The No. 11 with AJ Foyt Enterprises won’t race this weekend at Iowa opening up wild race for leaders circle money

As the NTT INDYCAR Series field is expanding, the leaders circle money remains at 22. That’s significant because the amount of money you get for landing in the money at the end of the season is crucial for a lot of teams’ budgets.

It’s a big part of the reason as to why Andretti Autosport’s No. 98 Dallara-Honda is now part-time. Marco Andretti didn’t get in the top 22 in the final entrant standings in 2020 and with a pandemic and less money available, the loss of the 7 figure sum was significant enough to park the car full time. It’s also the reason as to why Kyle Kirkwood’s No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet with AJ Foyt Enterprises is still racing this season despite sponsorship woes inside of that organization.

The 14 car has leaders circle money from 2021. That plus Kirkwood’s scholarship from his Indy Lights title last year keep this car afloat despite the loss of ROKiT.

Unfortunately, that sponsor and their missed payments is why the No. 11 Dallara-Chevrolet with the same AJ Foyt Enterprises team has been parked for not only last weekend in Toronto but for this weekend’s doubleheader at Iowa as well. While the team hopes the sponsorship can be worked out and Tatiana Calderon can join the paddock again soon, the reality of this is, this car will struggle to land in the Leaders Circle money by time we get to Laguna Seca in September.

That’s why this is also unfortunately too. This car has been running well enough that even with missing a race, they’re still in the money. Calderon was getting more and more comfortable 2 top 20 finishes including a best result of 15th on the Indy road course back in May. Hildebrand was 14th in the car at Texas and 12th at Indy which has also contributed to this car’s placement. Now, Hildebrand will miss 2 races that he was scheduled to race in which costs them dearly too.

Right now, they’re tied with Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport’s No. 29 Dallara-Honda which is driven by Devlin DeFrancesco for that 22nd and final spot. Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing is 3 points back. Kirkwood’s car is 5 out.

When we leave Iowa this weekend, the 11 car will likely sit 25th in entrant standings. The only other full time car left is Dalton Kellett’s No. 4 Dallara-Chevrolet which currently sits 27th in the leaders circle but he’s just 35 points out. He can make up that ground by time we leave Nashville next month which would bump the 11 car down to 26th and having a long way to go to get back up to 22nd.

The other fact of this is, that all 3 Foyt cars are in this position. Right now, 2 of the 3 are on the outside looking in and there’s a very real chance they all 3 are later in the season.

Kirkwood and Kellett are fighting DeFrancesco and Johnson for that final spot and the 2 cars they’re fighting are with Andretti and Ganassi. Callum Ilott is 21st in his No. 77 Dallara-Chevrolet but they’re 11 points up. They’ve been outrunning the ones behind them and as Ilott gets more and more familiar with this car, he’s going to be hard to catch.

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