By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
There’s a new leading driver for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan and that man is the always fierce Santino Ferrucci.
Last year’s Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year will take over the vacant No. 18 SealMaster Honda, previously driven by Sebastien Bourdais, who was released from the team last November. The four-time Indy car champion will shift his focus in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Ferrucci will be entering his second full season in the NTT IndyCar Series and will be teammates with rookie Alex Palou, who will take over Ferrucci’s No. 19 Honda this season.
“I’m extremely honored that Dale, Jimmy, and Sulli have put their faith in me to carry this program forward,” Ferrucci on staying with Coyne’s team. “The SealMaster car has had a lot of success in the past two seasons. I’m eager to move into the No.18 car and get spring training started. I also want to say a big thank you to SealMaster for believing in me, and I’m beyond excited to represent them on the biggest stage.”
Dale Coyne commented that after a stellar rookie season that saw him finish 13th in points and shine bright on the ovals (scoring the fourth most points on ovals with 170), things should continue going up as the lead driver.
“We’re very happy to have Santino back with us for the 2020 season,” Coyne said. “He had a very good rookie season and he was absolutely stellar on the ovals. We look forward to him building on that this year. I think he surprised a lot of people in 2019 and he has the potential to do even better in his sophomore year as he now moves to the No. 18 car.”
Team co-owner James “Sulli” Sullivan commented by keeping Ferrucci, they’ll be able to adapt into the sport’s shift that is the youth movement. This is due in most part of last year’s rookie class exceeding expectations and even competing for race wins on a frequent basis.
“What a big moment for DCVS and the program as we begin our next chapter,” Sullivan said. “This new crop of young fast IndyCar racers is no joke, and we’re energized to have Ferrucci leading our charge in the SealMaster machine. I expect you’ll see some big moments from us in 2020.”
In 21 INDYCAR starts, the 21-year-old has a career-best finish of fourth on three different occasions, all on ovals (Texas, Pocono and Gateway).
Heading into the season opener at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Ferrucci’s lone start at the Florida street circuit saw him clawing his way from the 23rd starting grid to a superb ninth-place finish.