INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 12, 2023)–The Gallagher Grand Prix turned into another missed opportunity for A.J. Foyt’s team as technical errors and a pit stop miscue put the team on its back foot.
The problems began with Benjamin Pedersen’s No. 55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet which failed to start when the command “Drivers, start your engines” was given on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon at the IMS road course.
As the team tried to figure out where the electrical glitch was, the field rolled off and took the green flag two laps later. By the time Pedersen’s car was sorted, he had lost four laps. It was a tough position to be in, especially because the race was only slowed by one caution period which came in the opening lap of the 85-lapper.
Once the No. 55 got going, Pedersen turned decent lap times.
Rookie Marcus Armstrong spun on the first lap after being tagged by his teammate Alex Palou. Romain Grosjean and Josef Newgarden were collected in the Turn 7 melee. The third Ganassi car, driven by Scott Dixon, spun to avoid the carnage and was able to keep going. Grojean and Newgarden continued to race but Newgarden went a lap down after being given a drive-through penalty for taking service in a closed pit.
Being four laps down, Pedersen did his best to use the race for the “seat time” but he was clearly disappointed. He finished 26th.
Race engineer Roberto Garcia (left) chats with his driver Benjamin Pedersen and his father Christian Pedersen.
“Tricky weekend for the team to be honest — with both cars. Couldn’t get the car in the right window to perform as we wanted to unfortunately. For the race today we started four laps down with a technical issue. Not to reminisce on the last GP we had here, but it was the exact same situation, just slightly different. Tricky day because of that technical issue because we had to start a couple laps down before the race even started and tried to do everything we could to get some kind of recovery, but unfortunately that issue prevented us from doing that.”
The crew works to extricate the tire hose from the right front wheel following a pit stop.
Santino’s saga was a bit different. He managed to skate through the multi-car accident with minor damage. On his first pit stop on lap 15, a miscommunication resulted in his running over the front tire hose which incurred a stop and go penalty which meant a second pit stop under green. He went a lap down and without another caution period to aid in getting a lap back, he remained a lap down for the race. He finished 23rd.
Ferrucci enjoys an ice cold water as team strategist Larry Foyt (center) and race engineer Daniele Cucchiaroni discuss the race.
“Just another very interesting weekend and unfortunate incident unfortunately,” Ferrucci said. “Just missing another top 15. We’re obviously making improvements on the car and we’re getting a little bit better here and there. But we just need to have a weekend where we actually put it together and I think we’ll be okay. “It’s just unfortunate because we really need the points so we can get it into the Leaders Circle. So, move on to the next race and see what we can do.”
Scott Dixon recovered from his first lap spin and used a two-stop fuel strategy successfully to win the race, making it the 19th consecutive year that he has won at least one race a season. Pole winner Graham Rahal finished second. Rounding out the top five were Pato O’Ward, Christian Lundgaard and Alexander Rossi.
In two weeks the NTT INDYCAR Series returns to St. Louis for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway. The race will be broadcast by NBC on Sunday, Aug. 27th starting at 3:30 p.m. ET.