NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Santino Ferrucci will replace rookie Callum Ilott as the driver for Juncos Hollinger Racing this weekend at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear after Ilott was not cleared to return to racing due to the hand injury he suffered in the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Ferrucci, from Woodbury, Connecticut, will drive the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet in the street race Sunday, June 5 at The Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit. Ilott will be re-evaluated next week by INDYCAR medical officials for a possible return to the cockpit.
“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 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.”
Ilott, from England, recorded his first career top-10 finish in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES by placing eighth in the GMR Grand Prix on May 14 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. That was the best-ever NTT INDYCAR SERIES result for Juncos Hollinger Racing.
“This is a very difficult scenario for Ilott and JHR,” JHR Co-Owner and Team Principal Ricardo Juncos said. “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 made 42 career starts since his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut in 2018. He has finished in the top 10 in both of his starts this season, both on ovals, with a ninth at Texas Motor Speedway with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in a substitute role and 10th in the Indy 500 last Sunday with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
“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.”
Said Juncos: “We want to thank Santino Ferrucci for graciously stepping in to help us out in the No. 77 Chevrolet at Detroit. To have a driver of high caliber like Santino will be a great assist to our team. We will provide any support necessary to Santino this weekend as we get him settled in the car.”
Ferrucci finished sixth and 10th last year in the doubleheader at Detroit while driving a part-time schedule with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.