Bourdais quickest in opening practice at Mid-Ohio

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Sebastien Bourdais kicked off the Honda Indy 200 weekend at Mid-Ohio in the best possible fashion by finishing as the quickest driver in the first practice session on Friday morning.

Bourdais recorded a fastest lap time of 1:06.2034 late on to finish 0.16 seconds clear of Will Power in second place in a close first session in perfect weather conditions.

The 75-minute session was interrupted by three red flag periods due to drivers stopping out on track. Luca Filippi was beached at turn five after spinning in the no. 20 CFH Racing car, requiring assistance to get back going.

Tony Kanaan made a similar error later in the session, whilst Simon Pagenaud was also responsible for a red flag after hitting the tire wall. He was, however, able to continue in the session.

Juan Pablo Montoya spent the majority of the session stuck in his garage after an alternator issue emerged on his Penske no. 2 car before the green flag was shown. The team worked frantically to fix the problem, allowing the Colombian to get out on track with 20 minutes remaining. He eventually finished 23rd in the timesheets, nine-tenths of a second down on Bourdais at the top.

Behind Power in second, two-time race winner Josef Newgarden finished third for CFH Racing ahead of Takuma Sato. Jack Hawksworth led for much of the session, but could only finish fifth in the end.

Mid-Ohio specialist Scott Dixon finished sixth in first practice ahead of fellow title contender Graham Rahal. Marco Andretti slotted into eighth at the end of the session ahead of Carlos Munoz and Simon Pagenaud, who rounded out the top ten in P9 and P10 respectively.

Second practice at Mid-Ohio is set to start at 3:15pm ET, and will run until 4:30pm ET.

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.