IndyCar: A.J. Foyt Racing 2018 review

IndyCar
0 Comments

Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, MotorSportsTalk will review how each organization in the IndyCar Series performed in 2018 and also taking a look ahead to 2019. We previously featured Juncos RacingMeyer Shank RacingCarlin Racing and Harding Racing.

Today, we feature A.J. Foyt Racing.

A.J. Foyt Racing 2018 review: By bringing in veteran Tony Kanaan and rookie Matheus Leist, expectations for an improved overall season were high for 2018. However, things did not turn as had been hoped for, with Kanaan finishing 16th in the standings, the worst single-season showing of his full-time IndyCar career, and Leist ended up 22nd. Still, things began to show promise near the end of the season, which could bode well for 2019.

TONY KANAAN

Team name: AJ Foyt Racing, No. 14 ABC Supply Co. Chevrolet

Years in IndyCar: 21 (includes CART years from 1998-2002)

Career wins and podium finishes: 17 and 77

Best career finish: 17 wins

2018 final standing: 16th

2018 final stats: 0 wins, 0 podiums, 0 poles

2018 best race finish: 6th at Toronto


SEASON WRAPUP:
Kanaan got off to a good start with an 11th at St. Petersburg, followed by back-to-back 8th-place finishes at Phoenix and Long Beach. But from there it was a struggle for much of the remainder of the season, with just two other top-10 finishes the rest of the way. It was the first time in Kanaan’s full-time career that he failed to earn even one podium in a season. He also has not won a race since 2014.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2019: Kanaan turns 44 years old on December 31. When he made his 300th consecutive start at Sonoma two weeks ago, he said he had no plans to retire any time soon. No one wants to see him turn things around more than TK. “We still have a few years left, so hopefully this is just the beginning of my veteran career,” Kanaan said.

QUOTE (after season-ending race at Sonoma): ” I think we found a direction to work on over the winter to make the cars better. … You know, it was a difficult year for us at AJ Foyt Racing but we’re coming back. We have the whole winter to think about what we did right and what we did wrong, fix it and come back stronger.”

***************************

MATHEUS LEIST

Team name: A.J. Foyt Racing, ABC Supply No. 4 Chevrolet

Years in IndyCar: 2018 was his rookie season

Career wins and podium finishes: 0 and 0

Best career finish: 11th at Pocono (2018)

2018 final standing: 22nd

2018 final stats: 0 wins, 0 podiums, 0 poles.

2018 best race finish: 11th, Pocono

SEASON WRAPUP: Expectations were high for Leist coming into the season. Like Kanaan, he is from Brazil and Kanaan served as an excellent mentor. But Leist never was able to get into a rhythm or consistency, unlike fellow rookies such as Robert Wickens or Zach Veach.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2019: Now that he has one full IndyCar season under his belt, look for Leist to show some improvement next season. But that improvement also has to be significant. That likely means nothing less than a top-15 season finish will do.

QUOTE (after the season-ending race at Sonoma): It was a pretty tough season for everyone, not just the No. 4 car, but for the No. 14 car too. Everyone worked very hard and we tried very hard but sometimes we just couldn’t put everything together. We just didn’t have the pace. It’s a shame because all the engineers, the mechanics and the drivers deserve better results. As we’re going to stay together as a team for 2019, we must: concentrate and try to do a better job, try to do a better off-season and figure out what is going to be better for us next year. … We’ll keep working hard and better days will come, for sure. … I’m looking for a good season in 2019.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

2 Comments

Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.