NA-F2000: IPS: Ryan Hampton to make debut at Michigan

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, July 24, 2002 -- Sports-car standout and U.S. F2000 veteran Ryan Hampton will make his Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series debut July 28 at Michigan International Speedway. Hampton will drive the No. 34 Ryan Hampton/CGF ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, July 24, 2002 -- Sports-car standout and U.S. F2000 veteran Ryan Hampton will make his Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series debut July 28 at Michigan International Speedway.

Hampton will drive the No. 34 Ryan Hampton/CGF Special Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.

"This is basically a conglomeration of people coming together to make a lot happen in a very short amount of time," Hampton said. "This really came together over the last 10 days. Since we are getting a late start, the championship will probably not be in our sight, but we just want to get as many wins and the best finishes we possibly can.

"We are using this as a platform to advance to the IRL. We will see how the whole team jells. If all goes well, maybe we will go there."

Hampton, 28, from Phoenix, was a karting champion in 1992 and the SCCA ITB champion in 1994. He began his U.S. F2000 career in 1997 as Oval Crown Rookie of the Year. He followed that in 1998 with three victories and finished second in the points race. Hampton has made three starts in the Rolex 24 sports-car classic at Daytona with a sixth-place finish in GT2 in 1999, a second-place finish in SRP II in 2001 and a third-place finish in SRP II in 2002. In 2000, he was crowned champion of the Grand Am Road Racing SRP II division.

Hampton passed his Indy Racing Rookie test in 1999 with A.J. Foyt Racing at Texas Motor Speedway, his only experience in an Indy Racing League or Infiniti Pro Series car.

"The whole team is extremely excited to be involved in Infiniti Pro Series," Hampton said. "From Roger Bailey on, we've received the warmest welcome I've had in racing yet. I've never seen this level of professionalism and warm wishes from the entire group. They take care of the competitors very well."

Other drivers joining Hampton in the Infiniti Pro Series include inaugural race winner A.J. Foyt IV, grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt; Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk; actor/racer Jason Priestley, short-track standouts Aaron Fike, Ed Carpenter and Ronnie Johncox, and Nashville race winner and series points leader Cory Witherill.

The Michigan race, the third of seven in the series this year, will be broadcast at 6 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 15 on ESPN2.

-irl/ips-

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Series GRANDAM , INDYLIGHTS , KART , OPENWHEEL , SCCA