Santino Ferrucci wants an opportunity to run for a championship.
The 22-year-old Connecticut native will strap into the cockpit of the No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda and start 23rd for this Sunday’s 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. However, there’s a bit of an unknown with regard to what’s next, but he admitted a desire to be part of a three-pronged effort alongside Graham Rahal and two-time and defending Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato.
“I keep telling Bobby (Rahal, RLL team co-owner), ‘Put me in the car full time and let’s go.’” Ferrucci said. “But, obviously there’s a lot of moving parts to it. Their team’s expanding, which is incredible news. They’ve started work on their new building. They broke ground the other week, so they’re here to stay and I’m hoping that I can prove to these guys that I’m a valuable asset to the team because I’d like to come back full-time, especially with Takuma and Graham as teammates. It’d be pretty awesome to have all three of us.”
From 2018-20, Ferrucci drove for Dale Coyne Racing (with Vasser-Sullivan in ‘20), spending the last two of those seasons as a full-time competitor in IndyCar. A veteran of 35 IndyCar starts, he has finished a career-best fourth on four occasions, including last year’s Indy 500.
With no other IndyCar races on his schedule for 2021, Ferrucci looked to NASCAR and has run a partial schedule in the Xfinity Series with Sam Hunt Racing. In four appearances, he has three top-15 finishes, including a best result of 13th at Las Vegas. While he’s aiming to run four more races in Xfinity this year, the only two currently confirmed are trips to Darlington and Pocono.
“I’d love to be doing both (IndyCar and Xfinity) full-time, but that’s just not realistic and I’m hoping to run some more Xfinity races,” Ferruci said. “I’d love to have a couple of options at the end of this season to say, ‘Hey, I’d like to do this or I’d like to do that,’ and to be honest, make it more my choice than anybody else’s. I think it’s important that you do what you love. You know, I do miss IndyCar. I do miss being in this paddock and yeah, this race is special. But I have had a ton of fun in Xfinity.
“If I can be in a Rahal car full-time next year, a chance to truly win a championship with Graham, I’d love to do that. I’m also kind of torn, because (if) I can get into a full (Joe) Gibbs car next year for Xfinity and run the championship, it’s a lot more racing, too. I don’t know, (I’m) kind of split. But I think no matter which way I go, you’ll see me in both series regardless. I don’t think I’m going to give one completely up for the other, if that makes sense. I think you’ll continue to see me do both.”