Paddock-wide mobilization brings Indy's 33rd entry to life

Marshall Pruett

Paddock-wide mobilization brings Indy's 33rd entry to life

IndyCar

Paddock-wide mobilization brings Indy's 33rd entry to life

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The setup pad, wheel guns, and water extinguishers are from Andretti Autosport. The large utility cart is from Juncos Hollinger Racing. The refueling tank and pit lane nitrogen bottle hauler is from Team Penske.

Assembling the Indy 500’s 33rd and final entry for Stefan Wilson has been IndyCar’s version of taking a village to raise all aspects of the last-minute program. Run in partnership between Wilson’s friend and sponsor Don Cusick and Cusick Motorsports with Elton Julian’s DragonSpeed open-wheel and sports car team, the co-entry has also been made possible with all of the aforementioned equipment and a chassis supplied by the A.J. Foyt Racing team.

The only place you’ll see more different team branding under one roof is the IMS shop. Image by Marshall Pruett

NTT IndyCar Series president Jay Frye was instrumental in pulling in members of his paddock to make all the critical items available to Cusick/DragonSpeed, and it was the Foyt team that went above and beyond the ensure Wilson will be ready to do his refresher test between 1-3 p.m. on Tuesday.

The original plan had DragonSpeed, which was racing last weekend at IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event at Mid-Ohio, driving the four hours west after Sunday’s race — which it won in the LMP2 class with Juan Pablo Montoya and Henrik Hedman – and working furiously to convert Tatiana Calderon’s No. 11 Foyt Chevy from road course configuration into Wilson’s No. 25 Speedway car.

But with concerns about the tight turnaround, the Foyt team brought the car back to its shop just outside of IMS on Saturday night, hours after the Indy Grand Prix, and started the conversion process. Wilson arrived Sunday morning to do a seat and pedal fitting as the car was being wrapped and learned one of the crew members had pulled an all-nighter to get the car to an impressive state by the time its driver walked in the building.

“The A.J. Foyt Racing crew, I can’t thank them enough,” Wilson told RACER. “This (car) raced in the GP, they had to split the car on Saturday night, switch out the rear end, put the speedway rear end on and the engine that I’ll be using for the rest of the Indianapolis 500.

Thanks to the Foyt crew, the DragonSpeed team was able to get a good night’s rest before meeting up at Gasoline Alley Monday morning to help finish the remaining items on the No. 25’s to-do list.

“And then (the Foyt team) had to decal and wrap the whole car as well,” Wilson continued. “At the same time, so many sleepless hours between Saturday and Sunday. And last night as well, to get this to look what it looks like right now.”

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