There are more announcements for the IndyCar Series’ blue-ribbon Indianapolis 500 event, with Dreyer & Reinbold confirming it will run a third entry for veteran driver Paul Tracy (pictured left), while Sam Schmidt Motorsports has added another driver to its roster, announcing it will run Townsend Bell (pictured right) once again.
Canadian Tracy raced for Dreyer & Reinbold three times last season as the outfit sought the services of several drivers to fill the vacancy in its roster left by the injured Mike Conway, who suffered multiple injuries (from which he has thankfully recovered) at last year’s Indy 500.
Tracy also entered last year’s great race, but embarrassingly failed to qualify after electing to withdraw his earlier qualifying times – which would ironically be proven to be quick enough to get him on the grid – in order to have another crack at bettering the run he had posted.
“It feels great to be back with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing,” the 2003 ChampCar champion said of the announcement. “It’s been a chaotic winter, but it’s good to have the deal stowed away with a competitive programme lined up with [sponsor] WIX Filters and DRR for the Indianapolis 500.
“[DRR has] quality equipment and a solid engineering group with Larry Curry. It’s a relief to have this deal done from that standpoint,” he added.
Tracy will join the team’s regular drivers Justin Wilson and Ana Beatriz for the iconic oval race which will celebrate its centenary this year. Tracy has never won the event, although he came close with a second-placed finish in 2002.
Meanwhile, Sam Schmidt Motorsports has announced it will field Indy 500 regular Townsend Bell for the series’ premier event.
The 35-year-old drove for the team at last year’s race, qualifying a very impressive tenth and finishing sixteenth.
Schmidt’s IndyCar involvement has only extended to the Indy 500 in recent years – he has a best-placed finish of fourth in 2009 with KV Racing – and he expects he can be competitive in the SSM machinery once again.
“With this being the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, I am excited that I’ll be returning to the Speedway with a team and sponsor that will allow me to run up front,” Bell said of the announcement.
Sam Schmidt Motorsports has been a regular in the series’ pre-season news as it makes a full-time return to the IndyCar Championship this year with Alex Tagliani after it bought the FAZZT. The team has also announced it will run Jay Howard at the Indy 500 in a joint effort with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, as well as running New Zealander Wade Cunningham at three other oval events.
[Original images via LAT]
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