BHA and Barracuda hit 10,000 Twitter followers, and thank the fans

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Bryan Herta Autosport and Barracuda Racing may not be IndyCar’s biggest team, but their fan outreach and engaging is hard to beat within the IndyCar paddock.

Team PR ace Monica Hilton (who speaks twice in the above video, in front of the team garage)  joined the team just prior to the 2012 season, after developing a cult following for Simona de Silvestro’s older, heavier backup car called “Pork Chop” in 2011 when she and de Silvestro worked at HVM Racing.

Since her arrival at BHA, the team that won the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with the late Dan Wheldon has seen a surge in its social media presence and fan involvement at tracks.

BHA works in a “tweet-up” at every round of the IndyCar schedule, usually featuring someone from the BHA squad and others from the racing community. Driver Alex Tagliani is a regular.

This week, BHA hit 10,000 followers on Twitter. It may not sound like a lot, and it’s not the biggest number in the IndyCar paddock, although it is a respectable fourth.

But in thanks to all its fans, the team created a video with all its crewmembers – allowing everyday observers the insight of who the faces are behind the wrenches on the No. 98 Barracuda Honda. It also includes thanks from team co-owners Bryan Herta and Steve Newey.

And for that, we say thanks.

A rounding of IndyCar team Twitter handles and follower counts as of May 16 are below:

  • Team Penske (@PenskeRacing): 47.7K
  • Andretti Autosport (@FollowAndretti): 27.3K
  • KV Racing Technology (@KVRacing): 17.2K
  • Barracuda Racing (@BHA): 10K
  • Panther Racing: (@PantherRacing) 8.9K
  • A.J. Foyt Entrprises (@AJFoytRacing): 8K
  • Panther DRR (@PantherDRR): 7.6K
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (@RLLRacing): 7.2K
  • Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams): 7.1K
  • Target Chip Ganassi Racing (@TCGRTeams): 7K
  • Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (@SFHRIndy): 6.9K
  • Ed Carpenter Racing (@ECRIndy): 5.7K
  • Schmidt Peterson/Schmidt Hamilton: (@SPMIndyCar): 3.8K
  • Dragon Racing (@DragonRacing): 3.5K
  • Dale Coyne Racing (@DaleCoyneRacing): 2.9K

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”