Marco Andretti wins SRX Round 5 at Slinger over Local Hero Luke Fenhaus

SRX Slinger Round 5
SRX Series
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Marco Andretti held of a charge by Local Hero Luke Fenhaus at Slinger (Wis.) Super Speedway to win the Camping World SRX Series Round 5 and become the fourth different winner in five races. It was the first win for the third generation driver in a car with fenders and a roof.

Andretti won over Local Hero Luke Fenhaus, 17, in a two-lap shootout.

“Honestly, I know it’s not a popular win, but I tried to be as clean as possible,” said Andretti in a release. “I’m so proud of (Fenhaus). I’m trying to learn from him, to be honest with you. Just delighted to be able to do it without touching him. I know it’s not a popular win, but us old guys have to get it when we can.

“He’s young, he’s got a lot of time ahead of him.”

Andretti joins Doug Coby, the Local Hero from Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, Tony Stewart, with wins at Knoxville (Iowa) Speedway and Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, and last week’s winner Ernie Francis, Jr. from Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Ind. as series winners.

Andretti beat Fenhaus by a slim margin of .194 seconds in a green-white-checkered shootout.

There were an amazing 35 lead changes in the SRX Slinger 151-lap feature among three drivers. The side-by-side action was aided by the high banks on this quarter mile track.

“I think (Marco) jumped it a little bit, which didn’t help me at all,” said Fenhaus. “I was better on the top. I felt like we could roll on the outside. I was just worried that he’d shove me up the racetrack if I went to the outside. I probably would’ve lost either way. He would’ve run us hard. It is what it is. Second place, I can’t complain.”

Fenhaus raced his way into the 12-driver lineup by winning the Slinger Nationals on Tuesday over NASCAR K&N driver Derek Kraus. Fenhaus started the SRX Slinger race second and led 18 times for 92 laps, the most in the field.

With a third-place finish, Stewart stretched his championship points’ advantage to 38 over Ernie Francis, Jr.

“My buddy Marco winning the race and us having another podium finish and gaining some more points in the standings with one race to go is a big deal to me,” said Stewart. “The first five weeks of this series have been awesome. To go to three totally different racetracks – the three paved tracks are totally different from each other, and then two totally different dirt tracks – it’s been a lot of fun. To sit there each weekend and see how much fun everybody is having, that’s the payoff for all this. It’s payoff for all of us as drivers.”

The SRX Series is designed to allow veteran drivers from several different series to race against young up-and-comers. Slinger showcased that.

“To get ready for this race, I watched some YouTube videos and Luke Fenhaus was the star of a lot of them,” Stewart said. “Getting to spend the day with that kid has been the highlight of my day, to be honest. He’s the most composed 17-year-old I’ve ever seen. There are kids in the (NASCAR) Truck Series and Xfinity Series who don’t have the composure that this guy’s got. I hope somebody will give him a shot, even if it’s a one-race deal to give him a crack at it and make himself a name.”

Hailie Deegan finished fourth racing for Tony Kanaan, who had a scheduling conflict. Battling for the position with Paul Tracy with two laps remaining, Deegan pushed up into Tracy and triggered a mult-car accident. Deegan will rejoin the Camping World SRX Series at Nashville, and the season finale will also feature Chase Elliott.

Bobby Labonte rounded out the top five.


RESULTS

Heat Race No. 1 (30 laps, starting lineup determined by random draw): 1. Marco Andretti (Started 1; led laps 1-30), 2. Tony Stewart (3rd), 3. Luke Fenhaus (7), 4. Bobby Labonte (2), 5. Helio Castroneves (4), 6. Ernie Francis Jr. (5), 7. Greg Biffle (12), 8. Hailie Deegan (6), 9. Michael Waltrip (11), 10. Bill Elliott (10), 11. Willy T. Ribbs (9), 12. Paul Tracy (8 – completed 27 laps)

Heat Race No. 2 (29 laps, starting order was invert of Heat 1 finish): 1. Greg Biffle (Started 5, led laps 19-29), 2. Hailie Deegan (4th; led laps 2-18), 3. Ernie Francis Jr. (6), 4. Luke Fenhaus (9), 5. Tony Stewart (10), 6. Helio Castroneves (7), 7. Marco Andretti (11), 8. Bobby Labonte (8), 9. Willy T. Ribbs (1; led lap 1), 10. Paul Tracy (12), 11. Bill Elliott (2), 12. Michael Waltrip (3rd; completed 3 laps)

Feature (151 laps; starting lineup was based on finishing positions in Heats 1 and 2): 1. Marco Andretti (Started 1; led laps 1-2, 6, 9, 11-12, 14-16, 20-21, 150-151), 2. Luke Fenhaus (2nd; led laps 3-5, 7-8, 10, 13, 17-19, 22-30, 32-53, 57, 60, 62-66, 71, 79-81, 84, 87-88, 104-114, 116, 123-128, 131-149), 3. Tony Stewart (3; led laps 31, 54-56, 58-59, 61, 67-70, 72-78, 82-83, 85-86, 89-103, 115, 117-122, 129-130), 4. Hailie Deegan (6), 5. Bobby Labonte (7), 6. Ernie Francis Jr. (5), 7. Willy T. Ribbs (10), 8. Greg Biffle (4), 9. Bill Elliott (9), 10. Helio Castroneves (8), 11. Paul Tracy (12; completed 148/151 laps), 12. Michael Waltrip (Started 11th; 148 laps)

Points Standings: 1. Tony Stewart (199 points), 2. Ernie Francis Jr. (161 points, -38), 3. Marco Andretti (155 points, -44), 4. Bobby Labonte (145 points, -54), 5. Helio Castroneves (140 points, -59), 6. Tony Kanaan (139 points, -60), 7. Michael Waltrip (93 points, -106), 8. Paul Tracy (90 points, -109), 9. Bill Elliott (66 points, -133), 10. Willy T. Ribbs (63 points, -136)

* Hailie Deegan earned points for Kanaan at Knoxville and Slinger.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”