Hitachi re-ups with Penske, Castroneves in IndyCar

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Not much in the way of IndyCar news to report lately, but any partner news can be considered good news this time of year.

Team Penske already made a splash earlier Wednesday with the news Rusty Wallace would be testing the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Preseason Thunder on Thursday. Its IndyCar program now has a bit of news, with confirmation Hitachi will continue with Helio Castroneves as a primary sponsor for eight races.

In 2014, the Hitachi primary sponsorship for the No. 3 Chevrolet will be for races in St. Petersburg, Fla; Detroit; Newton, Iowa; Long Pond, Pa.; Lexington, Ohio; Milwaukee and Sonoma, Calif. Detroit is the lone doubleheader weekend on that schedule.

In addition, Hitachi will serve as an associate sponsor for the No. 2 and No. 12 entries driven by Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power, respectively. Montoya’s car’s primary sponsorship has not been announced yet, while Power will run his fifth full season in Verizon Team Penske colors.

“One of our goals at Penske Racing is to create true, integrated global partners for our race teams,” Roger Penske said in a release. “Hitachi Automotive Systems and the Hitachi Group have certainly represented this type of partnership with Team Penske. Working closely with Chevrolet on the fuel injection systems on our IndyCars, Hitachi has been instrumental in many of our race wins, but our relationship extends far beyond what you see on the racetrack.”

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.