De Silvestro shakes recent rough stretch with an improved weekend

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Perhaps the final result wasn’t what she or the KV Racing Technology team was looking for, but for the first time in what seems like months, Simona de Silvestro was closer to the top end of the IZOD IndyCar Series grid at Mid-Ohio.

De Silvestro started ninth and finished 11th after a day spent mostly around the top seven or eight. It’s been a rough stretch for de Silvestro in the No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva Chevrolet since a respectable first four races. Over the last nine races prior to Mid-Ohio, she had only two starts better than 17th and two finishes better than 14th.

“It was an ok result. I wish we could have finished a little bit further up, but we didn’t quite have the pace we should have during the second stint,” said the popular Swiss driver. “We were in a bit of traffic in the beginning which didn’t help either. But, I think there are a lot of positive things that we can take away from this race and hopefully we do learn from it. It was good that we were running with the fast guys this weekend; the whole weekend. Now we can just look at the books again and hopefully we’ll do better next one.”

Next up for de Silvestro is Sonoma, a race she actually missed in 2011 after an issue with border patrol while re-entering the U.S., and a race she metaphorically missed in 2012 while saddled with the down on power Lotus engine. Given her pace on the road courses at Barber and Mid-Ohio, it could be a good track for her.

KVRT-SH teammate Tony Kanaan had a miserable Mid-Ohio weekend by contrast. In the last of his four races with Sunoco and “Turbo” sponsorship, Kanaan was the lone retiree on the day.

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.