IndyCar eyes 20-race schedule for 2015, includes return to Brazil and possible first-ever race in Middle East

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NASCAR is reluctant to alter its schedule or expand to new venues – although to be fair, rumors persist that there could be a major shakeup in the upcoming 2015 slate.

But IndyCar officials are already thinking bigger and broader for next season – as in abroad, with a likely return to Brazil and a potential first-ever race in the Middle East.

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles and Derrick Walker, IndyCar president of operations and competition, told reporters Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway that the series will expand to 20 races in 2015, according to a report by the Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin.

Although not totally set yet, series officials hope to soon finalize plans for a race in Dubai in early February, while a return to Brazil in early March appears likely before the U.S. part of the schedule begins March 29 in St. Petersburg, Fla., Cavin reported.

Miles described talks with Dubai officials and promoters as “ongoing, positive conversations,” according to Cavin.

The race in Brazil will be held in Brasilia, a shift from IndyCar’s prior four-year run in Sao Paulo from 2010 through 2013. The tentative race date is March 8. An official announcement is expected in the next few weeks.

Dates/races in 2015 already confirmed, according to Cavin, are:

* March 29 — St. Petersburg, Fla.

* April 19 – Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

* May 10 – Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis

* May 24 – Indianapolis 500

* May 30-31 — Chevrolet Indy Dual doubleheader in Detroit

Another report by Motorsport.com added that IndyCar officials are open to return to former venues at Michigan International Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway, and have had preliminary talks about racing at Nashville Superspeedway, whose pending sale to NeXovation was recently announced by parent company Dover Motorsports.

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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.