INDIANAPOLIS — Dalton Kellett confirmed on Tuesday that he won’t be returning to AJ Foyt Racing in 2023 and will instead focus on other endeavors. While he doesn’t have anything lined up yet, it won’t be int he NTT INDYCAR Series.
Most of the rides are filled, barring a last minute switch to Juncos Hollinger Racing which I don’t see happening. Kellett made 41 career starts in the series as he was a full-time driver in the No. 4 Dallara-Chevrolet for the team the last couple of seasons.
Now, rookie Benjamin Pedersen shifts to the 4 seat while Santino Ferrucci will be in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet. The team won’t bring out the third car and will remain put with two drivers.
Larry Foyt has continually said that there’s a place for Kellett for the team should it make dollars and sense.
“We talk often, and I think there’s a mutual desire to continue,” Foyt said of Kellett a couple of weeks ago. “I think we just have to make sure we can put together a really good team around him, so we’re trying to see what that would look like and if it’s a possibility or not. I think that’s where it sits. We haven’t decided necessarily. We’re just trying to see who’s available, what it would really look like if we did.
“Right now what I’d say is we’re definitely two cars for sure, potentially could be three. I don’t want to speculate too much whether we’ll be two or three. But certainly two. There is a possibility of three, but I’m not sure where that’s going to end up yet.
“The only person we’re talking to is Dalton. Obviously, he’s been a part of the team. There’s a desire to work together, but we both know we have to go out and find some people to make that happen.
“We’re not going to do anything unless it was really going to strengthen the team. We’re both on the same page on that.”
So, what about a 3rd car for Indy only? That doesn’t sound possible either.
“Yeah, on the JR (Hildebrand) side, I don’t know that we’ll run an extra car at the 500. We just have to see how that shakes out,” Foyt said on the manner.
“At the moment some of that funding has gone into this program to make sure it was a full-time program. I think we may just not worry about an extra car at the Speedway this year is kind of the thought.
“Everything is still open. It’s still very early days. Hate to speculate too much. Yeah, that’s kind of where it’s at.
“If we ran a third, it would only be with Dalton, so… Not looking for a third outside of that at the moment.”
Which means there’s an additional full-time Chevrolet engine available and possibly a part-time Indy only one as well.
Both Chevrolet and Honda are maxed out at 18 engines each. However, some of those are for part-time use too as neither wants to add much beyond their full-time allocation.
For full-time use for the bowties, we know Team Penske has 3, Arrow McLaren SP has 3, Ed Carpenter Racing likely will use 3 with a Paretta partnership on the road/street courses, Foyt and JHR each have 2.
That’s 13 full-time engines which equals the amount that they had for 2022. Honda has 15 full-time entries. Both JHR and AMSP moved their part-time entries up to full-time.
What this also means is, Chevrolet has room to grow for Indy with 5 packages available while Honda has just 3.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has 2 Indy only packages for Chevy, while Honda has Andretti using 1 of their 3 Indy only packages. Ganassi and DCR/HMD are up for grabs for the 17th engine. DCR/HMD wants to use it full-time for Linus Lundqvist. Ganassi likely is giving up their Indy only package (Tony Kanaan’s seat) from last year and focusing on a 4 car effort. The question now remains, is that car full-time or part-time. If part-time, then DCR/HMD gets the full-time engine and Ganassi’s 4th being part-time.
Nevertheless, Foyt giving up at least 1 engine and now maybe 2 could open the door for Paretta to snag an Indy seat or even teams like Cusick or DragonSpeed too.