Monday, March 27, 2023

Santino Ferrucci Replaces Injured Callum Ilott for Detroit GP

Santino Ferrucci replaces injured Callum Ilott for Detroit Grand Prix.
Ricardo Juncos (left) will lean on Santino Ferrucci (right) for this weekend’s Detroit Grand Prix. Image courtesy of Juncos Hollinger Racing

Santino Ferrucci will step in to substitute for Callum Ilott in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet for this weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle.

Ilott sustained an injury to his hand after suffering a hard crash in Turn 2 at last Sunday’s 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500, which has lingered to the point of not being cleared to drive by the IndyCar Medical Team. The 23-year-old Briton will have another evaluation next week, with aspirations of returning for the NTT IndyCar Series round at Road America.

“Obviously I am devastated not to be racing this weekend in Detroit,” Ilott said. “After speaking with the doctors and specialists here in Indy the damage to my hand was slightly worse than when first looked at. They suggested that the long-term healing was the top priority and any damage that could be done in the short term by racing would be a longer-term problem. So, after learning this I agreed with the medical team’s decision that I would not be cleared and would spend more time healing. Although I would have loved to be racing, I wanted to preserve myself and focus on my health.

“I spoke with (team co-owners) Ricardo (Juncos) and Brad (Hollinger) and we came to a same conclusion for the benefit of the team. I will be with the team this weekend and supporting Santino and providing any guidance I can. I am sorry that I won’t be in the car this weekend but know this is the right decision.”

Juncos, who also serves as Team Principal of JHR, added, “This is a very difficult scenario for Ilott and JHR. Together we are looking at the long-term view, so keeping Ilott out of the car to take the necessary time to heal was most important, so we support the IndyCar’s evaluation. Callum has already proven to be a strong contender this year and we want to keep building on that, so we all agree this is the best decision for this weekend.”

Ferrucci has raced in both a full-time and part-time capacity in IndyCar since 2018, which includes a pair of races through the opening six rounds of 2022. The 24-year-old Connecticut native most recently competed in Sunday’s Indy 500, where he collected a 10th-place finish for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Additionally, he was called in for another substitute role earlier in the season after Jack Harvey wasn’t cleared to drive following a crash in final practice at Texas, where he drove the No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda to a ninth-place finish in the race despite starting last (27th).

“Although I am happy to be back in the car, it’s unfortunate for Callum under the circumstances,” Ferrucci said. “I hope his hand heals really quickly and he is back on track soon. I’m just here to help with the team and see if we can get them a really good result and bring in some different knowledge from my experience in Detroit. I am looking forward to having some fun and carrying the momentum I have from Indy. I can’t thank the guys over at Juncos Hollinger enough with in trusting me this weekend and hopefully it goes really smoothly.”

Hollinger added, “This is a tough moment for all of us here at JHR, but we are all confident this is what’s best for the health and healing of Callum. The support Callum has for this team and the support we all have for Callum, shows the unity of everyone at JHR. We are all here to fully support Santino this weekend and thank him for stepping in on such short notice.”

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