Ethan Ringel scores Indy Lights pole for Freedom 100

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A Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver is on pole for the Freedom 100, the marquee race for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, but it isn’t necessarily the driver you’d first think of.

Ethan Ringel laid down a two-lap average of 197.684 to secure his first pole position in the No. 71 Dallara IL-15 Mazda.

Ringel was surprised, but thankful, to score the pole position.

“I’m kind of in disbelief that I’m here,” he said post-qualifying. My engineer has told me all year that I have to get comfortable on the oval, that Indy is a place you really have to drive the car. But since I ran that first test at Homestead, I loved it. I think that’s the key with being comfortable – you have to respect it. And especially at Indianapolis, you can’t go past the limits here.

“I’ve had a blast since the first lap. Going into the week, I thought I’d be happy with a mid-pack so this is a bit of a shocker. I knew the car was pretty quick and it felt pretty good, so I thought it could be a good qualifying time. So now, I want to focus on the race, to figure out strategy. I’ll try to relax as much as I can and take things as they come.”

He’ll start ahead of the pair of race winners from the Grand Prix of Indianapolis weekend, SPM teammate Jack Harvey and 8Star Motorsports’ Sean Rayhall.

Scott Anderson and RC Enerson make it all four SPM cars in the top five.

Points leader Ed Jones (Carlin) will start eighth.

U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer will give the Command to “start your Mazda engines” on the fourth anniversary of his “Alive Day.” During his second tour of combat duty, he was gravely injured after stepping on an IED on May 22, 2011 in Afghanistan. Despite losing his left leg above the knee, he is now a Mazda-backed race driver and race winner in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series.

Speeds are below.

P No Name QSpeed
1 71 Ethan Ringel 197.684
2 42 Jack Harvey 197.551
3 8 Sean Rayhall 197.111
4 77 Scott Anderson 196.329
5 7 RC Enerson 196.237
6 18 Kyle Kaiser 195.998
7 14 Max Chilton 195.648
8 11 Ed Jones 195.598
9 4 Felix Serralles 195.427
10 12 Spencer Pigot 194.504
11 5 Juan Piedrahita 194.416
12 51 Shelby Blackstock 194.404

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.