2024 IndyCar Silly Season Is About More than Just Driver Moves

a man smiling next to another man
IndyCar Silly Season Isn't Just About Driver MovesPenske Entertainment/James Black
  • The 2024 IndyCar season started with the silliness of a disqualification at St. Petersburg.

  • In the Road America race June 9, Nolan Siegel raced in place of Agustin Canapino, who pulled out of the event in bizarre circumstances.

  • And, oh yeah, there's already been four different drivers in the No. 6 car.

It’s tempting to say that the IndyCar Series silly season has begun in earnest.

But the fact is that much of the season has been silly, and it began with the opening event of the schedule on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. That race seemed innocent enough as Team Penske star Josef Newgarden rolled to an impressive victory.


But silly had arrived.

More than a month later, during the Long Beach race weekend, officials discovered that the Penske team had been using the push-to-pass system illegally, and, among other penalties, Newgarden’s St. Pete victory was wiped from the slate.

Then Newgarden, operating without key members of his team because of in-house suspensions prompted by the St. Pete mess, turned in a daring pass on the final lap and wins the Indianapolis 500.


In the Road America race June 9, upstart Nolan Siegel, who had impressed at Indianapolis despite failing to qualify for the 500, raced in place of Agustin Canapino, who pulled out of the event in bizarre circumstances. Theo Pourchaire, who had been involved in a controversial incident with Canapino the week before on the Detroit street-course circuit, was hammered on social media, leading Canapino to skip Road America.

Siegel finished 23rd at Road America.

Fast-forward to this week as the series approaches its halfway point. The latest unexpected move saw Arrow McLaren name Siegel as the long-term replacement for Pourchaire in a multi-year deal in its No. 6 Dallara-Chevrolet.

The zaniness presumably will settle a bit this weekend as the series arrives at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California for the eighth point race of the year.

a race car on a track
Nolan Siegel parlayed a strong month of May at Indianapolis with a big week at Le Mans into a full-time IndyCar ride.Penske Entertainment/James Black

No promises, though.

The Arrow McLaren announcement will throw a big spotlight on the 19-year-old Siegel, who is the youngest driver on the grid and must be a bit dizzy by all that’s transpired. Siegel, already on the list of prominent newcomers, saw his stature rise with an LMP2 win as part of the United Autosports team in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Siegel drove with Bijoy Garg and Oliver Jarvis at Le Mans.

Arrow McLaren hurriedly signed Siegel, who departed the Indy NXT series for IndyCar, before he landed with another team. Arrow McLaren sporting director Tony Kanaan, who worked extensively with Siegel at Indy last month, said timing was key. “If we didn’t jump, somebody else would,” he said.

Pourchaire made five starts for Arrow McLaren this year with a best finish of 10th. He said he hopes to remain in the series.

Siegel becomes the fourth driver in the Arrow McLaren No. 6 this year.

a man in a black jacket
Agustin Canapino is one of four drivers in the No. 6 car this season — now that’s silly.Penske Entertainment/Chris Jones

“The real goal with this change is seeking stability that the team needs with us being able to make a multiyear commitment to kind of hopefully stop the merry-go-round,” Arrow McLaren team principal Gavin Ward said. “It gives us the first opportunity we’ve had in a while to be proactive rather than reactive in how we go about filling the seat for the 6 car.”

The No. 6 team was tossed into turmoil early when David Malukas, scheduled to run for Arrow McLaren for the year, suffered a broken hand and wrist in a bicycle riding accident and failed to start a race. He eventually was released by the team.

“The disruption we’ve had off the back of one little accident on a mountain bike is pretty phenomenal,” Ward said. “And looking forward to kind of moving past that and focusing on just building a better race team and frankly building up a development plan that can set a huge prospect like Nolan up for the greatest success.”

As for Canapino, he is scheduled to return to the No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet this weekend at Laguna Seca.