AJ Foyt is dipping into the Indy Lights ranks for its first confirmed driver for the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season, as team president Larry Foyt announced on Wednesday that the team has signed Benjamin Pedersen to a multi-year deal.
Pedersen, 23, won one race (Portland) this past season and finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings while running a full season schedule for HMD Motorsports. The dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, who grew up in Seattle and now lives in Indianapolis, spent much of 2022 with AJ Foyt Racing, shadowing the team on IndyCar race weekends as part of what best could be described as a driver-in-waiting program.
"I mean, it's a pretty surreal day," Pedersen via a Zoom interview on Wednesday. "This is the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in the U.S., and we had the announcement today with with AJ Foyt. So it's a pretty, pretty big dream-come-true moment. Definitely have worked really hard. And honestly, just looking forward to getting to staying working hard and getting going for the for the new season.
"It almost feels like a second year in a way with AJ Foyt racing as I've been with the team this whole year, shadowing and seeing how the transition will happen. So the team has been super welcoming, and I just can't wait to get to work."
At Foyt, Pedersen is replacing Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport next year. Foyt also fielded Dalton Kellett and ran a partial season with Tatiana Calderon for the 2022 IndyCar season.
"We're really excited to have Benjamin on board," team president Larry Foyt said. "You know he's been on our watch list for a little bit here, and he started to spend some time with us. I just love his attitude, and you know he's coming in, I think, ready to learn and ready to give a 1,000%. He's e's going to be a great asset to the team."
Foyt has yet to fill the team's other seat for 2023, and Foyt said that under the right circumstances, there could be a third car in the mix. Kellett is definitely on the team's short list. Kellett, 29, has 41 IndyCar starts to his credit. He finished 25th in the IndyCar season standings with a best finish of 17th at Texas.
"We talk often and I think there's a mutual desire to continue," Foyt said, when asked about the possibility of Kellett returning. "I think we both just know that we've got to make sure we can put together a really good team around him. So that's what we're trying to see what that would look like and if it's a possibility or not.
"So I think that's where it sits. We just We haven't decided, necessarily. We're just trying to see who's who's available, what it would really look like if we did."