Dale Coyne just loves to keep people guessing

Nothing has been signed, but it's looking more and more likely that James Davison will pilot the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda for the Indy 500.

Dale Coyne just loves to keep people guessing
Francesco Dracone, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
GTD class pole winner James Davison
James Davison, KV Racing Technology
James Davison celebrates pole
Carlos Huertas, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Dale Coyne
Carlos Huertas, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
GTD polesitter James Davison

There was a time when veteran team owner Dale Coyne wouldn’t reveal the drivers for his two Dale Coyne Racing (DCR) cars until they showed up for practice at any given Indy car racetrack.

On Monday’s first official day of practice for the 99th Indianapolis 500, Carlos Huertas practiced in the No. 18 car he drove at St Petersburg, New Orleans and the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, placing 27th of 30 drivers working at the track. The Colombian sat out the Long Beach and Barber Motorsports Park contests. Pippa Mann drove her No. 63 DCR Honda machine on Monday afternoon, placing 25th.

The No. 19 DCR has been wheeled, without distinction (if you don’t count running into his crew chief at NOLA) by Italian Francesco Dracone for the first five road/street course races, but Dracone has little to no experience on an oval track, making a substitute essential for the first - and most important - oval race of the season.

Speculation has surrounded three drivers: Vitor Meira, Katherine Legge, and James Davison. 

On Tuesday morning, engineers within the DCR team said that James Davison has been the one selected to drive the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Boy Scouts of America Honda/Firestone entry in this year’s 99th Indianapolis 500. The 28-year-old also made laps in the car with 30 minutes to go in Tuesday practice.

The Australian is a third generation racer whose father Jon drove in Formula 5000 and grandfather Lex was a four-time Australian Grand Prix winner.

Davison's open-wheel background

Davison has been in American open wheel competition since 2005 (Formula BMW USA, Formula Atlantic and Indy Lights) and has also raced in the Rolex Sports Car Series and Pirelli World Challenge, where he is currently a full-time driver for the Always Evolving NISMO team, which ironically has a race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (formerly Mosport) this weekend.

Davison’s first Indy 500 experience came in 2014 with KV Racing Technology where he finished 16th. Davison contested two INDYCAR races with Coyne’s outfit in 2013, finishing 15th at MId-Ohio and 18th in Sonoma.

Conflicting commitments

Shortly after the track opened for six hours of practice on Tuesday, Davison told me he hopes to drive in the Indy 500 on May 24th but another driver would have to qualify the car as he’s got that Pirelli World Challenge AE/NISMO commitment in Canada.

The last time a second driver intentionally qualified for an Indy 500 racer came in 1981. Qualifying was rained out the first weekend and Wally Dallenbach came out of retirement to qualify for Mario Andretti, who had prior obligations with Colin Chapman and Lotus in Formula 1, forcing Andretti to the rear of the field.

Honda reps said Brian Barnhart, president of competition for INDYCAR wasn’t terribly pleased with that two-driver prospect, which could throw a wrench into Davison’s plans to race this week in Canada and next week at Indianapolis.

shares
comments
Fan injured in IndyCar season opener files lawsuit

Previous article

Fan injured in IndyCar season opener files lawsuit

Next article

Chevrolet drivers comment on new aero kits

Chevrolet drivers comment on new aero kits
Load comments
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021