Ferrucci on standby for Penske IndyCar team if Newgarden isn’t cleared

Penske has announced that Santino Ferrucci will be on standby for Josef Newgarden at the Indianapolis IndyCar round should he not be cleared following his Iowa crash.

Santino Ferrucci, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet

Following his heavy shunt while leading the second race at Iowa, and later brief loss of consciousness, Newgarden was taken to MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center, where he stayed overnight.

The 2017 and 2019 champion was released this morning to return home to Nashville.

However, per IndyCar Series protocols, Newgarden will be re-evaluated by the IndyCar Medical Team on Thursday to determine his status for the Gallagher Grand Prix on the IMS road course.

Should Newgarden not be cleared to race, Ferrucci will take the wheel of the #2 PPG Team Penske-Chevrolet.

Ferrucci has amassed 43 IndyCar starts with four of these occurring at the IMS road course where he has emerged with two top 10 finishes.

His career best IndyCar finish is fourth, and his best result on a road/street course is sixth, racing for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda.

 Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet,  crash

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, crash

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Should Penske have to utilise Ferrucci, it will mean the 24-year-old from Woodbury, CT, will have competed for four teams this year.

He subbed for Jack Harvey at Rahal Letterman Lanigan in Texas Motor Speedway after the Briton’s heavy shunt in practice, and finished a superb ninth after starting from the back of the grid.

He then raced for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing at the Indy 500, alongside Sage Karam as the local team expanded to two cars, and Ferrucci delivered a 10th place finish.

He then also stood in for Callum Ilott at Detroit, after the rookie injured his hand in a crash at the 500.

A failure to start this weekend would severely damage Josef Newgarden’s championship chances.

Despite winning four races this year (no one else has scored more than two), he lies third in the points, 34 behind Chip Ganassi Racing’s Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, but only 10 points ahead of sixth placed Alex Palou (also Ganassi), with whom he fought in vain for the 2021 title.

So a DNS would mean Newgarden would likely slip to sixth in the points race, and would then have just four more rounds in which to overhaul five drivers.

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