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DeFrancesco excited by prospects and shift in car ownership

IndyCar rookie Devlin DeFrancesco says his confidence has been boosted by his testing form, and is happy that Julia Steinbrenner has become a co-owner of his Andretti Steinbrenner-Honda.

Devlin DeFrancesco, Andretti Autosport

Although Steinbrenner Racing is continuing as partner with Andretti Autosport in the backing of the #29 entry, in which DeFrancesco replaces James Hinchcliffe for 2022, George Steinbrenner IV’s sister Julia has now stepped up as co-owner.

Meanwhile DeFrancesco, who ran for Andretti Steinbrenner in both Indy Pro 2000 and Indy Lights has shown encouraging form in testing at Sebring and Barber Motorsports Park in the offseason.

“With the great group of people I have around me and the #29 Andretti Steinbrenner PowerTap Honda, it's very encouraging,” he said ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season at St. Petersburg. “Even testing has seemed to raise my confidence for sure, as well, and the addition of bringing Julia on board, as well, is only going to boost that.

“ I'm hugely looking forward to getting started, hugely looking forward to the opportunity that they've given me, and ready to get going.”

He added: “It's been a very long off-season, and I think everybody got a taste with how things are regarding where everyone seems to stack up in Sebring, but hugely looking forward to the race weekend coming in St. Pete.”

Julia Steinbrenner, from the legendary family that owns the New York Yankees franchise, said her move into race team ownership was something that her and brother George IV and had “talked about quite a bit… It was a matter not necessarily of if it would happen but when it would happen, and how we would do it and just kind of letting it happen organically. That day finally came, and yeah, I could not be more excited.”

Asked about her targets for the Andretti Steinbrenner relationship, she replied: “For this year and for the next two years, we have some really incredible sponsors that we've brought on that are new this year, so I'm extremely excited about working through that and figuring out how to further those relationships. That's something that I really love to do and I'm really passionate about.

“In the far future, just continuing to get more and more involved. I would love to get more involved in all aspects of IndyCar and not just being a co-owner and really immersing myself in the sport and getting to know everybody.

“There's so many wonderful women in the sport. I would love to see more. So if I can even just for one person be, ‘Oh, I can do that and help create that narrative.’ There's been so many amazing women that have paved that road for me so that I can be here today, so if I can help to continue that in any way shape or form so that we can get some of these really amazing women that I have met and all the ones I have not met involved in the sport, I would love to see that.”

Steinbrenner admitted that she had become a fan of IndyCar the more she understood it.

“Being around for the last several years that there has been a Steinbrenner Racing, I've kind of tried to submerge myself into the sport and I've really grown a new passion for it. I grew up watching it, but just to really be in it… As with anything, when you're in it and you can see it and appreciate it, you really grow a whole new passion for it.

“You know, I feel pretty equipped, but I know that there will definitely be some things along the way that my brother will be right there to swoop in and help me with.”

DeFrancesco has already had a strong start to his motorsport season after joining Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward and Eric Lux in DragonSpeed’s victorious LMP2 entry at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

#81 DragonSpeed USA Oreca LMP2 winners at Daytona - Left to right, Pato O'Ward, Eric Lux, Colton Herta, Devlin DeFrancesco.

#81 DragonSpeed USA Oreca LMP2 winners at Daytona - Left to right, Pato O'Ward, Eric Lux, Colton Herta, Devlin DeFrancesco.

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

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