Hawksworth’s P12 leads rookie contingent in Barber

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Given his prodigious pace on the street circuits the first two Verizon IndyCar Series events of the season, Bryan Herta Autosport/BBM with Curb-Agajanian’s Jack Hawksworth came down to earth a bit this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.

While the pace wasn’t entirely there for the English rookie, a result was, for once. A 12th place finish marked his early career best after failures to finish in both St. Petersburg and Long Beach, despite top-10 qualifying positions in both.

Hawksworth equaled Justin Wilson in terms of gaining the most positions – 10 from his starting position – and brought the No. 98 Charter/Castrol Edge Honda home after avoiding the incidents that affected the race.

“The BHA guys had some good calls on pit lane and I think we salvaged something from what was a difficult weekend. To get twelfth after the weekend we had was a good result in the end, so a big thank you to the team for working hard all weekend and for their ability to keep believing,” he said post-race.

The other three rookies had less clean days. Carlos Huertas had a brief off in Turn 6 to cause the fourth full course caution but ended 16th.

Meanwhile accidents for Mikhail Aleshin and Carlos Munoz took them both out of the race. Aleshin’s shunt at Turn 14 on lap 66 brought out the final and race-ending full course caution.

All four will have their first crack at the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next race, Saturday May 10.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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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.