We teased this last week in looking at the testing calendar for the IndyCar Series, but there was a big surprise down at Dale Coyne Racing. Indeed Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, is back in an IndyCar for the first time since 2006 as he tests today at Sebring.
Luyendyk’s driving career includes a record number of starts, 66, from 2002-2010 in Indy Lights although that included just one career win, the Chicagoland Speedway season finale in 2008. He has also served as a TV commentator for Versus and NBCSN’s Indy Lights races, driven IndyCar’s two-seater for guests and most recently, returned to racing earlier this year in Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks series.
Still, this is one of the longest stints outside the current IndyCar in years. Whether this is a sign of a serious move into Coyne’s team for 2014 or merely a one-off to garner some press remains to be seen.
Here’s a sampling of quotes and social media reaction to Danica Patrick’s news announced earlier Friday that this would be her last full-time season as a driver, and that she’ll race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 only in 2018.
This ends a full-time stretch in the top flights of NASCAR and IndyCar. She was in NASCAR from 2012 through 2017, and IndyCar from 2005 through 2011.
Her’s her own post on Twitter and Instagram.
IMS President J. Douglas Boles
“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.
“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”