Former Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Scott Speed will make his IndyCar debut at this year’s Indianapolis 500 – and will have a repeat run at the Las Vegas season finale – after signing a deal with Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing team. The Californian will be eligible for the $5 million purse available to any guest driver who wins the season-ending race at Las Vegas.
The deal sees Speed return to open-wheeler racing for the first time since he was fired by Toro Rosso in mid-2007 after a series of blow-ups with the team’s management. Thereafter, he moved to the American NASCAR scene, but lost his backing from Red Bull at the end of last year and has been without a full-time drive ever since.
“Having the ability to compete in the Indy 500 is a dream for any racing driver, and I am proud to be partnered with Jay Penske in our attempt to drink the milk and win the biggest race in the world,” Speed is quoted as saying when the announcement was made.
“I am thrilled that Scott chose Dragon Racing and this year’s Indy 500 to make his IndyCar debut. As one of America’s finest open-wheel racers, Scott’s past experience in Formula 1 and NASCAR make him a serious contender at this year’s Indy 500 and at the IndyCar Challenge in Las Vegas,” added Dragon boss Jay Penske.
The Dragon team is already contesting a series of races this season in a partial programme with Paul Tracy, who had actually signed a deal to race for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for the Indy 500 before his deal with Dragon was inked.
The team will also run Ho-Pin Tung at the oval race.
[Original image via LAT]