A.J. Foyt Racing’s newly expanded three-car operation is close to having its engineering and driver roster finalized. The team that splits its NTT IndyCar Series operation between Texas and Indiana will field two rookies in reigning Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood and open-wheel veteran Tatiana Calderon in the Nos. 14 and 11 Chevys. Third-year Foyt driver Dalton Kellett returns in the No. 4 Chevy.
“We’re close — buttoning up some of the final pieces like who’s going to drive the ovals since Tatiana is just doing the road and street courses,” team president Larry Foyt told RACER. “We haven’t locked it down yet. And engineering-wise, I think we’re really close to same thing, just trying to put all the pieces exactly where they’re going to go.”
RACER understands the oval opportunities in the No. 11 Chevy at Texas, Indianapolis, Iowa and World Wide Technology Raceway are likely to be filled by J.R. Hildebrand, who debuted with the team last year at the Indy 500 where he was Foyt’s top finisher in 15th place.
On the engineering front, Mike Colliver is expected to stay with the team and look after Kirkwood; the two worked together at a recent test in Sebring and found great chemistry and speed. Mike Pawlowski will continue with Kellett.
“We’re 95 percent on Colliver staying on the 14 car, which would be great,” Foyt added. “We’re just finishing that up now. And our other ‘Mike’ will stay with Dalton.”
The team’s most urgent need is to find an engineer for the No. 11 Chevy as Calderon prepares for her first season of IndyCar racing. Most teams will make one final test outing next week at Sebring before they head to St. Petersburg for the season opener on February 25-27.
“We’re looking for someone she’s comfortable with and we’ve got a couple candidates that we’re looking at,” Foyt said. “So hopefully we’ll have that buttoned up here and have someone at the Sebring test.”