St. Petersburg flashback: 2003 race debut

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The 2013 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marks 10 years since the first open-wheel race on the streets of St. Pete. The Champ Car series raced here in February, 2003.

A bespectacled young Frenchman named Sebastien Bourdais made his debut on the U.S. shores that race. He took to the track and Lola-Ford Cosworth car like a duck to water, scoring the pole position for Newman/Haas Racing. His race was less successful, ending in 11th place after issues in the pits.

Meanwhile, Paul Tracy romped to the victory that kick-started his championship winning season. Michel Jourdain Jr. and Bruno Junqueira, who each had a one-off drive in IndyCar last year, completed the podium.

Bourdais (right, last year), is one of only four drivers from the inaugural St. Pete running who will also race here this year. Veterans Oriol Servia and Alex Tagliani were in the field, as was Ryan Hunter-Reay, in his Champ Car series debut. Hunter-Reay drove as teammate to KV Racing Technology co-owner, Jimmy Vasser.

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.