Indy notes: Daly’s new test, Rahal’s new livery, 8Star’s new chassis

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Not too much to report from Tuesday’s round of IndyCar testing at Sebring International Raceway, but there were a couple noteworthy items:

DALY GOES BIG

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports will have had several different sets of data from Sebring to analyze, with American Conor Daly the latest one to evaluate. By all indications, Daly aced his first day back in an IndyCar in nearly two full years.

Unofficial times had him close to 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, and on pace with RHR’s former teammate and Daly’s test teammate and potential full-season teammate, James Hinchcliffe.

“I’ve never prepared more for a day in my life,” Daly said, via IndyCar.com.

Both Daly and Hinchcliffe were in unbranded liveries – Daly’s in white and Hinchcliffe’s in gray – although Daly did have Delavaco on board by the driver cockpit. You can see a couple pics here, of Daly on track and Daly and Hinch having a bit of fun during a quick break.

RAHAL’S NEW LIVERY

Those who have known and followed Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing co-owner Mike Lanigan’s career know his company Mi-Jack. Mi-Jack has now taken a prominent role on a primarily orange No. 15 Honda driven by Graham Rahal, which was revealed to the world on Tuesday.

The orange marks a departure from the red, white and blue of the National Guard a year ago, but it’s striking, and looks pretty good. Rahal will be working with Martin Pare, Mike Talbott and Eddie Jones and seemed pleased after the day’s work.

8STAR’S NEW CAR

Enzo Potolicchio’s 8Star Motorsports has received its second Indy Lights chassis, with Potolicchio posting on Twitter on Tuesday the team had another new car to assemble.

Scott Hargrove has tested multiple times for the team, although he has not yet been officially confirmed as the team’s first driver. Sean Rayhall – if budget could be found for him – would be a logical candidate for the second car.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”