IRL: April 1st is big day for Indy 500 entries filing

Luyendyk, Hornish, Fisher, Foyt lead big day of Indy 500 entries. INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 1, 2003 - Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, two-time Indy Racing League IndyCarTM Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., two-time series Most...

Luyendyk, Hornish, Fisher, Foyt lead big day of Indy 500 entries.

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 1, 2003 - Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, two-time Indy Racing League IndyCarTM Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., two-time series Most Popular Driver Sarah Fisher and a young member of one of racing's most famous families - A.J. Foyt IV - were among the drivers named on the nine entries filed April 1 for the 87th Indianapolis 500.

Mo Nunn Racing filed three entries, including one for Luyendyk. He will attempt to qualify for the world's greatest auto race for an 18th time, and will drive as a teammate to Mo Nunn Racing's regular IndyCar Series drivers, Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi.

Panther Racing filed car entries for drivers Hornish and Billy Boat.

Fisher, voted the IRL Crew Most Popular Driver in 2001 and 2002, will drive a second car entered by Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. The team previously filed an entry to be driven by team co-owner Robbie Buhl.

A.J. Foyt Enterprises filed three entries and named A.J. Foyt IV, the grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and team owner A.J. Foyt, to drive along with Shigeaki Hattori. A driver has not been assigned to the third team entry.

Luyendyk, a native of Sommelsdyk, Holland, and resident of Scottsdale, Ariz., will drive the No. 20 Meijer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.

He won the "500" in 1990 and 1997 and earned three MBNA Pole Awards (1993, 1997 and 1999) and holds the fastest one- and four-lap qualifying records of 237.498 and 236.986 mph, respectively, and the race record of 185.981 mph, set in 1990.

Giaffone, the IndyCar Series' 2001 Bombardier Rookie of the Year, will pilot the No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone entry. Giaffone led 12 laps at Indy in 2002 and finished third. He scored his first IndyCar Series victory at Kentucky Speedway in 2002.

Takagi will drive the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. A rookie in IndyCar Series competition in 2003, Takagi competed in the Formula One World Championship in 1998-99. He is a native of Japan and resides in Los Angeles.

Peter Parrott is the team manager for all Mo Nunn Racing entries. Luyendyk's chief mechanic is Charles Winkle, Giaffone's is Tom Vasi, and Takagi's is Don Lambert.

Hornish will drive the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, and Boat will pilot the No. 98 Panther Racing Chevrolet Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

Hornish, a 23-year-old native of Defiance, Ohio, has dominated IndyCar Series competition in the last two seasons, winning eight of 30 races since joining Panther at the start of the 2001 season and scoring a total of 22 top-five finishes in the same period. His amazing consistency has delivered two consecutive season championships to the Indianapolis-based team.

Boat, from Phoenix, won the coveted MBNA Pole Award for the 1998 Indianapolis 500 and has one career IndyCar Series victory, at Texas Motor Speedway in June 1998.

He has encountered the best and worst of times at Indy, having endured the stress of being the slowest qualifier and sitting on "the bubble" for an extended period during Bump Day qualifying the last two years.

Kevin Blanch is the team manager for both entries. Simon Morley is chief mechanic for Hornish, and Chris Griffis has been named chief mechanic for Boat.

Fisher, a native of Commercial Point, Ohio, will drive the No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone in her fourth attempt to qualify at Indianapolis. Sponsorship for the car is to be announced.

Fisher is the fastest woman in the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, having qualified an Indy career-best ninth at 229.439 mph last year with Dreyer & Reinbold. She also became the first woman to earn a pole position for a major-league open-wheel race in North America at the Belterra Casino Indy 300 in August 2002 at Kentucky Speedway.

Fisher's team manager is John O'Gara and chief mechanic is Dan Miller oyt will drive the No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone for his grandfather's Waller, Texas-based team. A rookie in the 2003 IndyCar Series season, Foyt won the IRL Infiniti Pro Series championship in 2002. He won four of seven events and also earned four pole positions.

Foyt's first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 comes 10 years after his grandfather stunned the motorsports world by retiring from driving on Pole Day - May 15, 1993. A.J. Foyt Jr. competed in the Indianapolis 500 a record 35 times.

A.J. Foyt IV turns 19 on Race Day, May 25.

Hattori will attempt to qualify for his second Indianapolis 500 driving the No. 5 EPSON/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. Hattori, a native of Okayama, Japan, who resides in Hermosa Beach, Calif., scored two top-10 finishes in 2002 and finished 10th at the most recent IndyCar Series event, the Purex Dial Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Craig Baranouski is team manager for Foyt and Hattori. Foyt's chief mechanic is Bill Spencer, and Hattori's chief mechanic is Rich Simon.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Felipe Giaffone , Robbie Buhl , Shigeaki Hattori , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , A.J. Foyt IV , Tora Takagi , Dan Miller , A.J. Foyt Jr. , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn
Teams A.J. Foyt Enterprises , Panther Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing