Ferrucci keen to be a leader, Foyt aims for consistency

Despite his abundant talent, rookie Kyle Kirkwood had several crashes in Voight No. 14 last season, so in 10 of 17 races he is ranked 20The tenth Or worse, the net result is the entry is over only 24The tenth in the tournament.

While the legendary Larry Voight and AJ Voight risk managing another apprentice, The limelight is Benjamin Pedersen as a replacement for Dalton Kellett In car #4, they picked Ferrucci – a driver with 43 IndyCar starts under his belt – For wheel #14 in 2023.

“I think in the past year there have been paths that we’ve taken fast and there have been paths that we struggled with,” Voight said. “We’re trying to work on those tracks that we’ve struggled with. I think the good thing is Santino is going to get everything out of the car and give us some good finishes, and get things back in the right direction. I really believe in that.

“It’s not that we constantly think we’ll surprise people, but there’s no reason why we can’t have a Top 10 Top 10 and even a little bit better.”

Voight admitted it was a relief that Pedersen and Ferrucci’s deals were knitted so early in the first week of October.

“It’s so refreshing. Just up in the store today, everyone is like, ‘Okay, we know what we’re doing, and we’re working on it.’ that is great.’ It feels really good because this winter, although it seems like a long time for the fans because we haven’t been racing for a while yet, it goes by really fast inside the race shop.

“We have a list of winter items we’re trying to get rid of right now. It’s a lot of things. It’s very good that this is all done. We know where we’re going now and we can fix the problem.”

Voight admitted there was “nothing final yet” in terms of engineering new recruits or crew formations, but said the team would arrange test days in 2023 while further development is underway on the cars this winter.

He said, “We are postponing most of our on-track testing to next year, the main reason being that we’ve got some new online dampers to finish. We want to make sure everything is buttoned up, spend some time in a shaker before we get on track. .I think we’re going to push any of the things on the right track until next year.”

Commercially, the team struggled in 2022, as sponsorship for ROKiT and third driver Tatiana Calderon disappeared shortly after mid-season. Sexton Properties stepped onto the plate on car #14 to supplement the Road To Indy grant money that Kirkwood brought in as the 2021 Indy Lights champion, but Foyt said that in ’23, both team cars will feature “a few different variations…we won’t have a sponsor.” The only big one this time.”

Performance-wise, Ferrucci said he knew very well what was expected of him on and off the track, and that he drew inspiration from how he worked with his first IndyCar teammate at Dale Coyne Racing, Sebastien Bourdais. A four-time champion, Ferrucci said, “He helped guide me out of a lot of mistakes and rabbit holes to really put me more in my ways in IndyCar. Yes, the most important thing he had was experience in how to lead a team. I carry that everywhere I go.

“I’m very happy to bring her to Team AJ and Team Larry, and see what we can do. It would be nice to have Benjamin too, who’s a fast rookie guy. Unfortunately I don’t think I’m much older than him. It would be nice to have someone like that who wants to keep going. in pressing it.

“The car showed speed this year, without a doubt. It had its sparkling moments. It’s about how to make it consistent. The car also didn’t finish a lot of races because he had a rookie in the car. He brought the team back to consistency.

“Are we going to show up in St Pete and light the world with fire? Of course not. Are we going to start with realistic goals, put the car in the top 10, and see how consistent we can be? Yes, without a doubt. It will be a new team for me. It will be completely reorganized by The time we start our winter prep… It’s one of those things where we’ll get the most out of this if we stay realistic and stay consistent.

“Taking to Larry about it, I think we can bring in a couple of good engineers. Being a resident of Texas, I can spend a lot of time with the team, making sure our stopping points are good, and building the cars to the highest quality. Like I said, all that has to be We have to do is get out there and see what he offers us, and go from there.”

Reflector Ferrucci has also admitted that there have been times in the past two years of part-time IndyCar racing and part-time NASCAR racing, when he wondered if there was a way to get back to the open wheel on a full-time basis.

“In the past few years, including this year, everything has been fine for me,” he said. “I got sponsorship in my first year that I got into IndyCar, a little bit in the second year. After that, it was really hard with the COVID on myself personally. That’s why we switched to NASCAR a little bit, because I had to find some partners who would prefer it. Like I wanted To try it in. There is a reason to see me there.

“For me, being as young as me, doing part-time tours, bringing in kids who get injured unfortunately, is really the only thing that kept me going.

“We have four top 10 races in four races in the 500, which has helped me out there. I know the race in particular will always have a chance. But as far as an entire season, yes, it’s definitely hit or miss. Being able to pounce At the last minute, getting good results, showing a lot of speed, I think it definitely opened everyone’s eyes a little bit, yeah, I can just ride and drive the car as best I can.

“To be back full time and to drive for Larry, it’s such an honor. It’s so hard for the drivers in my position right now trying to make it happen, or else we’ll flip the burgers. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

I’m ready to work as hard as I’ve ever worked to show that we can do this as a team and it was the right decision for everyone involved, all the partners who are coming back, who want to be part of this deal.”

Ferrucci, the 2019 Indy 500 Rookie Award winner, has made four top-10 finals on Memorial Day Weekend and says he is “without a doubt” at his stage of being able to contribute significantly to the team’s setup work for Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“I have my own books of leadership from different teams, on different tracks,” he said. “Now I’m at a point where I know exactly what I’m looking for outside of the car for myself. I know how to fix many problems in setting up the car.

“I don’t know Benjamin at all. I don’t know his driving style. But I’m sure having someone knows me…Now, I’m not Sebastien Bordes by any means, trust me, but being there for just a year to try and sort things out as a novice was a leap tremendous to me.

“Yeah, I definitely think I would be great in a leadership role helping him. I think working together as a team would be huge. So I think we will be able to get a lot done.”

Larry Voyt, Team Principal at AJ Foyt Racing.

Larry Voyt, Team Principal at AJ Foyt Racing.

Photography: Michael L. Levitt / motorsports pictures

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