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Notes & Quotes: Hy-Vee INDYCAR Doubleheader at Iowa Speedway

SANTINO FERUCCI and STING RAY ROBB will be competing this weekend at Iowa Speedway after an encouraging weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where Ferrucci notched another top-10 finish (10th) and Robb matched his career-best finish of 16th, first achieved in this year's Indianapolis 500. We asked them a few questions...


SANTINO FERRUCCI: No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet


What do you see as some of the factors contributing to your season where are you at six top 10s in nine starts?

SF: "The continuity with the team has a lot to do with it. Just kind of getting back into my rhythm, and even though we had engineering changes, getting to know and working with James, Penske alliance, and understanding strategies and what really worked for us last year -- and what didn't -- it was a whole bunch of things just going the right way. "


What do you think can be done about improving qualifying the season because you're making it hard on yourself?

SF: "Yeah, I am. I think qualifying in Mid-Ohio was more unfortunate than anything else.

Didn't time the tire well, we had too much aero balance, we did kind of miss it with the car which made it a little bit more difficult for me to be perfect, but I'm confident that I'll improve in qualifying for the upcoming events so my job is hopefully easier on Sunday."


What did you learn from the Iowa hybrid tests that you can apply to this weekend?

SF: "It was really good to have both not only the Iowa hybrid test but the Milwaukee hybrid test as well because it gave us a head start on a car setup, and really figuring out what I like as a driver and what I don't like, I think that that's really important. Also, James is still learning me as a driver, so getting the car comfortable for me to be fast is crucial. And we were able to do that at the hybrid test."


How difficult will it be on you physically to run two races so close together on this high bank short oval, and what will be the key to your recovery time?

SF: "It's gonna be a physical race. Honestly, I'm really, really sore from Mid-Ohio but I didn't think Iowa was as physical as that race. And doing all the laps I did in testing, I felt very confident in my physical and mental abilities. I think I'll be able to have a solid recovery and especially compared to last year, you know, it was mentally difficult because our car wasn't good. When you have a good car, it's a lot less strain on the body and the mind. When you have a good car, it's really easy to drive, kind of like a win-win, a lot less work. If it's not a good car, it's a lot of work."


After running the hybrid at Mid-Ohio, how has it prepared you for using it at Iowa Speedway, or will it be a totally new experience since it's an oval, not a road course race.

SF: "I think it's definitely going to be a different experience using it in Iowa. I think that the hybrid is less effective on the short oval just because of the minimum speeds and how we carry the corners. So I don't think I'll really using the hybrid much other than maybe for starting qualifying off and you know being able to play defense and offense but for normal running, I probably won't be using much of it."


And why do you think you've done so well on the ovals even though your career before IndyCar racing was on road courses?

SF: "I think I've been lucky to have good cars or at least cars I can understand how to get comfortable with the engineers. And I've always had great race-craft, so being able to apply it on the ovals has just helped me to excel on the ovals more so than anywhere else.

Do you enjoy racing at Iowa Speedway and if so, what do you like about it?

SF: "I do enjoy racing at Iowa and I've had a lot of fun, fun races there. I love the fact that it's normally two to three lanes. Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to be the case this year, but we're gonna have our fingers crossed for the highline practice so we can make sure we have a two-lane racetrack."


Do you like having the concerts there? Will you attend any of them?

SF: "I'm hoping I get to go see some of the concerts I would really enjoy that. I think it's cool that Hy-Vee does that, it helps to bring fans to the racetrack and helps bring new fans as well. People that are coming that want to see the concerts and also are maybe wanting to learn about IndyCar racing and see what that's about as well.


Ferrucci Fast Facts: Age 26 (as of May 31, 2024)...Born in Woodbury, CT...Lives in Dallas, Texas...Married Renay Moore in January, 2024...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 career-best finish to date with his 3rd place finish in the 2023 Indianapolis 500 to continue his string of consecutive top-10 finishes in the 500...Competed part-time in NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021-22.


STING RAY ROBB: No. 41 / Chevrolet


What did you learn from the Iowa hybrid test that you can apply to this weekend?

SRR: "Not so much about the hybrid but rather about the setup changes based on the grip level change. The repave completely changed the track. The increase in grip means less tire wear and more fatigue for the drivers. There will need be different demands on the car than we initially thought too. Making a "quali" [qualifying] car and a car to last the race will be interesting."


How difficult will it be on you physically to run two races so close together on this high-banked short oval? What will be key to your recovery time?

SRR: "Incredibly difficult. I expect this to be the most physical weekend of the year. This is due to the temperatures at the track, plus the increase in grip over past years here. Good sleep, lots of food, and lots of hydration I think will be some key points for the weekend."


After running the hybrid at Mid-Ohio, how has it prepared you for using it at Iowa Speedway? Or will it be a totally new experience since it is an oval, not a road course?

SRR: "Very, very different applications of the hybrid. The oval is almost flat out so a lot of the regen will be manual based rather than auto-regen like we had at Mid-Ohio. "

As a rookie, Iowa was a tough deal for you last year…what did you learn from competing there that will help you run more competitively this year?

SRR: "There was a lot to forget about the race here last year. However, I think it could be a fun race with a good car where we are competitive. I know the race can be won and lost on pitlane on such a short oval like Iowa, so those will be one of the main focuses through the weekend to nail down. "


What do you enjoy about racing at Iowa Speedway?

SRR: "The Concerts are a lot of fun! It is a unique experience to have that at the track with us. I probably won't be able to visit them for too long but if I can sneak over for few minutes to catch a song, that would be great. The track itself is challenging and very fatiguing which I think is fun to feel the capabilities of an Indy car on."


Sting Ray Fast Facts: Age 22...Grew up in Payette, ID....Lives in Indianapolis...Engaged to Molly Mitchell...Began racing karts at age 5 winning several national titles over the next 10 years. His transition to cars began at the Skip Barber Karts to Cars Shootout where he won the Bryan Herta Scholarship which put him on the Road to Indy and into the NTT INDYCAR Series at age 21. In his rookie season, he scored a career best finish of 12th in the season finale in Monterey, Calif. A devout Christian, Robb will be active as a spokesman for his sponsor this season. Off track, Robb enjoys mountain biking, skiing, hiking, hunting, fishing, rock-climbing, golf, tennis, pickleball and basketball.


Sting Ray Robb and his No. 41 Pit Crew will participate in the $50,000 Pit Stop Challenge at Iowa Speedway on Friday evening. This is the first pit crew challenge that the team has competed in this year. Their teammates on the No. 14 Chevy won the Pit Stop Challenge at Long Beach (Calif.) in April. The event will be live-streamed on starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.


The Hy-Vee Homefront 250 presented by Instacart airs 8 p.m. ET Saturday, July 13 on NBC and the Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade, will be broadcast at noon ET Sunday, July 14 on NBC. All NTT INDYCAR Series practice sessions, qualifying and the races will stream live on Peacock. The IndyCar Radio Network will broadcast all practices, qualifying sessions and the races on network affiliates, SiriusXM 218, and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.


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