De Ferran Dragon Racing have announced that they are abandoning their 2011 campaign, a sad sign of the times for Indycars and the wider world of racing. A pair of Brazilian Indycar champions with the support of Penske have been forced to shut up shop, while the new management of the series are throwing $5 million in loose change into an effort to recruit a few Nascar stars into a one-off appearance at the end of the season. That’s two signs of the times for the price of one.
Despite a whopping 88 meetings with potential sponsors, Tony Kanaan announced on Wednesday that he is likely to quit Indycars and take his talents into sports cars or back home to Brazil, presumably to Stock Car Brasil. He’s even had Kyle Busch trying to tempt him to try his hand in the Camping World Trucks, but it’s a long slog to the top in Nascar as Montoya, Hornish, et al will testify to. Tony has form in LMP2 and touring cars would be a giggle, but at a time when Indycar needs all the star power it can muster this is a blow to the series as much as to Tony, Gil and their team.
De Ferran Dragon may be leaving the series, but before they hit ebay with all their kit they should take the Las Vegas gamble and run a car for Tony Kanaan at the final Indycar round of the current era. With a $5 million prize for any guest driver taking the win it could be a race that more than pays for itself for the two beleaguered Brazilians. If the yet to be determined criteria for the five guest slots don’t go their way then they could always just gamble their Dallara Hondas in the casinos down the road. The odds may not be good, but with the new Indycar rules kicking in for 2012 they may as well take a punt on the tables of Sin City.