Power: The competition is phenomenal

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It was an odd weekend in that Will Power didn’t lead a single on-track session at Barber Motorsports Park.

Tristan Vautier, Power’s Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves, and Simona de Silvestro led the three practice sessions, with Vautier, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay tops in qualifying sessions, and Charlie Kimball head of the warm-up.

The competition level is so fierce in the series that eight tenths of a second covered the top 24 cars in the 26-car field in the three official practice sessions.

“It’s phenomenal; I wish more people would write more about it!” Power told MotorSports Talk in an interview. “The top 24 cars covered by eight tenths of a second. In practice it’s just crazy. It sounds cliché but the competition level here now, there is no better series in that respect, it’s unbelievable.”

Power described the ebbs and flows of position changes in practice given how tight the field is.

“One session you can be first, then you don’t gain enough in the next and you’re 16th,” he said. “Two tenths swings it either way. It really is great. Man, it’s just tough for the series because it’s such good racing, with such good drivers, teams and product that we need to get more people watching.”

See also: Power: We were golden with a yellow

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.