After months of free agent discussions and debates, some of the biggest names on the IndyCar market could find themselves signed and sealed within the same week.
In addition to the expected confirmation of Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan as the fourth member of the Chip Ganassi Racing team, three-time race winner James Hinchcliffe appears set to either fill Kanaan's vacancy at KV Racing or, if Andretti Autosport can pull off a Hail Mary, to stay with the reigning series champions for a third season.
The situation with Hinchcliffe and KV is an interesting one. The Canadian, as most people have reckoned, has been the domino to set the rest of the driver market in motion. Having moved onto solidifying the sponsorship portfolio for the fourth Ganassi car, Kanaan is almost ready to conclude weeks of negotiations with the team, and provided that happens, Hinchcliffe could be the beneficiary of the sponsorship package KV put together to hold onto the Brazilian.
Kanaan was reportedly offered a lucrative multi-year agreement by KV using a blend of sponsors that were especially interested in being linked to a high-profile driver. With Kanaan intent on joining Ganassi, the next logical step for KV was to pursue a high-profile replacement – a necessary move to keep their sponsors engaged for 2014 – and with Hinchcliffe's ongoing unconfirmed status with Andretti Autosport, the 27-year-old is a perfect fit for KV's needs.
As RACER's Robin Miller reported on Monday, Go Daddy informed the Andretti team it would not be returning to sponsor Hinchcliffe's entry, but team owner Michael Andretti has another lead that could keep Hinchcliffe in the No. 27 Chevy. With a solid offer to backfill Kanaan's place at KV and a definite maybe at Andretti, Hinchcliffe finds himself with yet another career-altering decision to make.
Should he take the safe offer with KV, knowing the team will be in a rebuilding phase as Kanaan and many of his Indy-winning crew members depart for Ganassi, or hold out for the chance to stay with Andretti, a team that has won nearly one-third of the races this season and has incredibly chemistry? Only the Mayor of Hinchtown can answer that question.