Notes & Quotes: Bommarito Automotive Group 500
Bommarito Automotive Group is returning as the sponsor of the No. 14 Chevrolet for the second straight year in this weekend's NTT INDYCAR Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway outside of St. Louis, Mo. Santino Ferrucci, who nearly won the race in his rookie year in 2019 after leading a race-high 97 laps when driving for Dale Coyne, said, "I’ve known the Bommarito family for many years because of my first Indy car ride. And then having to drive the Bommarito sponsored Indy car in 2020, I got to grow my partnership with them. John is like family for me in the racing world and I appreciate everything he does for our sport, this race and our team."
Team Penske President Tim Cindric revealed during an interview with Marshall Pruett of Racer Magazine that Team Penske and AJ Foyt Racing have entered into a technical partnership which began in July. Proposed last year, the deal gained momentum after Ferrucci's outstanding performance in the Indianapolis 500 where Ferrucci started fourth and finished third for his fifth straight top-10 finish in the iconic race.
“We are happy to be part of an alliance with team Penske going forward. The mutual respect shared between Roger and A.J. joined with my respect for Tim Cindric and everything they have accomplished is a great pairing," said Team President Larry Foyt. "I have no doubt we can help each other to always keep improving and keep pushing forward in this competitive INDYCAR environment."
SANTINO FERRUCCI will be making his fourth start at WWTR where he has finished in the top 10 twice including fourth in his rookie year. The weekend's race will be Ferrucci's 58th start in the NTT INDYCAR Series.
Why are you looking forward to racing at WWTR [aka Gateway]?
"Gateway has always been a very good track for my driving ability. It has a lot of similarities to the [Indy] 500. I’ve also come very close to winning this race my rookie season and this is definitely one that I would like to win for sure."
What is the key to getting around that track?
"I think some of the keys to getting around this race track is being able to drive a neutral car -- and knowing how to save fuel. This track very much favors the lift and coast style drivers."
What is it about your driving style that make you so suited to the ovals?
"I don’t know what makes me so comfortable around most of the ovals. I did not grow up racing ovals so when I learned with good teachers, I didn’t have any bad habits. I also come at them with an open mind, and the ability to drive a loose race car, which normally is a fast race car on ovals."
Ferrucci Fast Facts: Age 25...Born in Woodbury, CT...Lives in Dallas, Texas...Began racing karts at age 5, moved to cars in 2013...Competed in Formula 2000, British Formula 3, GP3 finishing third at Spa Francorchamps as a rookie, was development driver for Haas F1 team for three years (2016-2018), moved to Formula 2 in 2018...made his INDYCAR debut in Detroit in 2018...moved to NTT INDYCAR Series fulltime in 2019 finishing 13th in standings for Dale Coyne and won Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after finishing seventh...13th in standings again with fourth place finish in the 500...drove part-time in 2021-22 but maintained top-10 streak in Indy 500 with finishes of sixth (RLL Racing) and 10th (Dreyer Reinbold Racing)...Scored best finish to date this year with his 3rd place finish in the Indianapolis 500...Competed part-time in NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021-22.
BENJAMIN PEDERSEN will be making his first start at World Wide Technology Raceway in an Indy car and his 15th start in the NTT INDYCAR Series. He competed at the track in the Indy NXT Series and finished third in all three events (2021-2022).
Why are you looking forward to racing at WWTR?
"World Wide Technology Raceway is a special place for me, because it's where I had my first ever oval race in the Indy NXT Series a couple of years ago. I have been on the podium every time I have been there so I have had a lot of success at this track. It's a very smooth track, still a short oval though. Overall, it's a special place for me and a track that I really enjoy driving."
What is the key to getting around that track?
"For sure you need to have a very good car right away that has a lot of raw grip. It's not a very bumpy track at all like compared to Iowa so we will very likely be using some of the things that we used in Texas and the Indy 500 where we had a good car and will try and make that work around this track."
What characteristics of this track make it challenging?
"For me I think it's going to be the fact that it's my first NTT INDYCAR Series race here. I have only done Indy NXT at this track so understanding how to get the most out of pit in and pit outs, understanding the tire deg - we have the alternate tire this weekend as well which is a first for this year. Going through a full race stint and strategy for this track will be a new experience for me."
Based on your IndyCar oval experience this year, what will be key for you in adapting to the Indy car on this track?
"We have had very limited track time, especially since we were not able to go test last week, since we used our test allocation for another track earlier this year. The key will be using the experience I already have to get up to speed extremely quickly and take advantage of the track time we have to get the car in the right window and to how I would like it. Then doing the best possible job that we can do to get a good result. We only have three races left, so we want to be able to finish the season off really strong and on a good note."
Pedersen Fast Facts: Age 24...Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, moved to Seattle at age 4 and is now living in Indianapolis...Began racing karts at a young age and has competed and won races in the INDY NXT by Firestone Series, British Formula 3, FR Americas Championship, F4 US Championship...Earned Rookie of the Year award in the Indianapolis 500 after setting a record for the fastest qualifying lap by a rookie (233.297mph). Enjoys golf, pickleball, skiing, soccer, snowmobiling, mountain biking, dirt biking.
Past Performance at WWTR: Santino Ferrucci's best start is sixth and his best finish is fourth, both of which came in his rookie season in 2019. Benjamin Pedersen has three starts in the Indy NXT Series at WWTR and his best start is second (2022) and best finish is third--which is where he finished in every race at WWTR. The Foyt team’s best start is 8th (2017 – Carlos Muñoz) and its best finish is 3rd (2019 – Tony Kanaan).
Last Race: At the Gallagher Grand Prix at the IMS road course, Ferrucci's fortunes turned when a problem with pit equipment on his first pit stop incurred a stop-and-go penalty which put him a lap down. He finished 23rd. Pedersen's fortune turned before the race was underway as an electrical glitch cost him four laps before he could join the race. He placed 26th.
The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will be broadcast live on NBC Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET. The practices and qualifying on Saturday will be streamed live on Peacock.