IndyCar Racers Say The Darndest Things at Media Days

ntt indycar series gmr grand prix
IndyCar Racers Say Darndest Things at Media DaysJustin Casterline - Getty Images

Hip hairstyles, papayas, $1 million under a tree and at Thermal, Macau, and stop-blaming-COVID were among the dozens of preseason topics that brought out the best from drivers at recent NTT Indy Car Series media days this past week ahead of the 2024 season.

Santino Ferrucci: Good Hair As Good as Sponsors?

“The biggest hurdle with the team would always be... with a smaller team is... is sponsorship," said Santino Ferrucci. "I am a paid driver. It's tough. I don't bring anything to the table other than my good looks and hair.”

A.J. Foyt Racing teammate Sting Ray Robb, who sports a pretty traditional hairstyle, chimed in that “maybe” he’d challenge Ferrucci to a coiffure contest: “I think that I need to find an electrical outlet with a fork. Does anyone have one around?”

auto aug 12 ntt indycar series gallagher grand prix
Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

Alex Palou: Ponders F1 and His 5-Year Plan

“Five years? I know where I want to be, but I don't know where I'll be. I want to be here with you guys, with Ganassi. I already talked about (switching to F1). I tried. It didn't really work out. That's okay. We'll try and get many championships if we can, and we'll try and fight for as many championships and Indy 500s as possible.


(If boss Chip Ganassi ended up breaking into F1, would Palou follow him there?) If he wants me to, yeah. Whatever—yeah. I don't know, hypothetically. Wherever he goes, I would try. I tried to test a NASCAR, and he didn't like that. He was owning the team, so... Even for him to have an F1 team or whatever, that doesn't mean that he would want me to drive it.”

auto aug 27 indycar bommarito automotive group 500
Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

Sting Ray Robb: The Power of Prayer

“(A new sponsor is), and that's an app that is trying to help people bring prayer into their daily life. For me it's a pretty good alignment. We were looking for companies that I could stand behind, that could stand behind me. And obviously faith is a big aspect of who I am, and it's where I find my identity. So having them step on board this year was really, really exciting, and I think it's going to be a good long-term partnership for us.”

Robb wouldn’t call his reverence for legendary boss A.J. Foyt hero worship, but he did say, “I have a box of Wheaties with his face on it that I'm hoping to get signed by the end of the year, but we'll see how that goes, see if he approves of that.”

2023 acura grand prix of long beach
Greg Doherty - Getty Images

Felix Rosenqvist: Has One Tidy Boss

“(Team owner) Michael [Shank], he's one of those guys... I always say, if he found a million dollars under a tree, he wouldn't put it in his bank account. He would probably put it into his race team. That's the feeling I get from him every day. I’m really enjoying my time so far with Meyer Shank. Spent a lot of time with Mike and Jim, and their welcome into this team has been phenomenal. I feel like a family member already.

"They're very relaxed, very family-oriented, friendly team. (Made) a few trips to Ohio, as well, at the shop. It's probably the cleanest shop I've ever seen, by the way, and I've been to a lot of shops. That's a clean place. If you ever get the chance to go there, it's pretty impressive. (I’ve heard) stories about him vacuuming the trailers and making sure the shop is spotless before going home.

"He just lives and breathes that team. He's a very honest guy, very simple to work with, straight to the point. They say he can get a bit feisty during the races, that he gets very emotional. I have yet to see that, but that's cool. He's a very involved guy in the team. Looking forward to seeing more of it.”

auto aug 27 indycar bommarito automotive group 500
Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

Will Power: Impressed with Alex Palou’s 2023 Championship

“When someone doesn't have a lower finishing place than eighth and wins, what, four or five? Five wins, nothing outside the top eight? My God, you're just sitting at such a high level there.

"People say he wrapped it up with one to go or he was almost done with two to go. That's a championship to remember in this field. That is a very, very impressive run, very strong. I couldn't see anyone beating that. Everyone is going,

‘This dude just absolutely mopped the floor. Like, he nailed it.’”

auto aug 12 ntt indycar series gallagher grand prix
Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

Graham Rahal: Irked by Supply-Chain Delays

“Nowadays we've got to get rid of the COVID excuse.”

indy car rahal letterman lanigan racing driver graham rahal
SOPA Images - Getty Images

Marcus Armstrong: Can We Go to Macau?

“I would say that IndyCar has gained a a big following overseas. Certainly I think, say, from February 2021, over in Europe there was a lot of hype and buzz around IndyCar already—and before that.

"But it's obviously Europe and the F1 fans certainly became more aware of IndyCar around then.

(If the series could compete in any overseas location), that’s an easy one. I've been thinking about this all off-season—Macau. I was lucky enough to go there a couple of months ago, and man, IndyCar around Macau would be, like, unreal— like, seriously unreal.”

ntt indycar series gmr grand prix
Justin Casterline - Getty Images

Kyle Kirkwood: What's Not to Like About $1 million

“I'm excited. I like that place. There was a lot of people that I think kind of were skeptical of the track, looking at it, kind of looking at the Armco barriers around it. And we were like, ’Are we really testing here?’ Then we got there and we drove the track and we felt how much grip it had and how enjoyable it was to drive. I think all of us left the place pleasantly surprised how great that track was to drive. I think it's awesome. It's something new.

“It seems like the format is cool, something that's completely different than we've ever done. I'm glad it's not a ton of laps, because that place is really, really physical. I would do seven or eight laps there, and I'm just like, whooped, like out of breath. Granted, that was at the beginning of the season, and usually you're not as fit as you are at the end of a season. So maybe that has something to do with it. But I'm looking forward to it. I think it'll be fun.

"Hopefully we come out of there a million dollars happier.“I’ve never (raced for money instead of points). At the end of the day, do us drivers actually get the million dollars? No, that's not the case. We're still going out there to win a race. I think every driver that's in IndyCar is in it because they love racing and they love competing. They're not in it because they're looking for a million-dollar prize, to be honest.”

auto aug 27 indycar bommarito automotive group 500
Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

David Malukas: New Firesuit, New Year, Can You Say Papaya?

“I like it. I'm glowing. Anywhere I go, it's just papaya. You can see it in your peripheral vision. It actually changes the way you see things.

"Like, you know when you were a kid and everything seemed a little bit brighter? I feel like putting the papaya on, I have that same brightness back. I see everybody a lot brighter now, so life is good.”

auto jul 23 ntt indycar series hy vee one step 250
Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

Felix Rosenqvist: We ALL Are the Champions

“Everyone is a world champion here, sitting in the off-season.”

crew of racing driver felix rosenqvist 6 of sweden taking
SOPA Images - Getty Images