Firestone IndyCar test next week to feature Castroneves, RHR, Carpenter, Pagenaud

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Preparations for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will begin in earnest during a Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Tire Test on the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval on Tuesday, Sept. 23, and Wednesday, Sept. 24.

Verizon IndyCar Series drivers participating in the event include three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves of Team Penske, 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, two-time Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Ed Carpenter of CFH Racing and inaugural Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis winner Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports.

Testing will take place each day from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. There will be media availability featuring all four drivers in the MotoGP garages along Pit Lane from noon-1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Fans are welcome to watch testing for free both days from the South Terrace grandstands and the Turn 2 viewing mounds adjacent to the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.

Pagenaud remains under contract to SPM through October 1, but he is the marquee free agent in this year’s IndyCar pool.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.