By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
INDIANAPOLIS – INDYCAR confirmed Friday morning that Santino Ferrucci is allowed drive the No. 45 Hy-Vee/Mountain Dew Honda. This comes a day after having a massive shunt in Turn 2 during Thursday’s practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Ferrucci was checked and released from Methodist Hospital last evening where he remained in good spirits. He checked up with his NASCAR Xfinity Series team (Sam Hunt Racing) and current Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing INDYCAR crew shortly after his release.
“I just made a mistake following Takuma (Sato). I’m feeling good,” said Ferrucci Friday morning. “We went to Southern Methodist. I’m very happy the safety of the INDYCARs. It’s come such a long way so fast. And they just performed a CAT scan, make sure everything is good with my leg, and they cleared me to drive this morning. Be looking forward to getting back in the car.”
All three RLL Racing crews spent countless hours repairing the damaged machine. From that point, the young driver was ready to hit the track for Fast Friday and put Thursday behind him.
“It’s one of those things where I think a lot of drivers that crash around here on their own don’t know why it happened and they don’t want to admit to why it happened,” Ferrucci commented.
“I’m pretty confident I know what I did wrong, and I know how to fix it. Obviously getting back in the car today, we’re going to go out in race trim with all the downforce on the car and we’re going to go run around, and we’re just going to peel it back off again.”
Ferrucci explained Friday morning that he was working on race trim. His car began to feel real tight in Turns 3-4, creating a lot of understeer before his Honda became neutral. Following that shift, he continued trying to follow and getting runs from Sato out of Turn 2.
“I guess he sees the car moving more than I feel it, but it’s like that in the race car. It moves when you’re behind it,” said Ferrucci. “Even looking at other cars and watching (Tony Kanaan) in front of me before I passed him, you could see his car was moving. With the temperatures on the rise, it’s not uncommon. I do like a loose race car, and I think yesterday was definitely over the razor thin edge of this place.”
Team owner Bobby Rahal stated Ferrucci will have a car ready for the six-hour practice session. What certainly helped the No. 45 team’s case is that the tub, gearbox and engine were okay. Even if the left side took significant damage, but had a rear clip ready.
This process, according to Rahal, lasted well into the night with some even pulling an all-nighter. In lamest terms, they were beyond ready for the long task at hand.
“The other two teams jumped in to help the guys in the 45 car, and it was a late night, though. A lot of them were — some went home around midnight, some by 1:30, some 2:30. I think there were some people still here at 5:00 a.m. today,” Rahal commented.
“I’m thinking around 2:00, maybe earlier, but I think probably 2:00 is a good time to gauge things by. So pretty amazing really, because again, it happened late in the afternoon, too. It’s not like it happened at 10:00 in the morning.
“Great recovery. A great team effort getting the car done, and more than anything I’m pleased that Santino is okay. Certainly I’m sure he’s sorer than he’s letting on, but to see him walking around, that’s a good sight.”
Ferrucci certainly feels confident about regaining lost and get some laps in what should be an exciting session ahead.
“By the end of the day, I have absolutely zero doubts that we’ll be back up at full speed with Graham (Rahal) and Takuma. The guys worked all night long. They’re going to work all morning. They’re going to work all night tonight getting the car where it should be for Saturday,” said Ferrucci.”
“I have zero doubts in this team. It’s an incredibly professional organization, the Hy-Vee crew, and it’s really nice to have the help of the 15 and the 30 crew. To see everybody come together and make it work, that puts a lot of confidence back in me knowing everything is back together correct the way it should be, the way it was.”