Kimball, Carlin top final practice at ISM Raceway

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Final practice for Saturday’s Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix (9:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN) was held under the lights at ISM Raceway, and Carlin’s Charlie Kimball, in the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet, found himself at the top of the speed charts when the checkered flag waved on the final practice.

Kimball’s best lap of 179.797 mph bettered Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, whose best lap in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda came in at 179.003 mph, with Kimball and Dixon the only two to break through the 179 mph barrier during the final practice.

A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan was third in his No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet, with Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi fourth in the No. 27 MilitaryToMotorsports.com Honda. Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves completed the top five in the No. 88 Chevrolet. Of note: pole sitter Sebastien Bourdais was 21st in the No. 19 SealMaster Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan.

The lone incident of the session came in the final minutes as Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot drifted high exiting Turn 4 and brushed the outside wall before coming to a stop on the front straightaway.

Pigot’s No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet did not suffer much damage beyond some bent suspension pieces, but it was just extensive enough to prevent him from going back out as the session came to a close.

Results from final practice are below.

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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.