Six IndyCar drivers join or return to SRX for 2022

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Credit: Superstar Racing Experience

When the Superstar Racing Experience conducted its inaugural season in 2021, Marco Andretti, Hélio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, and Paul Tracy were NTT IndyCar Series drivers who took part. For 2022, the quartet will return—albeit with different schedules—and will be joined by Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The group was reported by the Associated Press on Wednesday with confirmation from SRX CEO Don Hawk.

Andretti and Tracy will once again run all six races. The former won at Slinger Speedway en route to a fourth-place points finish, while Tracy was seventh with a best race finish of fifth at Eldora and the Nashville Fairgrounds.

Kanaan will enter all but one round, with the exception not being specified. In 2021, he shared his car with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan, and the duo combined to finish sixth in the standings with Deegan holding the best run of second at Knoxville; Kanaan’s highest finish was seventh at Stafford and Eldora. Castroneves, the defending Indianapolis 500 winner, was fifth in points with a podium at Eldora and will be at three dates in 2022.

Newgarden, a two-time IndyCar champion, will run the 9 July race at the Nashville Fairgrounds; he was born and raised in Nashville, making the track a natural pick. Set to enter his eleventh season of IndyCar competition and sixth with Team Penske, Newgarden is one of the top drivers in the series with twenty career wins and is coming off back-to-back runner-up championship finishes. With the exception of a fifth-place finish in 2018, he has never ranked lower than second in the standings since joining Penske in 2017.

Hunter-Reay lost his ride at Andretti Autosport after eleven seasons, a stretch that saw him win the 2012 championship. In fifteen years of IndyCar competition, he scored sixteen wins. However, his performance—and luck—declined since his most recent win at Sonoma in 2018, which included a difficult 2021 campaign as he finished a career worst seventeenth in points with no podiums. He was replaced by Romain Grosjean for 2022 and instead moved into sports cars with Chip Ganassi Racing. His SRX schedule was not revealed, though not having an IndyCar seat means he will have time to run the entire season unless other obligations come up.

“I see a huge value in signing IndyCar drivers, past and present,” Hawk told the AP. “They’re a complement to SRX as they bring superstar talent and passions to fans of all kinds of racing.”

Hawk also revealed the series hopes to get Robert Wickens into a race. Wickens, who was paralysed after suffering major spinal injuries in an IndyCar crash in 2018, made his racing return in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Daytona in January, where he scored a podium finish in a car set up with hand controls.

SRX founder Tony Stewart won the 1997 IndyCar championship. Ernie Francis Jr., whose part-time entry was also confirmed on Wednesday, is set for his first season in Indy Lights.

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Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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