UPDATE: Power leads both Tuesday Barber test sessions

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IndyCar’s first day of testing has started at Barber Motorsports Park. Some 18 drivers have already lapped underneath the official track record in the morning, due in part to a track resurfacing.

Of those 18, the top four times were set by Chevrolet-engine runners. Will Power, defending Barber race winner, led the field at 1:08.4984 ahead of James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Helio Castroneves.

Scott Dixon led the Honda runners, half a second back of Power in fifth.

Simona de Silvestro showed well in her first full field run with a Chevrolet engine. After being saddled with the Lotus a year ago for HVM, de Silvestro clocked in ninth in the morning session in the No. 78 KV Racing Technology entry.

Simon Pagenaud, Ana Beatriz (Dale Coyne Racing), JR Hildebrand and Sebastien Bourdais were unable to set representative times in the morning. All turned three laps or less.

UPDATE: 7:00 p.m. EST: Power’s dominance continued into the afternoon session of IndyCar testing at Barber. All drivers except Dario Franchitti improved their fastest laps from the morning. Power got down to a new fastest lap of 1:07.8625.

“I’ve never felt so much grip in this car,” Power said. “Penske 1-2, it’s only the first day of testing, but that shows that we worked hard in the winter. As a team we’re very determined to check a couple of boxes this year, obviously the Indy 500 and the championship are absolutely top of the list.”

As in the morning, Chevrolet cars paced the field. The “Bowtie brigade” locked out six of the top seven positions. Power’s full-season teammate Helio Castroneves was next, with James Hinchcliffe third, EJ Viso fifth, Simona de Silvestro sixth and Oriol Servia seventh.

The lone Honda interloper in that group was Mike Conway, who tested Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s second car rather than James Jakes. Conway, who made the Firestone Fast Six at Barber qualifying last year, clocked in fourth at 1:08.1584.

AJ Allmendinger’s first day at Barber in Team Penske’s third car ended 16th. Beatriz, in her day in Coyne’s second car, was unable to better a 1:12.0076, that left her at the bottom of the 26-car field. Justin Wilson’s younger brother Stefan will take over on Wednesday.

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

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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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.