NASCAR is usually what people think of first when they hear the words “professional racing.” However, some of the most exciting racing moments have happened in the IndyCar Series.
With uniquely modeled cars that are designed to run every kind of track you can imagine, this fast and close motorsport is gritty, loud and full of close calls. It’s the kind of stuff that keeps fans constantly on the edge of their seat. While the sport has gotten a bad rap in times past, here’s hoping that this list of Best IndyCar teams can put a different spin on things.
10 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
With seven wins, two Indianapolis 500 pole positions and 26 podium finishes, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has left its personal stamp on the NTT IndyCar Series. Arrow Schmidt’s drivers have been described as “the most daring athletes in the world,” with good reason.
Driving through complex road courses and race tracks with 650 horsepower powering your car is no small feat. The founder and owner, Sam Schmidt, was once a driver himself until an accident left him permanently paralyzed. Despite this tragedy, he persisted in what he loved and formed one of the most formidable teams in the IndyCar Series.
Just entering the NTT IndyCar Series this year, the Dragon Speed racing team has a lot of promise. Founded in 2007, this American-grown team has been an international operation for over 10 years.
Now, the team has made the leap from championship sports car racing into the Indycar arena. This foray into Indycar racing wasn’t without its difficulties, but with boundless enthusiasm and confidence, the team intends to expand from part-time to full time in 2020. The type of cars is quite different. Exciting stuff, for sure! Fans of their sports car victories are eager to see them get another taste of the Indy circuit.
Founded in 1996, Carlin (aka Carlin Motorsport) has passed 200 drivers through its doors and sent them off to become some of the most well-renowned racers of our time. In fact, Carlin has been described as a “well-trodden staircase to F1.”
A big character in the Indy Racing world, Carlin underwent a restructuring in 2010 in order to quell concerns about the team’s long-term future. With commendable determination and vigor, the Carlin Team is attempting to focus their ambitions on growing their brand through corporate backing and private funding; here’s hoping that looking ahead will pay off for them.
7 Ed Carpenter Racing
The Ed Carpenter Racing Team is particularly impressive because it got a pretty recent start in late 2011, and the owner and founder started out racing for himself in his own car! Even more amazing, Ed Carpenter came in first at the 2012 season finale at Auto Club Speedway.
At the 2013 Indianapolis 500, he led the most laps of any driver racing in that event. Needless to say, he quickly became a fan favorite in his hometown of Indianapolis, and his team has followed in his footsteps towards success. Ed Carpenter Racing has met and exceeded everyone’s high expectations.
6 Dale Coyne Racing
The Dale Coyne team has a long history in racing. The founder, Dale Coyne, was a dedicated driver who ran seven seasons in CART before deciding to focus his efforts on other up and coming drivers. During the first year of the team’s IndyCar career, two drivers recorded five combined top 10 finishes and led several laps during the Indianapolis 500.
After 25 years of racing, in 2009, Team Coyne celebrated its maiden IndyCar Series win at Watkins Glen International. Based in Plainfield Illinois, the Dale Coyne team has made an impressive professional name for itself, much like its namesake.
5 Team Lotus
Despite leaving the Indycar series in 2012, Team Lotus left its mark on the sport. More than a decade after it raced last, it continues to be one of the best racing teams in history. Between 1962 and 1978, they won six Drivers' Championships, seven Formula One Constructors' titles, and the Indianapolis 500 in the United States between 1962 and 1978.
It was truly a shame to see them go. Lotus chief operating officer Aslam Farikullah said: “The decision not to continue was not an easy one and Lotus does not discount the possibility to re-enter the series at some time in the future.”
4 Chip Ganassi Racing
Following his career as a race car driver, Ganassi founded his own IndyCar team in 1990. Over the last 30 years, Chip Ganassi Racing has become a permanent fixture in the auto racing industry. This team is considered one of the most successful and innovative teams that the sport can lay claim to.
Over the years, Ganassi Indycar teams have accumulated 12 championships and over 100 wins. That includes five in the Indianapolis 500. Overall, Chip Ganassi teams can claim 19 championships and 200 victories with 9 teams. The 2019 season marked the 25th anniversary of Ganassi’s first IndyCar win.
3 Newman/Haas Racing
Based in Lincolnshire, Illinois, Newman/Haas Racing was born from the coming together of two racing competitors in 1983. Newman/Haas was one of the most successful racing teams during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.
Despite never claiming victory at the Indianapolis 500, the team can claim 105 CART/Champ car race wins and eight season championships. For those reasons alone Newman and Haas is considered an elite team. Unfortunately, in 2011, Carl Haas announced the teams' withdrawal from Indy racing because of the “financial climate.” It was a blow to the sport, for sure, but their legacy lives on.
2 Andretti Autosport
The Andretti Autosport global enterprise was originally called Forsythe Green Racing and was owned by Barry Green and Gerald Forsythe. Currently, it is led by the racing legend Michael Andretti and can lay claim to winning 200 races, four IndyCar Series championships, one Indy Pro 2000 and one USF2000 championship, three Indy Lights titles.
They were also victorious at the famous Indianapolis 500-mile race. With impressive statistics like that, the Andretti team definitely lives up to the expectations surrounding its prestigious name. There’s a lot that gearheads and Indycar enthusiasts can expect from the Andretti Autosport team in 2019.
1 Team Penske
Founded in 1965 by Roger Penske, Team Penske is one of the most successful American teams in the history of pro racing.
A self-built family name, the Penske team competed in the Indy Racing League in 2001 and joined the series full time during the following season. Penske became synonymous with Indy Racing after winning the Indy 500 200 times and setting a speed record that remained the racing record for a dozen years. In 2018, they produced one of their most remarkable seasons in the NTT IndyCar series and in their personal history, claiming the top six positions in the ranking.