Zipadelli: “Options” exist for 2014, but no decisions yet for Stewart-Haas

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Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli didn’t bite on any inquiries regarding the team’s 2014 plans, and whether it could expand to a fourth car for NASCAR Sprint Cup. But, he said in a teleconference Monday, there are “options.”

“I mean, right now we’re really focusing on Mark (Martin),” Zipadelli said. “Obviously there’s options out there. We’re looking at everything that’s there. There is nothing done. Right now like I said we’re focused on the 39 (Ryan Newman), trying to win another race to make it into the Chase and getting Mark fitted up in this car and heading to Bristol to do the best job we can.”

SHR has already expanded from two cars, for eponymous team owner and currently sidelined driver Tony Stewart and Newman, to a third full-time entry for Danica Patrick for the 2013 sason. Patrick, interestingly, was not mentioned once by name over the course of Monday’s teleconference.

Zipadelli said there were some growing pains that came with the expansion, but would take what they learned from adding Patrick’s team to the fold if they would add a fourth besides Stewart, Patrick and 2014 new recruit Kevin Harvick.

“Well, there’s lessons to be learned, but we’re not to that point yet,” Zipadelli said. “Right now we are a three-car. We have made lots of gains throughout the year, but I still think we have room to improve. We’re still working on that.

“Obviously if something were to come, we would look at where we feel like we fell short and try to do a better job at it.”

SHR is reported to have made a formal offer to Kurt Busch for a potential fourth car, a story revealed after the weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

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.