Salinas, CA (September 22, 2019) – Dale Coyne Racing driver Santino Ferrucci’s rookie NTT IndyCar Series season didn’t end the way he would have hoped when an incident on Lap 49 put an early end to his Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey and his hopes of taking home the Rookie of the Year title.
After a near perfect season in which the rookie picked up 351 points and seven top 10 finishes, the driver of the #19 Cly-Del Manufacturing car made a rare mistake on a Lap 49 restart that consequently ended his race.
“We were having a good race but then on the restart I forgot to put the brake bias back to the rear, and going into Turn 1 I locked the fronts. I knew I was going to hit (Takuma) Sato, so I just tried to hit him square to do the minimal amount of damage, but sadly I ended up with most of it. I’m sorry to him and his team for messing up their race. It was my mistake,” explained Ferrucci. “Looking back, I feel pretty good about our season as a whole. I feel it went exceptionally well. It’s just unfortunate because I think today is the only mistake I made all year. It’s not the way I wanted to end the season but overall we’ve had a great year and I think we can be proud of that.”
Earlier on in the race, Ferrucci had jumped to ninth at the start from 12th while running on the alternate Firestone tires and ran his entire first stint in the Top 10. Following his first pit stop on Lap 14, the rookie struggled with the regular Firestone tires but still continued to run in the top 10. Ferrucci would then stop again on Lap 35 for a set of alternate tires and was running 12th when the incident happened.
With today’s 24th place finish, Ferrucci ends the season third in the Rookie of the Year Championship and 13th overall. He has a career best finish of fourth (Texas, Pocono and Gateway) and a best starting position of sixth (Gateway). He also picked up the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors thanks to a seventh-place finish in what was his first ever oval race.
“Santino had a fantastic year. He showed he deserves to be in this Series and how competitive he can be on the ovals. He finished fourth in the oval only standings, which is a tremendous accomplishment, especially for someone that had never raced on an oval before this year. We’re happy with the job he did all year and he should also be proud of what he’s accomplished this season,” shared Team Owner Dale Coyne.
The Dale Coyne Racing team will now enjoy a bit of time off before getting back to work as they prepare for the upcoming NTT IndyCar Series. The team will announce its 2020 plans in the near future.