Dixon passes Bobby Unser for fifth on all-time list with 36th IndyCar win

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – Bobby Unser was honored Thursday night at the annual Road Racing Drivers’ Club dinner in downtown Long Beach.

On Sunday, Unser’s career record was acknowledged – and then eclipsed – by Scott Dixon in the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The New Zealander won his 36th career race in North American open-wheel racing, dating to 2001 when he won his first at Nazareth Speedway, then driving for PacWest Racing, in CART.

Dixon, who remains more focused on the present in the Verizon IndyCar Series rather than reflecting on his own place in history, downplayed his achievement in the immediate aftermath in victory lane.

“Stats are stats. Hopefully someday you can look back when you’re done with racing and be happy with it,” Dixon told NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast in victory lane.

“For me to be in that group of names means a lot. They were my heroes and people I looked up to and still feel thankful to have the around me, the racing community. We’re going to keep digging and hopefully we can add to those.”

Unser hailed Dixon’s achievement in a quote released to the media shortly after the race.

“Long Beach is never an easy place to win, and Scott Dixon did a great job today and so did his pit crew to get him out front. Racing is a team effort and both Scott and his crew earned the win, my congratulations to them.  Scott is a smart, smooth driver and once again proved it,” Unser said.

“Scott Dixon has a big, big abundance of talent and he has proven it over the years – he wins driving on any type of course he races his Indy car on. Scott wins on ovals, big and small; street courses and road courses.  I remember last year he came from dead last to win at Mid-Ohio. Scott Dixon has talent and skill and will win races for years and years to come.  He is always really fun to watch, for sure.  Congrats on earning your 36th career Indy car win today Scott – keep up the impressive driving.”

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.