Greetings to our IndyCar Series fans and readers! Hopefully by now you have enjoyed the endless rounds of food that come on and after Thanksgiving day, as well as some Black Friday specials allowing you to snatch up some great racing gifts for you and your loved ones.
Today we have a short but sweet IndyCar Round-Up special to recap what was a rather quiet news week in the open-wheel world.
This week we saw Santino Ferrucci formally confirmed for a full-season program with Dale Coyne Racing after months of speculation. The Connecticut native made four starts for the Honda-powered team last season and is trying to put a checkered past behind him starting next spring.
One driver is still looking for a ride in 2019, and that is Santiago Urrutia. Three times a top-three finisher in the Indy Lights championship, Urrutia’s chances with Belardi Auto Racing seem to have run out as the team recently tested three young drivers instead of the Uruguayan.
In what has become an offseason tradition, Urrutia recently informed the public of his conversations with IndyCar Series teams – though much of the noise remains speculation.
Like we said before, the Round-Up this week is short but sweet so give it a look and enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!
After weeks of speculation, Dale Coyne Racing tied the knot with Santino Ferrucci on Tuesday and signed the American driver to his first full season of IndyCar Series competition in 2019.
Debuting with Coyne in place of the injured Pietro Fittipaldi at Detroit, Ferrucci convinced the experienced team owner to give him two more cameo appearances at Portland International Raceway and Sonoma Raceway to close out the 2018 season.
Ferrucci recorded his best finish of the three races in that season finale where he placed 11th at Sonoma.
“I’ve said it before, I’m extremely grateful to Dale (Coyne) and everyone at Dale Coyne Racing for believing in me and for giving me this opportunity to race a full season in the IndyCar Series,” Ferrucci noted.
“I enjoyed the time I spent with the team this past year in the IndyCar Series and I’m looking forward to doing a full season with them. While I’ll still be considered a rookie, I feel like I’ve already gained valuable experience in IndyCar that will serve me well next season. However, I’m well aware that I still have a lot to learn and I’m looking forward to it.” Read More
The clock is certainly ticking on Santiago Urrutia’s prospective IndyCar Series career. With three seasons of Indy Lights competition under his belt – yet no championship to claim after a trio of near misses – the Uruguayan driver is on the outside looking in for 2019 ride.
Urrutia, still just 22, finished third in this year’s Indy Lights championship behind Road to Indy graduates and 2019 IndyCar Series rookies Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta. It was in a battle with Herta, in particular, that Urrutia’s season was defined at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Battling wheel-to-wheel for a handful of laps, Herta dove to the inside of the leader Urrutia for one final shot at the lead. The two drivers made contact with Herta standing his ground and Urrutia going around in a cloud of dust.
After leading 31 laps in the race, Urrutia was relegated to a fourth place finish and third place in the Indy Lights standings. He would never rise higher than third in the championship again, while a win would have pushed Urrutia back into first place.
Even still, 2018 remained a relatively successful campaign with two victories overall (St. Petersburg and Toronto) and eight podiums to Urrutia’s name.
With that, it seems Urrutia’s chances in Indy Lights are dwindling. Urrutia was not one of the nine Indy Lights drivers who took part in the September Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Three of those drivers drove a Belardi Indy Lights machine – Victor Franzoni, Lucas Kohl and David Malukas – and it seems the experienced Road to Indy team is ready to give some drivers in the lower ranks a shot.
In speaking with SoyMotor.com, Urrutia revealed recently that his aspirations have shifted to a partial IndyCar Series program that would include a shot at the Indianapolis 500 and cameo appearances driving touring cars in Argentina. Read More
With Thanksgiving upon us, the full force of the IndyCar Series offseason has taken hold. Currently sitting 108 days from the season opener at St. Petersburg and 185 days from the latest installment of the Indianapolis 500, winter days in Indiana call for some reflection.
Two months removed from the 2018 finale at Sonoma Raceway, it feels right to start looking towards 2019. While there are certainly some matters to sort out – like finding a title sponsor and moving television numbers back in the right direction – INDYCAR has to be comfortable with where they stand at present.
In 2019 the series will introduce NBC Sports as the sole television partner while ESPN and ABC watch from the sidelines for the first time. Surely there will be a few nostalgic Indianapolis 500 fans missing the “500” on ABC next spring, but the move to NBC was necessary, inevitable, and should be prosperous in the long run.
For anyone who watched the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series finale last weekend, one could see early returns on INDYCAR’s investment.
On multiple occasions, NBC ran ads promoting the IndyCar Series as well as their highly anticipated debut broadcasting the Indianapolis 500. Furthermore, the simulcast of NASCAR’s Homestead race on both NBC and NBCSN gave fans a preview of what to expect when NBC rolls out the red carpet for the “500” next May.
The excitement surrounding NBC and their company taking the IndyCar Series reigns is tangible, and that is a breath of fresh air that will only benefit the series. Read More
Header image courtesy of Stephen King/INDYCAR.