Barber blocking controversy #2: Power vs. Hinchcliffe (VIDEO)

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This was less of an issue because no penalties were assessed, unlike for Takuma Sato. But there was one other blocking brouhaha in Barber qualifying, between the usually jovial James Hinchcliffe, the St. Petersburg winner, and St. Petersburg polesitter Will Power.

Hinchcliffe failed to advance through to Q2, and blamed Power without doing so by name.

“Other drivers,” said Hinchcliffe when asked by IMS Radio what happened. “We’ve been struggling a bit this weekend but we had enough time to get into Q2. I caught a driver who was backing off, but then he took off, and backed off again. You get maybe 1 or 2 laps and you can’t do a cool off lap with these tires, but I had to do a cool off lap. He ends up P3 and we didn’t make it – it was frustrating.”

Power, cool and dry as ever, responded to the accusations in the post-qualifying press conference.

“I don’t think I blocked him actually. (E.J.) Viso checked me up,” Power said. “Those guys checked up in front of me. Yeah, I don’t know what he’s talking about. Blocking? Have to take a look at the video. Just whining because he didn’t get through, I think.”

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.