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Santino Ferrucci Scores Top 10 Following Short Notice at Texas

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing had one bright point on a rough weekend in Texas (Photo: Luis Torres | TPF).

FORT WORTH, Texas – It’s no secret Santino Ferrucci loves oval racing.

Following Sunday’s XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway, that love is at an all-time high following a ninth-place finish that capped off a series of events leading him to compete in the first place.

On Saturday, Ferrucci visited the INDYCAR paddock with only the 106th Indianapolis 500 on his radar. That all changed when Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Jack Harvey crashed in final practice, putting him on the sidelines.

It wasn’t until 9:00 am local time when Ferrucci got the nod of running the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda. He was aware there was a possibility he’d race Sunday. So, he brought in his racing gear and at first felt that Harvey was OK until INDYCAR wouldn’t clear him to race.

Not only Ferrucci was seen sporting Harvey’s firesuit, his seat came from the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing camp, the team he’ll run for at Indy.

Ferrucci’s crew taking the No. 45 Honda out of the paddock (Photo: Luis Torres | TPF).

With such short notice and six laps of practice over an hour before the race, Ferrucci was amazed how his day ended up after starting 27th. All of that is a credit to the team on what was otherwise a miserable weekend where there was nothing to smile about, except Ferrucci’s effort.

“The six laps were to make sure the car didn’t have any leaks. They were install laps and you can’t push in a seat that’s not yours,” said Ferrucci.

“We just put the seat in and known this track, raced it twice. I had to go and take it easy. Just don’t go a lap down and just go drive. Be yourself. That’s what we did and was nice to come home with a top-10.

“Struggled a little bit with the car at the end there. I don’t think we had the ultimate pace and was horrible coming into the box because I had zero practice. But it’s a trade off. The team did a fantastic job and I can’t thank them enough.”

Ferrucci chatting with Jimmie Johnson after the race (Photo: Luis Torres | TPF).

Prior to Sunday, his prior two Texas starts were under the lights. The 248-lap race commenced before Noon local time, so it was the first time he ran under day conditions. Unsurprisingly, Ferrucci was worn out after the race.

“I wasn’t expecting to be in race conditions today. I’ve been doing some off-season training but just wasn’t at all mentally or physically ready to be doing this. Especially, at Texas.”

Throughout the day, Ferrucci was content following his teammate Graham Rahal as Sunday marked his first INDYCAR race since the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville last summer. It’s also his first major race since the Chili Bowl in January. Therefore, it’s safe to say his performance was astronomical.

“No practice, no testing and no sim. Just jump in on race day and we were able to go up from last into the top-10,” said Ferrucci. “I feel like I did a good job for the team. They did a fantastic job with the equipment they gave me and I think we worked really well together.”

Similar colors Ferrucci has had, but not on such short notice (Photo: Luis Torres | TPF).

With a race under his belt before the Month of May, Ferrucci felt that he still belongs in the sport.

“I think if given the opportunity to run full time, I would be back here,” said Ferrucci. “I think it shows that all the races for Rahal, I’ve finished all but one in the top-10 where I’ve finished 11th. It shows that we’ve been consistent.”

Aside from Indy with DRR, he’ll have a handful of NASCAR races. For now, it’s all aboard the open wheel train.

As evident from his stellar result on Sunday, Ferrucci’s confidence level is positive as he hopes to have a strong month in the No. 23 Chevrolet.

“We’re going to take it nice and easy. I’m looking forward to any open test and get the kinks and bugs out of the car. I’m a racer. I’m an oval racer. I think everybody knows that, especially right now,” Ferrucci commented.

“I think Indy will be good. I think Dryer & Reinbold got a fast car and I’m liking the performance of the Chevys. Even though I was driving for Honda today. So, I feel pretty good about it. Indy is a completely different beast. It’s all about keeping our head screwed on straight and not going off target.”

Throughout my young motorsports media career, my number-one goal is to be a personnel that can be flexible with my writing and photography in the world of NASCAR and INDYCAR. Content delivery is vital because this is my main passion and what keeps me going. On the side, I also do sports production ranging from Seattle Kraken hockey to the 2023 NCAA Women's March Madness. All for the love of the game. With four National Motorsports Press Association photography awards, I'm not slowing down anytime soon. Outside of media, I'm super vocal about my musical tastes that goes from Metallica to HAIM. At times, there might be some Paul Thomas Anderson and Southern California references in my social media.

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