Scott Dixon improves 14 positions to finish fourth at Phoenix

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Scott Dixon was the biggest mover of the Desert Diamond West Casino Phoenix Grand Prix at ISM Raceway, improving from a starting position of 18th to finish fourth in Saturday night’s race.

Dixon knew the race was going to be rough on Friday when he qualified 10 spots worse than he ever has at Phoenix. On two previous occasions on this track, Dixon started as high as eighth and won in 2016 and finished runner-up in 2004.

It took more than a fast car to earn his fourth career top five on this track. It took a complete effort from the team.

“We just had a smooth race,” Dixon told NBC’s Robin Miller on pit road after the race. “No major problems – kept picking off people when we needed to. Got a lot on the stops, a little bit on the exchanges too.”

Dixon benefitted from quick service on the final pit stop. With three drivers staying out on old tires during a caution for a crash involving Ed Jones with 21 laps remaining, Dixon was the second driver to leave pit road behind eventual winner Josef Newgarden.

Dixon restarted fifth and picked up one more spot in the mad dash to the checkers.

“These are the weekend when you really fight for championships,” Dixon said. “When you don’t have the best car, you try to salvage the best you can out of it. Tonight wasn’t really my night but big credit to the crew and everybody on the strategy side.”

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.