Notes & Quotes: GMR Grand Prix
The GMR Grand Prix has kicked off the Month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 2014. The tenth running of the race will mark the first race at IMS for rookie Benjamin Pedersen in the No. 55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet. Driving the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet, team veteran Santino Ferrucci, with 47 NTT INDYCAR Series races under his belt, will be making his fifth start on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. He has two top-10 finishes. We asked him a few questions...
On the GMR Grand Prix: "I'm looking forward to this weekend. I like the IMS road course because I feel it fits my driving style pretty well. The track is very flowey, very fast. It's always been an enjoyable race for me, an enjoyable time to be inside IMS. So hoping that we can bring that spirit this weekend and carry on with our development of the Sexton Properties Chevy."
How the track compares to other tracks he's raced on: "The track is unlike others that we go to, it's just really smooth. It's really flat. If anything, it's probably close to Monza in a way. Yeah, long straights, chicanes. IMS has some similar corners but nothing quite as fast as Monza. But it does have some big, big brakes zones. So, it could be like a miniature version of Monza."
On kicking off the month of May: "I like that the GP kicks off the month of May. I feel like having a solid GP is good for everybody. You know just being inside the track is always a lot of fun. I also think this is one of the few races of the year that we always have a good chance that it could rain, which is fun for us. I like to race in the rain, so fingers crossed on the weather this weekend. I'll be praying for rain for sure."
On the key to getting around the track this weekend: "I think we just need to have a really consistent car. I think that's super important. Right now we haven't been super consistent. I think once we figure that out, we'll be really good, so that's what we're looking forward to. (Through the race or through the weekend?) Honestly just throughout the course of the weekend, having a platform that we can come out of the shop with and roll off the trucks and it's just predictable and easier to drive. We need to be consistent as drivers because Indy car races are long. It's all about minimizing mistakes. I think if we can have a clean weekend, we can be there to play for a top-10 finish."
On going to the Kentucky Derby: "That was my first Derby. So it was definitely a cool way to experience that for sure. Very unique. Everybody's dressed up. Unreal. It's so cool to see how everybody dresses to be as prepared as possible and everybody's color coordinated by day which is awesome to see. So Friday is Pink Day. Everybody on Friday was basically in something pink. Saturday you saw lots of purples and lots of different colors. Saturday was the day everybody wears the craziest clothes."
Santino Ferrucci with his fiancée Renay Moore at the Derby (dressed in pink so it must be Friday). They were guests of Larry Foyt. A.J. Foyt did not make the Derby this year.
Did you win any bets? "I won quite a few. Actually, I bet on the horse that won the Derby. On Friday, we all had a few too many Mint Juleps to bet on the 14 which won the Kentucky Oaks race. It was a good weekend for betting -- at least for a few of us. But I still lost $200 bucks over the weekend. I literally did good only on the Derby. That was it. I hate betting, it drives me nuts. (Why?) I don't know. I'm not a gambling type of person. I like playing the odds, if I play."
Do you do that with your racing too--in terms of high or low percentage moves? "I definitely like to think things through, especially in IndyCar with the races being so long. I do think there are places to take chances. And places not. I think that's also why I've done so well at Indy. So just understanding that it is technically a game of statistics and survival."
Ferrucci Fast Facts: Age 24...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...moved to NTT INDYCAR Series 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.
Larry Foyt with Benjamin Pedersen at last month's race in Alabama.
Benjamin Pedersen turns 24 today, May 11th. He has competed on the IMS road course in the INDY NXT Series where he has three top-10s in four starts. His best start is seventh in both races in 2022 and his best finish is fourth in his most recent race on the IMS road course in 2022. This race will be his fifth start in the NTT INDYCAR Series.
“Very excited for this weekend for the GMR Grand Prix. I’ve raced here in the past in INDY NXT, but obviously, not here in INDYCAR, so really looking forward to that. Have had really good success here in INDY NXT. There’s a chance of rain. Feeling very optimistic, and really looking forward to this weekend in the Sexton Properties Chevrolet.”
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...Enjoys golf, pickleball, skiing, soccer, snowmobiling, mountain biking, dirt biking.
Past Performance: Ferrucci has competed in four races on the road course (including the fall races) and his best start 11th in 2020. His best finish is ninth also in 2020. Pedersen is making his first start at the track in an Indy car. 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.
Last Race: At Barber Motorsports Park, Ferrucci's car had a problem in practice and could not qualify so he started 27th. He finished 20th. Pedersen started 25th and finished 22nd.
NBC Sports will broadcast the race live on Saturday, May 13th starting at 3:30 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.