Open-wheel veteran Alex Tagliani's heart is with the IZOD IndyCar Series but that ship may have finally sailed.
Tagliani has been competing in Grand-Am since his departure from Barracuda Racing in early August and the sport's relatively short off-season could mean that he remains in sports cars next season, with the newly merged United Sports Car Championship.
Should that be the case, the suddenly 39-year-old has made peace with the outcome.
"The IndyCar possibilities for next year are with the usual suspects," he told RACER Magazine early this week. "Those rides are out there for anyone to grab for people who have the money to bring. What became very interesting for me, once I started doing sports car racing, is that a lot of doors opened up. I had three, four calls come in right away and more over the past couple of weeks to do sports cars and I'm really liking that.
"There's a good effort going on there in the [USCC], and you know how it is in IndyCar."
He referenced the financial situation in IndyCar that sees cash and how much a driver can bring as a preference to talent. Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan is also still seeking for a place to race next year and may depart for NASCAR, sports cars or Brazilian Stock Cars.
It's expensive to fund a full IndyCar campaign and the Series doesn't have the viability to attract a wide array of partners with deep pockets.
"Drivers today need to find money to race -- a lot of money -- and you have to be a driver, a sponsor hunter, out trying to promote yourself to find more money and all of these things just to keep yourself in IndyCar," Tagliani said. "That's what the last few years have been like for me, and I'll be really honest when I say that what happened with [Barracuda Racing], in terms of my career, was probably a blessing in disguise.
"As that door closed, a whole bunch of them have opened up for me and that wouldn't have been the case if I was still running [in IndyCar] today."
Tagliani has been competing in a Ferrari this season in Grand-Am and RACER says that the 2011 Indianapolis 500 polesitter could be a part of the organizations plans for next season. Tagliani says he has shifted his attention to sports car racing but says a return to IndyCar and select NASCAR Nationwide Series races still may happen.
"Open-wheel is where I'm from, but when curveballs like this come that I've had this year, sometimes it's smarter to look at what's the best way to keep going," he said. "I never want to turn by back on IndyCar; I'd like to do the Indy 500 each year because I know I can do a good job for a good team, and I still have some options to drive there full time, but if I can make it happen, I think sports cars is the way to go. That would be my choice. Right now, I don't control all of these things so it's a little bit of wait-and-see...
"I'd rather go after the best opportunities that will let me have real success than just go after whatever the best [IndyCar] seat is left, you know? I'm committed to sticking to this, and I'm truly excited about where things could be heading for me."