2022 Writers’ Roundtable, vol. 40: An intriguing pilot transfer?

The question of the day : AJ Foyt Racing recently added Benjamin Pedersen and Santino Ferrucci to its driver lineup for the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. Also in new seats for next year are Alexander Rossi at Arrow McLaren SP and Kyle Kirkwood at Andretti Autosport. Recognizing that there are still car and driver announcements to be made – Juncos Hollinger Racing’s second seat comes to mind – which of the four confirmed changes intrigues you the most at this stage of the off-season?

Curt Cavin: I expect Rossi to be strong in the Arrow McLaren SP seat, so I’ll skip that one for the purposes of this discussion. For me, Kirkwood will be the one to watch next season as his results in 2022 did not match the hype we expected of him given back to back series titles in USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 and Indy Lights. He’s only finished in the top 15 three times in 17 races, and he’s had at least seven races that ended in contact. Clearly, Ferrucci and Foyt will make an intriguing combination in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, and I’m interested to hear what Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger do with their second car – this could be the team that makes a big splash. jump to 2023 But for now, my attention is on Kirkwood in the #27 Honda.

Joey Barnes: I’m definitely intrigued to see what Kirkwood can do. That said, the Santino Ferrucci and AJ Foyt Racing combination caught my attention. Sometimes you just see something click into place, and there’s just a feeling like, “OK, it’s okay.” I think that’s the case with Ferrucci joining Foyt. With the Dallas resident two years away from being a full-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver, spending the majority of the time developing his racing gear in other areas like the Chili Bowl Nationals and NASCAR, as well as starts Random Indianapolis 500 or super-sub duty, there’s plenty to be curious about with his full-time return. Plus, Ferrucci is only 24, even with all that experience. Bottom line, he took situations that weren’t right for him and moved forward on race day. Now, with a construction team around him – and his rookie teammate Benjamin Pedersen – they really could be a group to work magic in 2023. This is a team of underdogs, and I think that’s exactly the situation that plays into Ferrucci’s fiery personality and driving style.

Paul Kelly: The dynamic of Alexander Rossi joining Arrow McLaren SP intrigues me greatly. How will he adapt to the second team of his NTT INDYCAR SERIES career after spending his first seven seasons with Andretti Autosport? How will he adapt to a Chevrolet engine after seven years powered by a Honda? How will he adapt to only having the data of two teammates instead of three? O’Ward is an acknowledged race winner at AMSP and the driver around whom the team was built. Rosenqvist has enjoyed a very strong second half of 2022 and appears to be heading into 2023 with momentum and confidence fueled by his results and McLaren’s decision not to ship him to Formula E. -19 were due to Andretti’s struggles in the team since 2020. And Rossi reminded everyone of his talent by winning the Gallagher Grand Prix last July at IMS to end a 49-race winless streak. But Rossi will be in the spotlight all next season in his first year at AMSP. He has to deliver, which probably consists of at least one victory and a fight for the title.

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