Dracone set for Dale Coyne test at Sebring

How do you grow a fanbase on the backs of ride buyers? You don't. But because IndyCar's TV ratings are so low (because the IndyCar management prefers to pocket the NBCSN check rather than break the contract and put all races on ABC), the team owners struggle to find sponsorship, so they rely on ride buyers to keep their teams afloat. It's a vicious circle that doesn't have a happy ending.

Francesco Dracone is testing for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring on December 3-4. Dracone, 30, is an Italian with a less than distinguished career in European junior formulas. He was realistically only quicker than Milka Duno – also a member of the Coyne honor roll – in those two starts.

He was slated to drive a P2 class Morgan Judd for Conquest at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2012, but couldn’t get up to speed and was replaced race morning by Jan Heylen, who, you guessed it, is also a graduate of the Coyne School of American Open-Wheel Racing.

Other ride buyers who've tested an IndyCar this offseason, once Dracone does his laps, include Arie Luyendyk Jr. (also for Coyne), Mikael Grenier (KV) and Mikhail Aleshin (SMP Racing via Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), none of which will grow the IndyCar fanbase. In fact they'll shrink it.

ABC/ESPN had Jimmie Johnson host SportsCenter this week, the first athlete to ever do so. Imagine the exposure for him and for NASCAR. What did NBCSN do for Scott Dixon and IndyCar after Dixon won the title? Exactly. And you wonder why the TV ratings are 0.1's? ABC/ESPN have so many channels, radio networks and print outlets with which to promote IndyCar and its drivers. But IndyCar prefers to collect that NBCSN check.

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