Team Penske made all of the headlines last weekend in St. Petersburg, and rightfully so after Josef Newgarden and his teammates secured first, third, and fourth in the Firestone Grand Prix. They were chased home by Arrow McLaren, Andretti Global, Chip Ganassi Racing, Meyer Shank Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing and, in a welcome development, A.J. Foyt Racing, whose Santino Ferrucci qualified 14th

 and finished 11th.

One year prior, the Foyt team was breaking down its pit equipment and gone from pit lane before the race had reached its halfway point after Ferrucci and former driver Benjamin Pedersen were involved in opening lap crashes, and after that bad start, the rest of the season had more lows than highs.

A solid effort that had Ferrucci’s No. 14 Chevy in the mix with some racing-winning drivers in Rinus VeeKay and Kyle Kirkwood foreshadows what’s possible for Foyt.

“All the way from the start, we gained a couple of positions and we were just as quick as anybody in that lead group,” Ferrucci told RACER. “At the first stop, we lost a little bit on pit lane, fell a couple of spots back. We made them back up and then we kind of rolled around, we avoided a lot of carnage; I watched some people get punted, avoided those, and we were in a massive fuel-save game and held on there against Kyle.”

New teammate Sting Ray Robb had his day cut short by braking issues, but overall, the tone within the team after the checkered flag was positive and plenty of smiles were on display. With an improvement in qualifying, the lead driver is confident–with its technical alliance with Team Penske in mind — of what the Foyt group can achieve in 2024.

“This was a qualifying game without a doubt, and we with missing one of the practice sessions (due to a brake issue of his own), it really put us off the back foot,” Ferrucci said. “But the only reason we didn’t make it into the Fast 12 group was because you only have one shot at getting Turn 10 correct, and I went off there a little bit on my push lap. I only needed two hundreds to make it in, but I gave up two tenths.

“So that was better than putting it in the wall. But like I’ve said, the bar from last year wasn’t high. I thought we could get into the top 10, and we were one position shy of achieving our goals. But this year, working with Team Penske, I think we’re going to be quite competitive.”