The National Guard’s sponsorship of IndyCar racing appears on the move, with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing the winner of a multiteam pursuit.
Formal confirmation has not been made.
Panther Racing has had the funding that approaches $13 million annually since 2008, but several teams bid on the deal for next year.
Even if the funding is not that much for 2014, the financial infusion likely will allow Bobby Rahal’s team to hire a top driver to pair with Graham Rahal.
Top of the list figures to be Justin Wilson, who partnered with Rahal at Newman-Haas Racing in Champ Car. James Hinchcliffe (three wins this year) could be available along with Sébastien Bourdais (31 career wins, four Champ Car titles).
The loss of the National Guard sponsorship figures to be big blow for Panther Racing, which has had the contract since 2008. Panther is believed to have had an agreement with Ryan Briscoe for next year, but that could be tied to having sponsorship for the No. 4 car.
Panther has not won a race in the National Guard era, although it came within one corner of winning the 2011 Indianapolis 500 when JR Hildebrand crashed. That win went to the late Dan Wheldon, who had a pair of runner-up finishes in the 500 as a Panther driver.
Hinchcliffe is unsigned despite having an offer from KV Racing Technology to replace the Ganassi-bound Tony Kanaan. Andretti Autosport also is trying to re-sign Hinchcliffe.