MAR 19 – There are a lot of drivers that can feel snubbed and slighted by the fact that they aren’t in an Indycar seat this year. But I’ve always felt like Alex Lloyd and Rafa Matos were the top of the crop who’ve washed out.
What if: Rafa Matos took the $2m 2007 Atlantics scholarship, signed with a Champ Car team, and then raced in the unified Indycar series in 2008 – instead of forfeiting that money and racing in Indy Lights (eventually winning that title as well)? I wonder if the money for winning the Atlantics title was no longer on offer because of the pending merger between Champ Car and Indycar?
What if: HER Energy Drinks had stayed with Alex Lloyd in 2009 and beyond? Granted, if you Google the product, HER Energy Drinks doesn’t come up with very positive results. So many Alex was able to dodge a bullet being associated with that sort of brand. But had they stayed, would Alex still be in the series today? Would Alex have been the catalyst for the Ganassi B-Team that is now filled by Charlie Kimball, and formerly Graham Rahal?
I feel like Alex Lloyd was the prototype for that secondary Ganassi program, but was never able to find the backers Graham and Charlie did in order to make the deal happen. As we know now, he decided to end ties with Ganassi in any effort to get seat time elsewhere.
What if: Instead of racing in Indy Lights and Formula Atlantics, respectively, Matos had raced in Lights a year early, or Lloyd raced in Atlantics instead of Lights? Very much a dream scenario (similar to how in 2006, I wished Dan Wheldon and Sebastien Bourdais could’ve raced against each other, as they were both so dominant) but I feel like it would’ve been a treat to see Feeder talents like Raphael Matos and Alex Lloyd doing battle in the same series.
Due to the nature of feeder series’ not being destination series’, we often times miss opportunities to see fantastic, young talent go head to head unless they both make it into Indycar. That’s something we miss today with no Formula Atlantics and a largely diminished Indy Lights series – the futures best and brightest getting the chance to duke it out before reaching the big leagues.