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Notes & Quotes: Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear

AJ Foyt Racing drivers Santino Ferrucci and rookie Benjamin Pedersen enter Detroit this weekend carrying momentum from a strong month of May in Indianapolis. Ferrucci finished a career best third in the Indy 500 and Pedersen won the Rookie of the Year honors for the race. We asked them a few questions...

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet)

Ferrucci believes the team has made gains in their street course program following his 11th place finish in the Long Beach Grand Prix. In the GMR Grand Prix at Indy, he was headed to a top 15 finish but a problem on the final stop dropped him to 23rd. Ferrucci's looking forward to racing in Detroit where he made his NTT INDYCAR Series debut. Ferrucci has three top-10s in five starts with three different teams. His best finish is sixth in 2021. This race marks Ferrucci's 50th start.

SF: "I've always enjoyed going to Detroit. It's where I started my IndyCar career (in 2018) and I've usually run pretty well there. I think I've grown a lot (as a driver) since then. Actually I was gonna have a Top-Ten in the first race but I got hit and put in the wall. And then the second race I crashed coming out of the pit but I still finished tenth."

Did your experience in Europe help?

SF: "Yes, it did. Obviously, every street course is different but I've done a lot of street courses in Europe that were similar to Detroit, just not quite as bumpy as the Belle Isle course. The cars weren't as powerful as an Indy car but it gives you confidence. I've always been good at Detroit so I'm hoping that I'll be pretty good at this new track downtown. And we've made some gains from the beginning of the year because I think we know a little bit more as to what's going on with the car."

Since the Detroit track will be a first time for everybody, will that be an advantage for you?

SF: "I think it'll be good for drivers like us that can learn the track quickly, but we still need to have a good understanding what the car is doing so there is a chance that yes, we could be better. Also, there's a chance that we could struggle more if we don't, because there's other teams that have been on the simulator and we haven't."

How do you prepare for this street race?

SF: "I went there in the winter time to go check it out in my Chevy Tahoe. The only thing I can do to prepare for it now is to do the track walk and watch some of the cars on track that run before us on Friday."

Does it seem like any tracks you've run in the past?

SF: "It's definitely a very different unique kind of street course. I say it's probably got a lot of characteristics similar to Long Beach. It's just probably wider which will make for more passing."

Can you carry the momentum from a strong run at Indy to Detroit?

SF: "I think we can without a doubt and we're gonna do our best to make everything work. The momentum helps build the team morale. It's gonna come more from the GP and what we've been learning there because we're getting really close to building a really good road and street course car. Our damper program needs a little bit of help. The dampers are really complicated. I think our street course dampers are more inside the window than the road course ones. Smooth tracks require stuff that's more high-tech where the street course windows are larger, in a sense. We're really close to figuring it out, I believe."

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)...Competed part-time in NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021-22.

BENJAMIN PEDERSEN (No. 55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet)

Pedersen is carrying momentum from a great performance in May where he was the fastest rookie in qualifying, was headed for a good finish in the 500 before being taken out by a lapped car with four laps to go. He was voted the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. Entering his seventh NTT INDYCAR Series race, Pedersen is excited about racing in Detroit which everyone will see for the first time this weekend.

This year every track is a “First Time” for you, but the Detroit track will be a First Time for everybody. Will that level the playing field for you?

BP: "I think since Detroit will be new for everyone it will level the playing field in a big way. While I was in INDY NXT, we went to a new track for everyone - Nashville - which will be like what we will experience in Detroit this week. At Nashville I was fast and picked up quickly, so I am confident we will do the same thing this weekend. I know Foyt has some great street cars and will work hard to achieve some great results."

How do you prepare for this street race? Is there a sim of the track layout available to you?

BP: "I have been preparing pretty much the same as I have for the other races this season through my training. Unfortunately, there isn't a sim of the track at this point, so learning the track that way hasn't been possible."

What are your thoughts about the double pit lane?

BP: "It's exciting, and new for everyone. I don't know if it will favor being on one side or the other with pit in or out times, so we will see what happens. I think it's exciting that the NTT INDYCAR Series is doing something different and I hope it works out for all."

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.

DANIELE CUCCHIARONI is the race engineer on the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet. He joined

the team in January, 2015 when the team expanded to two cars. He has been a race engineer in 2016 (Jack Hawksworth), 2019 (Matheus Leist) and 2020 (Charlie Kimball), serving as a performance engineer in other years. He earned a second level degree (Masters) in Mechanical Engineering from Università degli Studi di Perugia.

How do you figure out a setup for a track you’ve never been to? One that nobody’s been to?

DC: “We are using the simulator which allows us to figure out a projection of the speeds for each corner. We can’t determine the roughness of the track until we get there but there are tools to create a 3D representation of the track, and mapping tools which help us to find the right gears and the right aerodynamics to establish a baseline. Two other aspects that are important for me when approaching a new track are:

- Diversification: starting with each car (14 and 55) a bit differently so we can learn quickly. Of course, teams with more cars have an advantage to find their way quickly.

- Reaction: Have in place all the people and procedures to analyze all the information (vehicle data, tire data, drivers) as quickly as possible. This is essential in finding the right balance in the vehicle and in understanding the reaction of the tires on this surface."

How do you find the data points to create the representation?

DC: “We have a library of tracks with very high fidelity we use to do a virtual lap in a 3d environment. Since this is the first time to this track, the fidelity isn’t as good as it is at tracks we’ve been to. But GM has used their resources to give us (and the other Chevy teams) certain information which is very important and very helpful. We don’t show up blind as the technology helps us to determine the basic setup and we go from there once we get to the track.”

Over $3 Million Raised for Homes For Our Troops!

ABC Supply Co., Inc. announced that over $3 million has been donated to Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) as part of a fundraiser held by the company in conjunction with the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and AJ Foyt Racing. Among millions of viewers tuning in for Sunday’s race, several HFOT Veterans were invited to experience the whirlwind weekend. The Veterans got a garage tour of the No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet driven by Santino Ferrucci, walked the fabled Yard of Bricks and got a front-row seat to the patriotic, stars-and-stripes-clad HFOT Indy car racing to a thrilling third-place finish.

ABC Supply has been a passionate supporter of HFOT since 2020 and donated the design of the Indy car to create more awareness for the organization, which builds and donates specially adapted custom homes across the United States for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans, enabling them to rebuild their lives. HFOT has built 355 specially adapted homes since its inception in 2004.

Past Performance at Detroit: Ferrucci's best start is 12th in Race 2 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) in 2021 and his best finish is sixth in Race 1 in 2021, also with RLL. Pedersen's best start and finish in the INDY NXT Series at Detroit came in Race 2 where he started and finished second. The Foyt Team's best start is from the pole in Race 2 in 2014 with Takuma Sato; Sato also scored the team’s best finish of second in Race 2 in 2015.

Last Race: The Indy 500 capped a strong performance for AJ Foyt Racing. Ferrucci started fourth and finished a career-best third. Pedersen started 11th as the fastest rookie and finished 21st after getting hit by a lapped car in a multi-car crash with four laps remaining. He earned the Rookie of the Year award.

NBC Sports will broadcast the race live on Sunday, June 4th starting at 3:00 p.m. ET. All practice sessions, qualifying rounds and the race will stream live on Peacock. The race and all practice and qualifying sessions will air live on INDYCAR Radio Network affiliates, SiriusXM INDYCAR Nation 160 and SiriusXM NBC Sports Audio 85 (Race only) and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.


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