First races of 2021, Tulsa Shootout feature lineup showcasing champions

Tulsa Shootout 2021 Bell
@CBellRacing, Twitter

The first races of 2021 are in the books as the Tulsa Shootout at Tulsa Expo Raceway enters its final stages on Saturday, Jan. 2. On Friday, New Years Day, 75 races were run in the span of 11 hours.

As the 36th annual Shootout runs through its own long list of heats, qualifying mains, and last chance showdowns in advance of next week’s Chili Bowl Nationals, more than 250 races have been run in multiple divisions of micro sprints; 39 races remain including seven championship A-Mains.

As of Saturday morning, five drivers have locked into three A-Mains including Tyler Courtney – who sits on the front row in the Stock Non-Wing division. Eight others have made two features, including Christopher Bell, Kevin Thomas Jr., and Jason McDougal.

McDougal is the only driver to win three featured mains in the same year. He accomplished that feat in 2018.

Six former Shootout champions are locked into two events each, including the 2014 Outlaw winner Frank Flud who will attempt to win his fifth title.

Eight positions in each feature remain open for the winners of Saturday’s Last Chance Qualifiers.

RINGING THE BELL: Christopher Bell wins three straight Chili Bowls in 2019

With so many races run, drivers tend to ride a rollercoaster. Over the course of the event, Bell finished as low as 13th in a qualifier and as high as first in three other races. In one of these, he had to drive from eighth in eight laps in a nine-race field.

“This thing is rolling really good,” Bell said after the near-worst to first charge. “I’ve got two more heat races today. We’re in a really good place to get some passing points, so we’ll see what happens.”

Bell’s best starting position comes in the A-Class Main where he will line up third behind Brian Carber and McDougal. Bell is also locked into the Stock Non-Wing Main in ninth.

In addition to Carber in the A-Class, other pole sitters are TJ Smith in Stock Non-Wing, Kris Carroll in Outlaw Non-Wing, and Joe B Miller in Winged Outlaw.


Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images

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.