IndyCar drivers in 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona (UPDATED)

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The NTT IndyCar Series still is more than two months away from dropping the green flag, but the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona again will provide a season preview.

There are 10 active IndyCar drivers entered in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener Jan. 28-29 at Daytona International Speedway, including four in the rebranded premier GTP category that will feature the debut of the LMDh prototypes.

Meyer Shank Racing teammates Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud will return to the No. 60 Acura that won last year’s Rolex 24. The former Indy 500 winners will be teamed with MSR full-time sports car drivers Tom Blomqvist (who also was in last year’s winning car) and Colin Braun.

JOINING FORCES: Michael Andretti partners with Wayne Taylor in sports cars

They will be joined in the top class by six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and seven-time winner Colton Herta.

Entering his 23rd season at Chip Ganassi Racing, Dixon will be making his 20th Rolex 24 start and his third consecutive in Ganassi’s No. 01 Cadillac. Dixon is a three-time overall winner, most recently in 2020 with Wayne Taylor Racing.

Herta will be making his debut in the premier prototype division as BMW moves up with its team at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. This will mark the fifth Rolex 24 start for Herta, who was part of BMW’s winning GTLM entry in 2019 and the LMP2 winner last year.

Other IndyCar drivers entered in the 2023 Rolex 24:

–Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin will make their Daytona debuts together on the No. 8 Oreca entry of Tower Motorsports in LMP2.

–Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay will make his third consecutive Rolex 24 start in LMP2, returning to the No. 11 of TDS Racing.

–Romain Grosjean will make his Rolex 24 debut in his new role as a factory driver for Lamborghini Squadra Corse. Grosjean will run endurance events in GTD with the No. 63 of Iron Lynx this season while also testing the team’s new Lamborghini LMDh that will make its 2024 debut in IMSA and the FIA World Endurance Championship.

–Kyle Kirkwood will return with Vasser Sullivan, teaming on the No. 12 Lexus in GTD with Aaron Telitz, Frankie Montecalvo and Parker Thompson.

–Devlin DeFrancesco, who won the LMP2 category last year with Herta and Pato O’Ward, announced he will race LMP2 at the Rolex 24 and the Michelin Endurance Cup races for Rick Ware Racing.

Will Power, who won his second IndyCar championship last season, had been slated to make his Rolex 24 at Daytona debut in GTD by joining the SunEnergy1 team for his IMSA debut. But the Team Penske star was forced to withdraw Jan. 17 because his wife was hospitalized with complications from recent surgery.

Though IndyCar will be well represented at the 61st Rolex 24, the series is slightly down from the 12 drivers in last year’s race at Daytona.

New McLaren teammates in IndyCar, Alexander Rossi (a 2021 Rolex 24 winner with Wayne Taylor Racing) and Pato O’Ward (who won last year with Herta) aren’t entered in the 2023 Rolex 24.

Because Chip Ganassi Racing elected for three-driver lineups on its Cadillacs to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Alex Palou and Marcus Ericsson also didn’t return after making their Rolex 24 debuts last year.

With the LMDh, entering the Rolex 24 at Daytona has become a more coveted and exclusive process. Because the new cars require larger pit stalls, IMSA capped the entry list at 61. And with increased manufacturer involvement from BMW and Porsche, drivers with factory contracts have gotten priority on earning slots in IMSA’s new premier GTP division.

As of Jan. 17, 2023, here is the list of IndyCar drivers confirmed for the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona (Driver, category, car/team):

Helio Castroneves: GTP, No. 60 Acura ARX-06, Meyer Shank Racing

Devlin DeFrancesco: LMP2, No. 51 Oreca, Rick Ware Racing

Scott Dixon: GTP, No. 1 Cadillac, Chip Ganassi Racing

Romain Grosjean: GTD Pro, No. 63 Huracán GT3 EVO2, Iron Lynx Racing

Colton Herta: GTP, BMW, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Kyle Kirkwood: GTD, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3, Vasser Sullivan

Scott McLaughlin: LMP2, No. 8 Oreca, Tower Motorsports

Josef Newgarden: LMP2, No. 8 Oreca, Tower Motorsports

Simon Pagenaud: GTP, No. 60 Acura ARX-06, Meyer Shank Racing

Rinus VeeKay: LMP2, No. 11 Oreca, TDS Racing

Dylan Ferrandis in concussion protocol after Houston; uncertain for Tampa Supercross

Ferrandis Houston accident
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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After suffering a frightening accident at Houston in the Monster Energy Supercross race, Dylan Ferrandis said he is OK but will be on concussion protocol, and his status for Tampa this week is not yet determined.

Two laps into last week’s Main, Ferrandis was engaged in a battle with Ken Roczen for eighth place. Ferrandis landed on the back Roczen’s bike and was thrown, landing headfirst on the track. Ferrandis momentarily lost consciousness and the race was red flagged so he could be attended to by the Alpinestars medical team.

“I’m okay after my crash in the main event. I hit my head first and got knock[ed] out for some minutes,” Ferrandis posted in an Instagram story. “Everything else is fine and I am okay now fortunately. Will follow the concussion protocol and will see when I can ride again.”

Ferrandis regained consciousness, the medical crew fitted Ferrandis with a neck brace and he was able to stand and walk to the cart under his own power. Ferrandis was sitting up when he left the track with a member of the crew stabilizing his neck.

“It was an awesome ride [for Eli] and a good way to come back from last weekend,” said Jeremy Coker, Team Manager for Star Racing Yamaha at RacerXOnline.com. “It was also the lowest of lows. Unfortunately, it’s part of the sport, but to see one of your guys crash the way Dylan did and to see him lying there was pretty tough. Fortunately, when I got to him, he was able to open his eyes and looked at me and said my name, and it was a huge relief to see him stand up and walk away.”

Ferrandis was off to a strong start in 2023 with a worst finish of sixth at San Diego in the first three races. He entered Houston sixth in the standings, one point behind Jason Anderson.

Ferrandis’ teammate Eli Tomac went on to win the race.

Also riding for Star Racing Yamaha and making his 450cc Supercross debut, Justin Cooper advanced from 13th at the end of Lap 1 to finish seventh.