IMSA champion Barbosa recovering from a hoverboard incident

Speed was OK, Barbosa was not, but will be on the mend. Photo: Action Express Racing
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Yes, the headline is real and yes, we’re all hoping the recovery will be quick.

Read what happened to Joao Barbosa, who has won the last two IMSA Prototype class championships in what was then the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and is now the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship co-driving with Christian Fittipaldi at Action Express Racing.

Two-time and defending IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar prototype champion João Barbosa is recuperating after sustaining a minor fracture in his left wrist on Monday. The injury was sustained in a non-racing incident in Ormond Beach.

Barbosa was demonstrating to his two sons how to operate their hoverboards inside the family’s Ormond Beach residence, when Speed, the family dog, interrupted the presentation. The defending Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring champion used his quick-reaction racer reflexes and took evasive action to miss the ecstatic Yorkie. The Barbosa family is happy to announce that Speed was unharmed in the incident.

“It’s unfortunate that I’m not going to be able to test our No. 5 Mustang Sampling Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype at Sebring International Raceway next week,” said the Portuguese driver. “Fortunately for me I’ve got the best race team with Action Express Racing and excellent co-drivers with Christian (Fittipaldi) and Filipe (Albuquerque). I’ll be there to share in each debrief session and review the data with the team; it’ll be a terrific opportunity to mentally prepare for the challenge of 12 hours.

“My wife is tremendously talented and artistically gifted, she’s already helped to brand my cast with the Mustang Sampling logo, and after my demonstration our kids now fully understand that the hoverboards are best used outside, and not around Speed.”

Conveniently, the family was already scheduled to meet Wednesday with the orthopedic specialist to have the cast removed from Barbosa’s oldest son Rodrigo’s arm. To which the elder Barbosa replied: “It saved us one trip that way, we already had the doctor so we got one cast removed and one added.”

The IMSA champion is scheduled to have his cast removed prior to the 64th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and will be a full-go for the team, who are seeking a second consecutive victory in North America’s longest running endurance competition.

Here’s another photo.

Barbosa and his cast. Photo: Action Express Racing
Barbosa and his cast. Photo: Action Express Racing

And Barbosa is already having fun with this on Twitter.

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.”