Exploring what’s next for Derrick Walker as he announces he’s leaving IndyCar

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – The task of figuring out “what’s next” is what’s next for Derrick Walker, after today’s news was announced that he is leaving INDYCAR at year’s end.

The first bit of news is that this news, while it was only announced today, has seemingly been in the works for weeks.

“I was probably intending to leave INDYCAR anyway,” Walker told MotorSportsTalk during a brief conversation Thursday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“Still, I have a lot of respect for the series and the people inside it, more than most, I would have to say.”

Walker, meanwhile, really has to focus on securing a program for his sports car team. For several years, Walker Racing has run and operated the Team Falken Tire team.

Falken has announced it is withdrawing from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at year’s end, which leaves Walker’s sports car program high and dry.

As it stands, there’s nothing concrete for Walker’s team yet, but he is working diligently to ensure something materializes.

“We’re really pressing on that,” Walker said. “We have had some very interesting conversations.

“I was working hard before, and I’m even working harder now considering I don’t have a job by the end of the month.”

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.