2023 INDYCAR Preview: A.J. Foyt Racing

By: Spencer Neff
February 22, 2023

Following an offseason that saw many notable changes within the organization, A.J. Foyt Racing heads into the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season with a new look.

In 2022, the team, which has a car based in both Houston (No.14) and Indianapolis (now No. 55), expanded to add a third full-time car to the fold.

Joining third-year driver Dalton Kellett and rookie Kyle Kirkwood, rookie Tatiana Calderón (road and street courses) would be paired with 2011 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and runner-up JR Hildebrand (ovals) in the No. 11.

Team President Larry Foyt debriefs with Tatiana Calderón on April 9 during the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

At the first race, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Kirkwood made it past Round 1 of qualifying and started 12th in his debut.

Street courses would continue to be a bright spot for the organization. Four of their last six Top 10 finishes by their drivers have been on temporary circuits. In April, Kirkwood notched a 10th place-effort in Long Beach, the best of his rookie season.

In March, both Kirkwood (5) and Hildebrand (1) would lead during the 248-lap XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway. It would be one of two races a Foyt car led a lap and the only one in which multiple entries did so. Kellett also earned his best finish of 17th on that day.

During the May 14 GMR Grand Prix, Calderón led her first INDYCAR lap and posted her best finish (15th).

Hildebrand would make his final start of 2022 at the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge finishing 12th after starting 17th.

(from left to right) Kyle Kirkwood joins Car Owner A.J. Foyt, along with teammates Dalton Kellett and JR Hildebrand on May 18 at the Foyt Wine Vault in Speedway, Indiana. Foyt was presented with a “Baby Borg” commemorating his 1961 Indianapolis 500 victory (first of a record four) Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR

After the July 3 event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the No. 11 did not return and Calderon ended her abbreviated rookie campaign.

From that point, only Kirkwood was able to log a Top 15 finish, doing so at Iowa Race 1 (15th-his best oval finish) and Portland (13th).

Team President Larry Foyt has left open the possibility for Kellett’s return should circumstances materialize. At this point, it is expected that Kellet’s addition would be on a part-time or “500”-only role.

Once the season concluded, Kirkwood moved on to Andretti Autosport and Kellett announced he would not be continuing with the team for 2023.

Santino Ferrucci

After spending parts of 2021 and 2022 between NASCAR’s Xfinity Series and the NTT INDYCAR Series, 2019 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Santino Ferrucci returns for a full-time role, driving the No. 14 with A.J. Foyt Racing.

In three starts during the 2022 season, the Woodbury, Connecticut native earned a best finish of ninth, doing so at Texas Motor Speedway in a last-minute substitute role for an injured Jack Harvey.

Ferrucci will look to extend his streak of Top 10 finishes at the Indianapolis 500. Driving the No. 23 for Dreyer and Renbold, Ferrucci started a career-best 15th and finished 10th, the fourth Top 10 in as many “500” starts.

Ferrucci during a February 15 test at Sebring (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

“It’s going to be a very unique opportunity to work with both A.J. and Larry closely to build a new program,” Ferrucci said in the October 6 announcement of his addition.

“To race for a legend like A.J. Foyt — it’s a dream come true. I like to think of myself as an “old school” driver who likes loose race cars and gets behind the wheel of anything with four wheels and an engine. So driving for a guy like A.J., knowing that he drove everything throughout his career, it’s going to be a chance of a lifetime for me.”

Now living in Dallas, Ferrucci made a positive impression on the Foyt team and Family leading up to his arrival.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in the announcement.

“He’s shown a knack for getting towards the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Benjamin Pedersen

IPedersen on track at Sebring on February 15 (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Pedersen was the first driver eligible for Rookie of the Year honors. The Copenhagen-born American driver was added to A.J. Foyt Racing on September 30.

The driver of the No. 55 Dallara-Chevrolet entry earned his first Indy Lights (now INDY NXT By Firestone) pole and victory at Portland International Raceway in September.

After notching 10 additional podium finishes during his 34 races across two seasons, Pedersen now makes his way to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

Header Image: Ferrucci and Pedersen during testing at Sebring International Raceway on February 15 (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

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