Ferrucci Stays with RLL for Detroit

Santino Ferrucci’s Indycar run continues this weekend as he will again drive the number of 45 Hy-Vee car for Rahal hours Letterman hours Lanigan Racing.

Ferrucci drove the car to a sixth place finish in the Indianapolis area 500 May 30. He has finished in the top seven I have all three of his runs in the past 500.

Hy_Vee appears to be a good increasing its involvement with RLL. We may see Ferrucci later in the year as well.

Ferrucci started 2021 as a part time job Xfinity series driver for the Sam Hunt Racing. It looks as though he is trying to add as many of the Indycar races to his 20 race stock car schedule as. he can.

It’s always good to have another car on the grid and a sponsor increasing its involvement in the series. RLL has been exploring the addition of a third full time in car for some time now.

Kanaan Fastest as Speeds Dip; Ferrucci Crashes

Veterans continue to set the pace in practice for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. Today was 2013 race winner Tony Kanaan’s turn. Conor Daly led throughout much of the afternoon before Kanaan ran the fast lap of the day. Santino Ferrucci had the third quickest speed before crash in in turn 2 with a little less than two hours left in the six hour session.

Kanaan is running an ovals only program for Chip Ganassi Racing. Jimmie Johnson drives the number 48 car on the road and street courses. The 500 is Kanaan’s third race of the year. He will have one more race, at gateway, in August.

In addition to Ferrucci’s crash, there was a minor incident between Scott McLaughlin and Colton Herta, Herta came out of turn four as cars ahead of him slowed. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan team cars had slowed near the finish line for a team photo op. My understanding is that Rahal did not inform Indycar of their plans, and the other teams were caught by surprise. Herta mad slight contact with the wall and McLaughlin’s car. both cars spent some time in the garage for repairs.

Santino Ferrucci about an hour before his crash.

From earlier


Rahal’s team received a penalty for their actions and the three cars will have to sit out the first 30 minutes of tomorrow’s practice.

Ferrucci was sent IU Methodist for additional imaging on his left leg. Dr. Billows, the chief medical officer of IMS, said Ferrucci was able to put weight on foot. I have just learned that Ferrucci has been released from the hospital but has not been cleared to drive as of yet.

Today’s results:

148Tony KanaanChip Ganassi RacingHonda225.34180
247Conor DalyEd Carpenter RacingChevy225.24590
345Santino FerrucciRahal Letterman Lnigan RacingHonda224.92250
42Josef NewgardenTeam PenskeChevy224.885121
59Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingHonda224.66665
621Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter RacingChevy224.40996
76Helio CastronevesMeyer Shank RacingHonda224.393114
88Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi RacingHonda224.27389
930Takuma SatoRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda224.23293
1026Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda223.944104
1110Alex PalouChip Ganassi RacingHonda223.679125
1228Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti AutosportHonda223.54881
133Scott McLaughlinTeam PenskeChevy223.49160
145Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SPChevy223.33364
1512Will PowerTeam PenskeChevy223.23082
167Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevy223.19985
1760Jack HarveyMeyer Shank RacingHonda223.11691
1898Marco AndrettiAndretti Herta-Haupert w/Marco & Curb-AgajanianHonda222.623123
1918Ed JonesDale Coyne Racing with Vasser SullivanHonda222.60463
2020Ed CarpenterEd Carpenter RacingChevy222.44196
2127Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportHonda222.41294
2286Juan Pablo MontoyaArrow McLaren SPChevy222.38473
2322Simon PagenaudTeam PenskeChevy222.36442
244Dalton KellettAJ Foyt EnterprisesChevy221.92671
2525Stefan WilsonAndretti AutosportH221.804102
2615Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda221.74870
2751Pietro FittipaldiDale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware RacingHonda221.60271
2824Sage KaramDreyer & Reinbold RacingChevy221.41186
2911Charlie KimballAJ Foyt EnterprisesChevy221.25157
301JR HildebrandAJ Foyt EnterprisesChevy221.17362
3116Simona De SilvestroParetta AutosportChevy220.91181
3229James HinchcliffeAndretti Steinbrenner AutosportHonda220.82297
3359Max ChiltonCarlinChevy220.48961
3414Sebastien BourdaisAJ Foyt EnterprisesChevy219.87681
3575RC EnersonTop Gun RacingChevy217.44450

Sloide bar to right for speeds

Tomorrow the cars receive a an 85-90 horsepower addition for qualifying, which should push the top speeds to 230 mph.

Cashless Concessions

All merchandise shops and food concessions at IMS are cashless in 2021. For someone who does not have credit cards, items can still be purchased.

This machine will convert your cash to a debit card to be used at the track. I’m not sure I the card is honored outside of IMS.

After you’ve maxed out your credit cards at the gift shop, this should be your next stop.

Ferrucci Joins RLL; 32 Cars Set for IMS Test

Santino Ferrucci will return to the Indianapolis 500 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He will drive the number 45 car with sponsorship from HyVee. In the 2020 500, Spencer Pigot drove the 45 HyVee car. The company will also be the primary sponsor for Graham Rahal at Road America and World Wide Technology Raceway.

This will be Ferrucci’s third Indianapolis 500. He drove for Dale Coyne Racing in 2019 and 2020, finishing seventh and fourth respectively. Ferrucci is not in the series full time this season. he is driving select XFinity races for Sam Hunt Racing.

No Fans at IMS Test

Yesterday afternoon IMS announced that there will be no public access to the grounds mThursday or Friday for the open test. A statement released by the track through Nathan brown of IndyStar:

If this action means there is a better chance of having fans at the race, I’m fine with it. Frim what I have seen on social media many fans were planning to come for the test, and IMS could probably not monitor the COVID protocols.

The test features 17 Hondas and 15 Chevys. Cody Ware will be taking his rookie test in the number 52 Dale Coyne/Rick Ware car. Simona De Silvestro makes her speedway return with Paretta Autosport. The action will be streaming on Peacock, which is offering a one week free trial.

The entry list:


Andretti Autosport (5): Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, James Hinchcliffe;

Chip Ganassi Racing (4): Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson;

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (3): Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Santino Ferrucci;

Dale Coyne Racing (3): Pietro Fittipaldi, Ed Jones, Cody Ware;

Meyer Shank Racing (2): Jack Harvey, Helio Castroneves


Team Penske (4): Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Scott McLaughlin;

Arrow McLaren SP (3): Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Juan Pablo Montoya;

Ed Carpenter Racing (3): Rinus VeeKay, Conor Daly, Ed Carpenter;

A.J. Foyt Racing (2): Sebastien Bourdais, Dalton Kellett;

Carlin (1): Max Chilton;

Paretta Autosport (1): Simona de Silvestro;

Dreyer and Reinbold Racing (1): Sage Karam


James Davison said that he will not return to the 500 this year as he is focusing on his NASCAR program.

Dennis Reinbold said he is close to finalizing a deal to run Indianapolis. His team will test.

Entry possibilities left- a sixth car at Andretti and a fourth car at Foyt.

Ferrucci Latest Driver to Find Life After Indycar

Photo:Chris Graythen (Getty Images) via Indycar

Santino Ferrucci will drive in 20 Xfinity Series races for Sam Hunt in 2021 as he begins the road to a NASCAR Cup ride. Ferrucci spent the last two years in Indycar driving for Dale Coyne with Vasser Sullivan Racing. He was Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year in 2019, finishing seventh.

Ferrucci is the latest driver who has found work in another series after losing their Indycar ride. Many factors have caused the drivers to go a different direction. Sometimes it is a budget issue, other times team owners have made the choice.

Zach Veach, released by Andretti Autosport before the end of the 2020 season, will drive full time for Vasser-Sullivan’s GTD team in IMSA. Veach replaces Townsend Bell in the number 12 Lexus, and he will team with veteran Frankie Montecalvo. The car was a series title contender last year.

Helio Castroneves moved to the Team Penske Acura prototype in IMSA in 2018. That program ended with Castroneves winning his first title. He has a busy year coming up. Castroneves will drive in six Indycar races for Meyer-Shank Racing- Barber, Long Beach, the 500, the IMS Road Course race on August 14, Portland, and Laguna Seca. He will also participate in Tony Stewart”s and Ray Evernham’s new SRX series in addition to sports car races in the United States and Europe.

Juan Pablo Montoya was also out of work with the ending of the Team Penske Acura program, but he will return to the Indianapolis 500 with Arrow McLaren SP in May. Montoya will be one of the added drivers for Meyer-Shank’s Acura prototype in IMSA’s four endurance races. The rest of his 2021 season will be in Europe driving Dragonspeed’s LMP2 car in the WEC series.

I really enjoy seeing a driver run in several different series during a season. It would be nice if contracts allowed for more of this.

Ferrucci Confirmed at Coyne

Santino Ferrucci today was officially announced as the driver for the Dayle Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan entry in the NTT Indycar Series. Most thought it was a foregone conclusion but had expected an earlier confirmation.

I thought Seal Master was one of Sebastien Bourdais’s sponsors, but I am glad they are continuing with Coyne.

Ferrucci was the Rookie of the Year in the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 last May, finishing seventh in the race. He led the series rookie standings for part of the year.

Will we see another good year from him or will there be a sophomore slump? The loss of engineer Craig Hampson to Arrow McLaren SPa and the departure of veteran driver Bourdais may affect his performance in 2020.

There are now two teams with a pair of very young drivers. The ages of Ferrucci and Alex Palou at Coyne and Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew at Arrow McLaren SP don’t add up to 90.

More details on this story later.

Hinchcliffe Gets Funding; Looking for Ride

James Hinchcliffe has the funding to run the Indianapolis 500 and possibly afew more races. Thanks to Genesys, a technology firm providing cloud services, he now has the money to take to a team. But which team? I assume he would want one of the Honda teams.  Andretti is full as they already have seven cars for Indianapolis. The other Honda teams, Ganassi, Coyne, and Rahal, are possibilities. I would think either Coyne or Rahal would be more likely than Ganassi.

The news comes just two months after Hinchcliffe was told by Arrow McLaren SP that he would not be driving for them. The team signed Pato O’Ward and rookie Oliver Askew and  for the 2020 season. Hinchcliffe still has a contract with the team and will do personal appearances on their behalf. My understanding is he can still drive for another team.

I have to give Hinchcliffe credit for working hard to secure the money needed for the 500 in just two months. Some drivers work on this aspect of racing all year and come up short. Hinchcliffe qualified 32nd and finished 11th in 2019. He failed to qualify in 2018. The sponsors will announce further details at a later date.

Hinchcliffe is one of the most popular drivers in the NTT Indycar Series. It’s great knowing he will be at IMS during May.

Indycar at the Chili Bowl

Indycar has its best representation at the Chili Bowl in several years. Santino Ferrucci, James Davison, and Conor Daly are entered in the week long midget event in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Daly drives for the first time tonight.

Ferrucci did well in his first ever midget event. He started 11th and finished fifth, just one spot short of transferring to that evening’s feature round. Davison was 10th in his debut last night.

The Chili Bowl finals are on Saturday night from 8:30-11:30 Eastern Time on MavTV.

Ferrucci Quickest in First Practice

Photo: Kyle McInnes

Santino Ferrucci added to the outstanding resume of the 2019 rookie class as he led the pre qualification practice for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Ferrucci’ s best lap was  184.804 miles per hour. Rookie Marcus Ericsson was second quick at 184.527. Scott Dixon finished third.

The session began with all three Team Penske cars, led by Josef Newgarden, occupying the top three spots. Colton Herta briefly took the lead. Newgarden reclaimed first place a few minutes later.

The Penskes stopped getting faster and Hondas took over. Newgarden finished fourth, Will Power seventh, and Simon Pagenaud 14th. Newgarden and Power were the only Chevy’s in the top ten.

Next up is qualifying at 6:15 ET. Back with my Quick Thoughts afterwards.

Ferrucci, Chase Briscoe Promote Iowa with Habitat Project

From Iowa Speedway:

VIDEO NEWS RELEASE: NASCAR and INDYCAR Drivers Build Home with Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity

Drivers pitched in to help a future Habitat family to kick off Iowa Speedweek

NEWTON, Iowa (July 9, 2019) – NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Chase Briscoe and NTT IndyCar Series rookie sensation Santino Ferrucci joined Iowa Speedway staff and the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity for a day of rehabilitating a home on Des Moines’ northside. The Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, all-embracing Christian ministry committed to improving homes and facilities for disadvantaged families.

The drivers were in town to promote Iowa Speedway’s first ever back-to-back race weekends – Iowa Speedweek – featuring the NTT IndyCar Series Iowa 300 on July 20 and culminating with the NASCAR Xfinity Series U.S. Cellular 250 on July 27.

Download b-roll and interviews via direct video link courtesy of Luminary Creative – Des Moines, Iowa: http://bit.ly/HabitatIowa



Indycar at Mid Season Part 1- Surprises

The mid point of the NTT Indycar Series always seems to arrive too quickly. Wasn’t St. Pete just two weeks ago?   The crews and teams have a welcome break, which became even better for them as Wednesday’s scheduled test at Road America has already been cancelled for now due to weather. I don’t know why the test wasn’t scheduled for the Wednesday of race week.

As with every season, 2019 has had  some surprises and disappointments along with the predictability of the Big Three winning most of the time.. The top four in points are separated by just 89 points. All four have won at least one race.  Josef Newgarden leads Alexander Rossi by 25 points. I don’t think this fight is over by any means. Today I’ll talk about the surprises of the first half of 2019. Tomorrow I’ll discuss the first half disappointments.

Surprises- Rookies, Missing Names from Win Column

Will Power-

The biggest surprise of the season is that Power has not won a race yet. He has two third place finishes, one at St. Pete and last week at the second Detroit race, three other top ten finishes and is sixth in points.  Last place at COTA and an 18th place finish at Detroit in race one have hurt his standing. I expect him to win a race or two the second half of the season.

Keeping it Close-

Each of the top four drivers- Newgarden, Rossi, Simon Pagenaud, and Scott Dixon-have at least one finish below 15th place.  Last season  in Dixon’s march to the title he had a worst finish of twelfth. Newgarden’s three victories are allowing him to keep the lead.  Team Penske drivers generally have a tendency to fade the second half of the year. Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015 let a comfortable lead slip away and lost the championship to Dixon. Helio Castroneves lost a couple titles late in the season. Newgarden in 2017  and Pagenaud in 2016, however, won their titles with consistent runs and were strong throughout their title years.

Santino Ferrucci-

Where did this guy come from? He was nearly invisible at the beginning of the year, but has shown consistency of late with four top tens in the last five races. he has five top tens this year, including a career best fourth at Texas Saturday night. The Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year now leads the rookie standings by 12 points over Felix Rosenqvist.  Ferrucci has driven extremely well on the two ovals. There are three ovals in the second half of the season.

The Other Rookies-

Felix Rosenqvist

Rosenqvist got off to a great start at St. Pete where he led laps and finished fourth. He then won the pole for the Indycar GP at IMS. Rosenqvist has five top tens and two top fives. His two DNFs and 23rd place finish at COTA have put him behind Ferrucci.

Colton Herta

If Herta finished every race Rookie of the Year would not even be close. Four straight DNFs followed his win at COTA. The issues were mechanical. Saturday at Texas he was in a position for at least a podium when he and Dixon collided with less than 20 laps to go.  If Herta drives like he did for most of the race at Texas in the second half of 2019, he could win again or see the podium a couple of times.

Marcus Ericsson

Ericsson’s second at Detroit has been the highlight of a season filled with lots of frustration.  He has just three top tens,but two have come in the last two races. Ericsson has had some good days ruined by mistakes. He still could have a decent season.

Other Surprises

Alexander Rossi

The surprise is that Rossi has won just once this year. His car just doesn’t seem to have enough to get to first.  Rossi showed frustration after Texas, his third runner-up finish of the year. He is having a great year, but I expected just a bit more. I still think his consistency will get him to the top. Rossi  also has two race/season saving moves this season. He was able to keep his car going in Detroit last Sunday after the collision between Newgarden and James Hinchcliffe. Saturday night he narrowly avoided the spinning car of Herta on the apron.

Takuma Sato

I saved the biggest surprise for last. Sato is driving better than he ever has this season. Two poles and a victory have Sato in fifth place in the standings. He has been on the podium three times, including at the Indianapolis 500 where he cam from way back. Sato’s only mistake this season came Saturday at Texas when he came into the pits too fast and hit a crewman. His stop and go penalty left him three laps down and in fifteenth place.  Sato will be a factor in the title fight all season.

Tomorrow- Disappointments