NASCAR’s Gen-6 car set for 1.5-mile debut in Las Vegas

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The variation of tracks for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with its new Generation 6 car continues this Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

After a less-than-exciting Daytona 500 and somewhat better show at Phoenix last week, particularly in the closing stages, this marks the first test for a G6 car on one of the “cookie-cutter” 1.5-mile ovals. This is an area that NASCAR has thought the G6 could improve racing, and this is the first test.

Las Vegas, reconfigured and modified with greater banking before the 2007 season, features some strong odds either of this year’s first two race winners – Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards – could add their second victory this season. Each has two wins from the six races on the reconfigured track, Johnson winning in 2007 and 2010, Edwards in 2008 and 2011.

Edwards and new crew chief Jimmy Fennig got their act together last week after a disastrous Speedweeks, where the crew had to repair five wrecked race cars. The rebound from both Daytona and Edwards’ 70-race long winless drought was particularly satisfying for team and driver.

Tony Stewart is the defending race champion, in what was his first win with new crew chief Steve Addington.

There’s five drivers already in need of a good results to kick-start their seasons. Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. enter Las Vegas from 30th through 34th place in the standings, down 57 points to points leader Johnson. While some will say it’s too early to discuss “points racing,” Chase chances for any of those five could be compromised with another poor finish.

Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday, 3 pm ET

Track Specs
1.5-mile oval
Turns: 20 degrees of banking
Frontstretch: 9 degrees
Backstretch: 9 degrees

Race Distance: 267 laps/400.5 miles

Defending Race Champion: Tony Stewart

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.