ST. PETERSBURG, Fla – In just his fifth career NTT IndyCar Series start, Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferrucci is already finishing in the top 10. See, last May, Ferrucci was on hand at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to announce a deal to race in the doubleheader at Detroit in June. He’d show up fast but finish 22th and 20th respectively.
At that point, the American never dreamed of making this his career. See, he headed back overseas as he was a HaasF1 development driver. The goal for him was F1. But, due to a mistake in a lapse of judgement, he was suspended then later released from his ride overseas.
That taste of IndyCar last summer led him to wanting more. He came back home in search of another opportunity. DCR hired him to drive their third car in the final two races of the 2018 season. He’d improve in both. He finished 20th in Portland then 11th in the finale at Sonoma.
In the offseason, he signed on for a full season with DCR in their No. 19 Honda. Without ever seeing St. Pete before, Ferrucci showed up on Friday with his first laps on the circuit. By Sunday evening, he was heading home with a top 10 finish.
He did so after starting from the last row too.
Ferrucci, came into Turn 13 too hot in qualifying. His tires weren’t warmed up yet. That forced him off track and into the tire barriers. He had a tall task ahead of him on Sunday. In sunny and hot conditions and only two caution flags flying for 11 laps, Ferrucci couldn’t use much strategy to get to the front. The only way he could was to save fuel.
He did a good job of that as he brought his car home in one piece and in ninth place.
“We found something in morning warmup that was unexpected and we made it work in the race,” said Ferrucci. “Our engineer, Michael Cannon, called a brilliant strategy and I had to do a lot of fuel saving, to say the least. We kept it clean and in the top 10 and that was the goal. I’m really happy with today’s result, especially considering where we started.”
Ferrucci, now heads to familiar territory next. The race at COTA is a place he’s tested before. If his finishes keep improving, he’ll be knocking on the door of a top five in two weeks from today.