The Hinchcliffe Domino Effect could also influence where another free agent lands as Dragon Racing's Sebastien Bourdais has yet to secure his 2014 plans.
Rank the drivers in terms of importance however you like, but with KV's need to have a “name” to appease their sponsors, the popular Frenchman would be the next candidate to represent the Kevin Kalkhoven- and Jimmy Vasser-owned team if Hinchcliffe returns to Andretti.
Bourdais, who currently drives for Dragon Racing, has been on a hot streak of late, but with team owner Jay Penske telling RACER he's still working on his plans for next season, SeaBass is a prime candidate for KV. Enzo Potolicchio, who fields the 8Star Motorsports Grand-Am team Bourdais has driven for on a part-time basis this year, has also said he'd hire the 34-year-old full time if he's unable to remain in open-wheel. Between Dragon, 8Star and a Hinchcliffe-driven KV opportunity, Bourdais should be working from one or more paddocks in 2014.
Panther Racing super-sub Ryan Briscoe, as has been expected, has reportedly inked a multi-year deal to pilot the No. 4 National Guard Chevy. Briscoe, who will compete in the penultimate ALMS round at Virginia International Raceway this weekend with Level 5 Motorsports, raced with Panther for the final time this year at Sonoma, giving veteran open-wheeler Oriol Servia a chance to showcase his talents from Baltimore onward while Briscoe is bound to complete his sports car obligations.
Panther has been working to put the budget together for a second car, which would seemingly present Servia with his best chance for 2014, and KV, which the Catalonian has driven for in Champ Car and IndyCar, is also said to be interested in having the 39-year-old back for a third stint.
With three top candidates to choose from, KV, has set itself up to return next year with another winner to lead the team.
Dale Coyne Racing's Justin Wilson is a “safe bet” to return with the Illinois-based team next season, according to its team owner, and despite the spin-the-wheel-of-who'll-drive-the-second-DCR-car routine that has taken place this year, Coyne wants a full-time solution to pilot the No. 18 Honda alongside Wilson.
Possible second entries from Barracuda Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing could also offer employment opportunities to some of the other free agents on the market. ALMS P1 champions Muscle Milk Pickett Racing has expressed an interest in fielding an IndyCar entry next season, and Potolicchio's 8Star team is looking at an Indy 500 effort, adding more threads for fans to follow. Stay tuned as RACER gathers intel for its next silly season update.