Roger Penske tells fans they’ll return at Indy 500 in 2021: ‘I will miss you’

Roger Penske Indy 500 fans
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports
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In a letter to Indianapolis Motor Speedway customers Thursday morning, track owner Roger Penske said he is looking forward to having fans return to the Indy 500 next May

“I will miss you on Sunday,” Penske wrote. “Believe me, there is no one more than me who wanted fans to be able to watch the 104th Running of the Indy 500 in person.”

Penske said “given the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Marion County, running the race
without fans was the right decision.”

PENSKE’S LETTER TO FANS: ‘I look forward to seeing you next May’

THE 104TH INDY 500How to watch Sunday’s race on NBC

The letter also touched on how the Indy 500 has shaped his life and led him to becoming a fixture at the Brickyard and in the NTT IndyCar Series.

Penske, whose cars have won a record 18 Indy 500s, attended his first race at the track in 1951, and it “made me who I am. It’s why I care so much about the Speedway and INDYCAR racing. It’s why the fan experience will always be my top priority.”

Since closing on his purchase of IMS and IndyCar in January, Penske has made multimillion-dollar improvements that included more than 30 video boards, 5G connectivity, updated concession stands and a new lift in the winner’s circle.

“More improvements, all focused on our fans, are on the way,” Penske wrote, adding that drivers still would put on “a world-class show” in Sunday’s race (1 p.m. ET, NBC) despite the disappointment of the grandstands being empty.

“Especially now, during these difficult times, gathering with friends and loved ones for cherished traditions means so much,” Penske wrote. “Hundreds of thousands of fans return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway every year, savoring the final note of “Back Home Again in Indiana” and cheering for some of the world’s greatest drivers. The roar of the crowd goes with the roar of the engines.

“I wanted you here.”

Click here to read Penske’s letter to all IMS customers that was sent Thursday morning.

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.