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Notes & Quotes: Gallagher Grand Prix at IMS

Jay Creech, who calls Indianapolis his hometown and describes himself as a prankster, joined AJ Foyt Racing this season to work as a rear-end mechanic on the No. 55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet. He also owns Creech Motorsports, a vintage car restoration company that he bought after working there as a teenager. His life is centered around motorsports--even his hobbies! We asked him a few questions...

When and why did you join AJ Foyt Racing?

JC: "I started working at AJ Foyt Racing in January of 2023. As a matter of fact, I started on A.J.’s birthday -- the 16th. What drew me here to AJFR was knowing Mike Cannon [technical director] was here and of course, the old man himself. Always have been a fan."

In addition to being the rear-end mechanic on the No. 55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet, Creech is the inside rear tire handler during pitstops.

How did you get involved in racing? JC: "I started in motorsports at the age of 14 with Legend Cars and shortly after started working on vintage open-wheel racing cars. I was very fortunate to have grown up and mentored by some of the best in the Motorsports industry. Before AJFR I was at RLL (Rahal Letterman Lanigan] from 2019-2021.

"My wife Kara was ready for me to get out of the house after taking all of 2022 off, that’s the other reason I came over here. I worked with Cannon at Forsythe Racing until they shut the doors in 2009.

"I went back to vintage restoration until 2019. I was around the Hemelgarn team as a kid, and my first 500 that I was old enough to have a hard card was in 1998, and we finished second! Three days later I graduated high school."

What are your goals?

JC: " My goals today are being here to help bring the Foyt name back to where it should be and always should have been, at the top!"

Greatest achievements thus far? JC: "My greatest achievements thus far is being a part of the Indy 500 winning team in 2020 and purchasing the vintage restoration company that I started at." [Note: Business at his restoration company comes by word-of-mouth, aka an excellent reputation.]

Creech Motorsports' shop specializes in restoring vintage open-wheel race cars.

What is the best part of being involved in INDYCAR and AJ Foyt Racing? JC: "The best part about being involved in Indycar/AJFR is the friendships you gain over the years."

What advice would you give to someone starting out? JC: "The best advice I could give someone starting out would be learn as much as you can and become a well-rounded individual."

What is your favorite track on the circuit and why? JC: "My favorite event is and will always be the Indianapolis 500. It’s the only one that matters!"

Do you have any pets?

JC: "We have dogs. Bella is a pit bull mix. Unfortunately, the Saturday before Nashville we had to put down our beagle Pickle. It’s the worst part about having them. They’re family."

What do you like to do in your spare time? JC: "In my spare time I still restore vintage racing cars at home and go sprint car racing with my

cousin, Tim Creech who won the 410 Sprint Car championship at Paragon Speedway last year."

For fans who are in town for the GP, what places (or activities) would you recommend for them to visit (in addition to the GP at IMS)?

JC: "Recommendations for fans to visit while they are in town would be local dirt tracks or catch an Indians semi-pro baseball game at Victory Field, and don’t forget about the museum at IMS!"

What are the Top Three items on your bucket list?

JC: " I really don’t have a bucket list any longer. After receiving my Indy 500 championship ring in 2020 (with Takuma Sato & RLL Racing) that was the last thing to cross off my list. You only die once, but you get to live every day!"

You're a self-admitted prankster, what is one of your best pranks?

JC: "This year I had t-shirts printed of one of our mechanics with his ex-girlfriend and then had everyone wear them during one of the team photo shoots at the Speedway."

Creech (second from right in front row) is quite the prankster and his latest target was Pete, one of the team's mechanics, who seemed to enjoy the joke.

SANTINO FERRUCCI is making his 57th start in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES this weekend. At the

Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, his best start is 11th in May, 2020 and his best finish is

ninth -- in Race 2 of the Fall Doubleheader in 2020.

"I'm very much looking forward to this weekend at the Brickyard. I did race there last year, but in the Xfinity car not in the Indy car. It’s a lot of fun to be partnered with NASCAR on a race weekend and I wish we would do it more often.

"I’m just a very big fan of the flow of the road course here at IMS. It has a little bit of everything from high speed chicanes to low speed hairpins with big brake zones. This track also races very well and we were pretty good here in May.

"This track is very similar to Road America and I think having a good rhythm here and understanding how to build the tire temperature for qualifying and then having a very good long-run car will be the key to getting a solid result."

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 is making his 14th start in the NTT INDYCAR Series. The Gallagher Grand Prix will be the first time he will have past experience on a track in an Indy car because he competed on the road course in May. He started 23rd and finished 24th. In the INDY NXT Series by Firestone, he raced four times with his best start of seventh and best finish of fourth coming in the second of two events at the road course last year.

"With the Gallagher Grand Prix this weekend at the Brickyard, I'm very excited to return to a very smooth, permanent road course. There have been a lot of street courses lately, and bumpy ovals such as Iowa, so happy to get back to Indianapolis. This track whether it's the oval or the road course is always special in an Indy car. I look forward to seeing all the fans and reminiscing on the strong month of May we had.

"The last time we were there was very promising. Actually, we finished with the best car we had all week in the GP so we're going to be starting with that package. It was definitely very competitive in the race. Unfortunately, we had to serve a penalty due to some radio issues and we got a couple laps down, so it didn't show the pace that we had but we’re looking forward to redeeming ourselves this weekend."

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 the IMS Road Course: AJ Foyt Racing’s best start on the IMS Road Course is fourth with Jack Hawksworth in 2016 and their best finish is fourth with Matheus Leist in 2019. In both cases, the drivers were in their sophomore year of NTT INDYCAR series competition. Ferrucci's best start is 11th and his best finish is 10th, both coming in 2019. Pedersen has just one start in an Indy car; starting 23rd in the Spring and finishing 24th. His last race in the INDY NXT Series by Firestone at this track, he started seventh and finished fourth.

The Gallagher Grand Prix will be broadcast live on the USA Network on Saturday afternoon starting at 2 pm ET. Peacock will stream the practice and qualifying sessions on Friday.


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