INDIANAPOLIS (June 20, 2000) -- Veteran CART FedEx Championship Series driver Bryan Herta will fill in for the injured Tony Kanaan in the ...
INDIANAPOLIS (June 20, 2000) -- Veteran CART FedEx Championship Series driver Bryan Herta will fill in for the injured Tony Kanaan in the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard beginning with this weekend's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway.
Kanaan is expected to take four to six weeks to recover from injuries sustained in a qualifying accident at the Detroit Grand Prix this past weekend -- most notably a broken left forearm that required surgery to repair and four cracked ribs on his left side.
"We are very fortunate that Bryan is available to drive for us at this point in time," said co-owner Morris Nunn. "He was one of our original choices to drive for this team when we were first formulating our plans late last year. We are very enthused about the progress we've been making with our Mercedes-Benz program and there are some developments we plan to make in the next few races. I'm confident Bryan is the right guy to help us keep up the momentum."
"It's going to be awful not being able to drive for the next several weeks, but thank goodness we have a driver with Bryan's credentials so this program can keep moving forward," added Kanaan, who, doctors say, will be shooting to make it back on track in time to defend his U.S. 500 title on July 23.
Meanwhile, it will be a homecoming, of sorts, for the 30-year-old Herta, who's won twice and has earned seven poles in his six-plus season on the Champ Car circuit. Nunn was his engineer in 1995 at Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, and he relishes the thought of being reunited with the man who went on to engineer the last four CART championships.
"I'm really looking for my second time around with Morris," said Herta, who's had five top-five finishes and five top-five qualifying efforts, including three podiums and one pole, at Portland, Cleveland and Toronto, the next three events on the schedule. "We showed some flashes of brilliance the first time around. This is our chance to follow through on some of the things we started.
"The circumstances around this opportunity are unfortunate. I wish Tony the speediest recovery possible. I just hope to make a solid contribution in the interim.
It's probably the best possible part of the schedule for me to step in and pinch-hit. Portland and Cleveland are two of my favorite tracks. I'll have my hands full learning the Mercedes-Reynard package and working with new people, so knowing the tracks gives me one less thing to worry about."