teams in IndyCar. We haven't had fresh blood in so long. Dale Coyne Racing is the only team left in IndyCar that came from the merger from the Champ Car Series. We have seen so many teams leave IndyCar since then. Is there hope?!

Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey