Erik Jones to talk racing, officially graduate high school Saturday

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Since he’s not racing Saturday night, Camping World Truck Series phenom Erik Jones will do the next best thing:

He’ll talk racing.

The 18-year-old Jones will highlight “A Night at the Races” at the Swartz Creek (Mich.) Performing Arts Center, just a short burnout from his Byron, Mich. home.

“Photo-ops, photo booths, pit stop challenge where you get to be like the pit crew on the race car at the track,” Jones told WJRT-TV. I’ll be there, we’ll be showing video of the races. There’s going to be confetti flying. It’s going to be wild.”

There’ll even be a special ceremony honoring Jones, not for his racing but his smarts.

Even though Jones had an impromptu and remote high school graduation ceremony earlier this year at Texas Motor Speedway, Saturday night will be Jones’ “official” graduation from Swartz Creek High School.

Jones completed the requirements for his diploma online through the school’s Global Learning Hub.

“I did it all for three years and made it a priority to get it done,” Jones said. “I finished up my senior year earlier this year, great to finally get it done and cool to be back here.”

The event will raise money for an educational fund for adults to earn their GED as well as to urge students to remain in school and get their diploma.

“It’s really about trying to reduce the drop out rate in Michigan, which is at around 26 percent right now. That’s above the national average,” Jones said.

Admission will be free and begins at 7 pm ET Saturday night.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

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.