Harvick forced to pit early because of forgotten “bean bag” weights in car

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Kevin Harvick has won twice this Sprint Cup season, but his stout pace in almost all of this year’s races has also been repeatedly undone by bad luck and mistakes by his No. 4 Stewart Haas Racing team.

However, this latest episode may be the most bizarre.

Harvick started fourth in today’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International, but on Lap 2, he ceded multiple spots on the track.

The reason: A pair of “bean bag” ballast weights that are used during pre-race tech inspection had been left in the car and then got loose on the floorboard.

After a close call with Matt Kenseth, Harvick was able to get to the pits on Lap 3. An SHR crewman reached into the car’s right-side window and removed the weights, while the car was additionally topped up with fuel.

Harvick returned to the track in 42nd place, but has gained some ground back after staying out during a Lap 10 caution for a Turn 1 crash involving Cole Whitt.

When the green flag came back out at Lap 15, Harvick was listed in 22nd place.

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.