Just a couple of news items as we head toward the season’s halfway point
Callum Ilott has been cleared to drive this weekend. The Juncos Hollinger racing driver injured his hand in a crash during the Indianapolis 500, and missed last week’s race at Detroit. Ilott will be in the car at road America. Natural road courses seem to be the rookie’s strength. he was on his way to his best finish at barber until a spin put him at the back of the field.
Practice Session Time
Indycar will make another change to its practice session this weekend. Earlier this season Indycar allotted an hour to complete the 45 minutes of on track time. The intent was to get the full 45 minutes of track in despite stoppages for tow ins or accidents. It hasn’t quite worked with multiple incidents which have not allowed for a full session.
Tomorrow’s first practice will be 75 minutes, going from 3:330-4:445 pm Central time. Teams will be allowed to use the red tires tomorrow instead of Saturday, a move that Indycar hopes will encourage more cars to take advantage of the time.
Some teams have complained of the lack of practice time. Let’s see if they use the extra time they are given. I appreciate Indycar’s willingness to adjust to find a good solution.
Callum Ilott has not been cleared to drive this coming weekend because of his injury suffered in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. Santino Ferrucci will drive the number 77 entry for Juncos Hollinger Racing. Ferrucci subbed for Jack Harvey at Texas and finished ninth. Ferrucci finishe 10th in the 500 driving for Dreyer and Reinbold Racing.
The full statement from Juncos Hollinger racing:
Indianapolis, IN (June 1, 2022) – After further evaluation of NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Callum Ilott, from the injury he sustained during the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500, Ilott has not been cleared to drive this weekend in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. Santino Ferrucci will replace Ilott in the No. 77 JHR Chevrolet for one event.
JHR and Ilott respect the decision made by the INDYCAR Medical Team and are committed to getting the young Britain back on track as soon as he is well and cleared. Ilott was reevaluated this week after an injury suffered to his hand caused during his wreck at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ilott will go through another evaluation next week.
“Obviously I am devastated not to be racing this weekend in Detroit,” said Ilott. “After speaking with the doctors and specialists here in Indy the damage to my hand was slightly worse than when first looked at. They suggested that the long-term healing was the top priority and any damage that could be done in the short term by racing would be a longer-term problem. So, after learning this I agreed with the medical team’s decision that I would not be cleared and would spend more time healing. Although I would have loved to be racing, I wanted to preserve myself and focus on my health. I spoke with Ricardo (Juncos) and Brad (Hollinger) and we came to a same conclusion for the benefit of the team. I will be with the team this weekend and supporting Santino and providing any guidance I can. I am sorry that I won’t be in the car this weekend but know this is the right decision.”
“This is a very difficult scenario for Ilott and JHR,” said JHR Co-owner and Team Principal Ricardo Juncos. “Together we are looking at the long-term view, so keeping Ilott out of the car to take the necessary time to heal was most important, so we support the INDYCAR’s evaluation. Callum has already proven to be a strong contender this year and we want to keep building on that, so we all agree this is the best decision for this weekend.”
Santino Ferrucci brings a great deal of experience to JHR, having run in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES since 2018. The American recently competed in the Indianapolis 500 with Dreyer and Reinbold Racing finishing 10th and at Texas Motor Speedway with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing finishing ninth.
“Although I am happy to be back in the car, it’s unfortunate for Callum under the circumstances,” said Ferrucci. “I hope his hand heals really quickly and he is back on track soon. I’m just here to help with the team and see if we can get them a really good result and bring in some different knowledge from my experience in Detroit. I am looking forward to having some fun and carrying the momentum I have from Indy. I can’t thank the guys over at Juncos Hollinger enough with in trusting me this weekend and hopefully it goes really smoothly.”
“We want to thank Santino Ferrucci for graciously stepping in to help us out in the No. 77 Chevrolet at Detroit,” said Juncos. “To have a driver of high caliber like Santino will be a great assist to our team. We will provide any support necessary to Santino this weekend as we get him settled in the car.”
“This is a tough moment for all of us here at JHR, but we are all confident this is what’s best for the health and healing of Callum,” said Co-Owner Brad Hollinger. “The support Callum has for this team and the support we all have for Callum, shows the unity of everyone at JHR. We are all here to fully support Santino this weekend and thank him for stepping in on such short notice.”
Callum Ilott posted the fastest lap in the final warm up for Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. The session ran dry despite a slight chance of rain. just a few scattered drops fell.
Alex Palou had the second fastest time. Marcus Ericsson, Scott Dixon, and Alexander Rossi completed the top five.
Eight minutes into the 30 minute session Tatiana Calderon slid off the track in turn 2 and made contact with the barrier. Calderon was unhurt. The rest of the round was green.
Ilott will start 11th tomorrow.
Pole sitter Rinus VeeKay was 20th for this session.
All eyes turn to the skies now to see what kind of race we will have tomorrow. The rain looks to be scattered, which will make for interesting strategy. This race will be intriguing if it is run in completely dry conditions.
Junco Hollinger Racing announced this morning that Callum Ilott will drive full time for the team in 2022. Ilott is driving for Junco Hollinger in the final three races of the 2021 season which concludes Sunday at Long Beach.
Ilott finished second in F2 in 2020 to Mick Schumacher, who went to Haas in Formula 1. He has served as a reserve driver for Alfa Romeo this season.
In his first two races, Ilott has done a decent job given the time he has had in the car and the relative newness of the team.
No other team announcements are expected until next week.
Practice for the Acura grand prix of Long Beach begins at 6 pm Eastern on Peacock.