Hinchcliffe vents about doubleheaders, but is he right?

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Perhaps it was just venting in the face of an emotional, challenging weekend in front of his home fans. Or perhaps, he had a point.

Either way, James Hinchcliffe was not a happy camper in the aftermath of this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader weekend. Scott Dixon swept the weekend and Hinchcliffe had one eighth place, and a second race to forget after needing to fix a stuck throttle at the outset.

“I don’t think anybody likes them,” he told Wheels.ca after the race. “You have to have double-headers at all of them or none of them. I’ve said that since they announced these things. It’s not a fair way to do it.

“Nobody in the series will ever warm up to these,” he added. They’re too hard on the drivers, they’re too hard on the teams. You get so little practice, it’s so tough to get the car set up right.”

Hinchcliffe followed that line of thinking with a line that “it’s not about us,” and that if the fans want to see it and buy more tickets, then they need to try to way to make it work.

He’s not alone in questioning the doubleheader format. Earlier this year, in an exclusive interview with MotorSportsTalk, racing legend Mario Andretti said he personally wasn’t a fan of doubleheaders heading into Detroit.

“You want to have just one main event,” he told me.

Judging by the attendance, and particularly the increased Saturday attendances at both Detroit and Toronto, the promoters have to be happy with the financial increases. But what are some ways forward for IndyCar to modify or enhance the doubleheader weekend format?

More importantly, is Hinchcliffe right? Or was it just sour grapes because his Andretti Autosport, which has been on target the rest of 2013, missed the setup this weekend? Sound off in the comments.

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.