Indy 500 will have 33rd car for 2022 race with Stefan Wilson in Cusick/DragonSpeed entry

Indy 500 33rd car
Cusick Motorsports
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The 106th Indy 500 will have a full grid with a 33rd car being announced Thursday.

Cusick Motorsports will partner with DragonSpeed to field a No. 25 Dallara-Chevrolet for Stefan Wilson, who is slated to make his fourth start on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. The car will have sponsorship from LOHLA SPORT, Sierra Pacific Windows and GNARLY
Premium Cut Jerky, Neptune Systems, ConnectDoc, Rayne Nutrition, Topping & Legnon Wine, Rembrandt Charms and Mr. and Mrs. James Lowes (longtime race fans).

Entrepreneur Don Cusick also entered an Andretti Autosport-affiliated car for Wilson in last year’s Indy 500. The driver and car owner have teamed up this season in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, making their sports cars debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

WHEN IS THE INDY 500: Details for watching the race on NBC

DragonSpeed made Indy 500 starts in 2019-20 and won the LMP2 class of the 2022 Rolex 24 with a car that included NTT IndyCar Series drivers Devlin DeFrancesco, Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward. The Daytona victory was the team’s third in four years, and in 2019, DragonSpeed also became the first LMP2 team to win IMSA, World Endurance Championship, and European Le Mans Series races in the same year.

“I’m so excited to be back at the event that ignited my passion for motorsports several decades ago,” Cusick said in a release. “To be partnered with a young, hungry and professional organization like DragonSpeed makes it all the better. Last year was an incredible first on-site experience for Cusick Motorsports and our partners, and we’re so glad to have them with us again.”

Said DragonSpeed team principal Elton Julian: “This opportunity means so much to us. Putting this program together with Don Cusick, Stefan Wilson, and the Cusick Motorsports partner group brings us back to Indy even earlier than we hoped, and a step closer to becoming a full-time IndyCar team. With that target in our sights, I can tell you we are not coming to the Brickyard to make up the numbers – we’re here to resume our IndyCar learning curve and build on our experience from 2019 and 2020, and Stefan’s past performances as well.”

Wilson, the younger brother of late IndyCar winner Justin Wilson, led late in the 2018 Indy 500 through a fuel strategy that didn’t pan out. The British native also is an Indy Lights winner.

“The journey to the 2022 Indianapolis 500 has been a roller-coaster ride for Cusick Motorsports, our partners and myself,” Wilson said in a release. “A few short weeks ago it didn’t look like this was going to happen for us, but I’m so relieved all of the pieces came together to get another shot at this race.”

The announcement ensures that the Indy 500 will have a full field, continuing a streak that dates to 1947, for the May 29 race, which will be televised live on NBC.

Stefan Wilson will be slated to make his fourth Indy 500 start this year (DragonSpeed/Cusick Motorsports).

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing
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To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

MORE: McLaren considering Kyle Busch for Indy 500

“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.


Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”