Santino Ferrucci has made it pretty clear that his favorite race tracks to run on are street courses. Well, after gaining a ton of momentum during the Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past month, Ferrucci returns to not just the site of his NTT IndyCar Series debut, but one of his favorite types of circuits as well.
Last June, Ferrucci made his first Indy Car starts on the streets of Belle Isle. He didn’t know it then, but he’d return a year later as a full time entrant in the series. Now, Ferrucci is hoping to keep this new found momentum going in his return to Detroit.
The Connecticut native currently leads all Rookies in the series as he sits in the top 10 of the points standings. That comes after finishing 10th and seventh respectively in the INDYCAR Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 in May. The latter finish got him the distinction of Rookie of the Year for the ‘500.
Heading into 2019, Ferrucci had never raced on an oval before and here he is finishing seventh in the Indy 500 in his first oval start. Now, it’s back to Belle Isle in a race he’s feeling confident in.
“After picking up my best career finish in the NTT IndyCar Series as a rookie at the Indianapolis 500 last weekend, I can’t wait to head to Detroit this weekend, to a track that I’ve actually raced at before, where I made my series debut last year,” said Ferrucci. “We’re carrying momentum from our last two races and we were fast in Detroit last year, so I don’t see why we can’t continue our top-10 progress. I’m really looking forward to the doubleheader weekend.”
In the season opener this year on the streets of St. Pete, Ferrucci brought his No. 19 Honda home ninth. That plus the two top 10’s at Indy give him three top 10 results in six tries in 2019.
Can he get another in at least one of the two races this weekend in Belle Isle?
Well, he and another fellow rookie are heading in two completely opposite directions heading into this weekend. Early on in the year, it looked like Colton Herta would be the one to beat for Rookie of the Year this season. He finished eighth in the season opener at St. Pete and backed that up with becoming the youngest winner in Indy Car history in the second race at COTA. That put him second in the series standings after just his third career Indy Car start. Fast forward to four races later. He’s fallen from second to 16th.
Herta, has had bad luck. His engine went sour early on at Barber as he finished 24th. In Long Beach, he made a mistake and finished 23rd after crashing. In the INDYCAR Grand Prix, he crashed again on an early race restart and finished 23rd for a second straight race. For the Indy 500, he had a gear box problem and finished last in 33rd.
24th, 23rd, 23rd and 33rd respectively are his results since his March 24 win. He’s only completed 20 laps since the start of May in race conditions (15 in the GP, 5 in the ‘500).
That’s how you fall 14 spots in the standings.
It’s not like Herta hasn’t been fast either. He’s started in the top 11 in literally every race run. He qualified fourth for the GP and fifth for the ‘500. He’s just running into bad luck. Can that change this weekend?