INDIANAPOLIS — AJ Foyt Racing is now filled. For the 2nd time in the last 4 years, the organization will show up to a new NTT INDYCAR Series season with 2 new drivers. Last week, it was unveiled that Benjamin Pedersen will be with the team. This week, it was announced that Santino Ferrucci will team up with Pedersen with the famed organization.
Pedersen’s number is either 4 or 11 but that’s dependent on Dalton Kellett while Ferrucci is in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet. Kellett and Foyt are due to talk again soon on what both sides would like to do for 2023. I keep hearing Kellett may be looking for endeavors outside of INDYCAR but could take his sponsorship to Foyt on a part-time role instead. He could even wind back up full-time or not at all. All options are on the table which would then affect Pedersen’s team.
The 4 car will be housed in Indianapolis. Does Pedersen get that car or the 11? It’s truly up to Kellett and Foyt.
Nevertheless, silly season is almost wrapped up. The next domino to likely fall is what Juncos Hollinger Racing does with their 2nd entry. I would think Agustin Canapino is the lead target there.
As far as what else?
Well it’s then down to Takuma Sato and if he wants to return full-time or not. If he does, then it stays status quo with Dale Coyne Racing with them having David Malukas back in the No. 18 Dallara-Honda with HMD’s partnership and Sato in the No. 51 for the partner car with DCR/Rick Ware Racing. If Sato doesn’t want to come back, then Linus Lundqvist makes the most sense.
Word is the HMD/DCR have been actively seeking a 3rd car to place Lundqvist into so long as Sato comes back. That decision was dependent also on Jimmie Johnson’s. Now that Honda knows Johnson’s future is part-time at best, they can release another engine package. However, it’s still up to Ganassi because if they keep the 48 car full-time and split drivers, then the 5th engine is part-time.
Honda doesn’t want to up their full-time supply because of the fact a new engine formula is coming out in 2024. That’s why even with Johnson announcing his move to part-time at best, the clarity is still not had by DCR/HMD. They’re still waiting.
Even with Chip Ganassi Racing potentially using the 48 car (or whatever number it could be) on a full-time basis and team Johnson with another driver, Ganassi likely isn’t going to show up to Indy with 5 drivers again so that part-time engine package could go to HMD/DCR for a one-off if needed unless they can get the other from Vasser Sullivan which isn’t being used.
The rest if history for Honda.
Andretti is set with 5 (4 full-time, 1 part-time). RLL is back with their 3, MSR has 2 and DCR still with 2 as of now. That’s 15 full-time entries on their side so combine that with Chevy’s 13 that’s 28 full-time cars at the present and I don’t see much more. Factor in Andretti’s part-time Indy only ride and you get 16 of Honda’s 18 engines spoken for.
It comes down to that extra from Ganassi’s Indy only entry for Tony Kanaan last year and the last one from Vasser Sullivan.
In terms of the rest of the silly season, it’s just down to minor details.
We know Colton Herta isn’t going to F1. We know Alex Palou is staying with Ganassi and Felix Rosenqvist will as a result remain with Arrow McLaren SP.
We know Penske is remaining status quo. So will Andretti Autosport. So will Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing. So will Meyer Shank Racing. So will Ed Carpenter Racing. AMSP has Rosenqvist and Pato O’Ward coming back and Alexander Rossi as the 3rd driver.
That’s 6 teams solidified.
Foyt is truly down to just Kellett. That’s 7 teams solidified per se.
Chevy currently has 13 full-time engines being used. That counts Ed Carpenter’s 33 entry as there’s a strong chance they partner with Paretta again with that entry.
Foyt had a full-time engine (No. 11 car last year) and a part-time (4th entry in 2021’s Indy 500). Do they let both go at this point or keep 1 of the 2 and let the 4th one walk? Sounds like the 4th car isn’t going to be brought out for May so it’s down to 3 and it’s only up to Kellett.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has 2 part-time Indy only engines and would need a replacement now for Ferrucci. Between these 2 and the 13 already, that’s 15 of their 18 max allotment.
AMSP is open to entertaining a 4th Indy only ride. They could get 1 of the 2 from Foyt. Top Gun/RC Enerson hold the keys to the other package but there’s not been a word said on the status of this legal battle.
Cusick and DragonSpeed each want back in but I don’t see any full-time engines available for them to snag. The Foyt (4th entry) and Top Gun/RC Enerson car are the only 2 engine packages left for Chevy to offer and neither would be full-time.
Which is why silly season is pretty much wrapped up.
Team Penske (3) – All 3 drivers are returning
Arrow McLaren SP (3) – They’ll use all 3 engines full-time next year with O’Ward, Rosenqvist and Rossi in them. Do they get a 4th for Kyle Busch?
Ed Carpenter Racing (3) – Both drivers are back. Ed is likely back on ovals. Do they pair on a grander scale with Paretta for 2023?
AJ Foyt Racing (3) – They had 3 engines this year but will they use all 3 next season?
Juncos Hollinger Racing (2) – They’ll have 2 cars next year with Callum Ilott in 1 of them and a TBA driver in the 2nd car.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (2) – I don’t get any indication that they’ll scale back to 1 or 0 cars in 2023 after a strong show this past May. I also don’t get any sense they’ll add more races outside of Indy either.
The Top Gun/RC Enerson saga has 1 engine. AJ Foyt has another but do they use all 3? That leaves 1 engine left. Cusick and Paretta are interested. Can they each secure 1?
Andretti Autosport (5) – They have 4 drivers signed for 2023 and all will be back. I’d expect Marco Andretti to return in the Indy only role again.
Chip Ganassi Racing (4) – I don’t see them running a 5th car for Indy only next year. They can let go of 1 of their chassis/engines now.
Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing (3) – All 3 drivers are back in 2023.
Meyer Shank Racing (2) – They’ll have both drivers back. They’re eyeing expansion but I don’t see how that gets done yet.
Dale Coyne Racing (2) – They’re after a 3rd engine but can they secure it? Malukas is back but is Sato? They could have 1 seat open. If they don’t, then they want a 3rd engine for Linus Lundqvist.
There’s 1 engine left out there (Vasser Sullivan’s) that could be used. Then the rest gets interesting. Does Ganassi drop 1 of their engines and can DCR gain it? Does MSR secure a 3rd one to use part-time?