New driver horizon for ‘Ziggy’ Harcus as Sato heads to RLL

Harcus (next to trophy, right side) stays with Andretti. Photo: IndyCar
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It’ll be another new driver for Andretti Autosport race strategist Paul “Ziggy” Harcus to work with in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

After just one year working with Takuma Sato during the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, he will not follow Sato to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2018. Sato, who signed with RLL earlier in the year, won the 2017 Indianapolis 500 and contested his best year in IndyCar to date with Harcus on top of the pit stand this year.

The Andretti crew was on site with Sato at last week’s face unveil on the Borg-Warner Trophy in Indianapolis.

Harcus, who is staying at Andretti Autosport, did not indicate which of the team’s four drivers he’ll be working with next year. However, with Zach Veach taking the spot vacated by Sato, Harcus being assigned to mentor the young driver and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race winner is a strong possibility.

“We don’t like to change to make a change, but we’ll see with the mechanics, and engineering,” Harcus told NBC Sports about any potential shakeups in the Andretti crew.

“Just because Zach’s new doesn’t mean he will get worst of the lot. He could be our next generation. You never know. There’s a good possibility I might be with Zach. If they move it around, I go with it.”

Harcus also added that Veach has made a good first impression and if he is assigned to work with him, he is confident that they’ll work well together.

And in spite of Veach’s small frame, Harcus emphasized he could still find success, using Sato –  who at 5’5″ is just barely taller than Veach – as a reference point.

“Here’s another tiny little guy, just like Taku… and I’m not exactly a giant!” Harcus quipped. “But I’ve always liked (Zach). Nice guy to work with. Pleasant, polite, knows how to win.

“You doubt if he’s the size to win the Indy 500 but look (at Sato) right herein front of you – here’s the proof.”

Andretti Autosport won’t be able to test until the new year, when team testing opens up for 2018 after the manufacturer testing concludes.

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.