CASEY NEAL TO DEBUT IN CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC
Middletown, OH (August 23, 2006): The 2005 Red Bull Driver's Search World Finalist, 18 year-old Casey Neal is pleased to announce that he has signed with Gelles Racing to compete in the Champ Car Atlantic Series in the final two rounds of the 2006 season. Neal will make his Atlantic debut at the "Molson Indy" event staged at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada on August 27. Neal will finish the season by competing at the final round of the Champ Car Atlantic season at Road America at Elkhart Lake, WI on September 22-24. Both events will be tape-delayed telecast on Speed Channel on September 3rd, 1:00 pm and October 8th, 5:00 pm respectively.
"I can't tell you how excited I am," said Neal. "I am extremely grateful to the entire Gelles racing organization for this opportunity. I can't wait to get my chance to compete in Atlantics. "
Casey Neal has been gaining attention in open wheel racing for the past several years. His totally dominant performance at the Red Bull Driver's Search semi-finals at Sebring in 2005 marked him as 'one to watch' in open wheel circles. He was one of two American drivers selected in 2005 to compete at the Red Bull Driver's Search World Finals in Estoril, Spain. Neal competed strongly at the World Finals, but his 6'2" frame was deemed to be prohibitively tall to be selected to continue in the Red Bull driver development program aimed primarily toward the ultimate goal of Formula One.
In 2006, Neal graduated to the Star Mazda series with a strong, albeit short, debut at Sebring. Neal qualified 4th on the starting grid and at the start quickly moved into contention for the lead before an on-track racing incident sent Neal off the track and out of the race on the first lap. But Neal's growing reputation as a very quick competitor was solidified.
"I feel that Gelles Racing is the ideal team to help me with the move into Atlantics," added Neal. "They have a strong commitment to open wheel racing and have quickly established themselves as a major force in the Champ Car arena. My teammates (Colin Fleming and Robbie Pecorari) are colleagues from my karting days and I look forward to their insights and help in making the transition to the more powerful Mazda Atlantics."