SIMON TO FIELD TEAM IN PEP BOYS IRL IN '99 WITH MEXMIL SPONSORSHIP DANA POINT, Calif., Oct. 22, 1998 -- Legendary open-wheel car owner Dick Simon announced Oct. 22 that he will field a team in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League in 1999,...
SIMON TO FIELD TEAM IN PEP BOYS IRL IN '99 WITH MEXMIL SPONSORSHIP
DANA POINT, Calif., Oct. 22, 1998 -- Legendary open-wheel car owner Dick Simon announced Oct. 22 that he will field a team in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League in 1999, with multiyear primary sponsorship from Mexmil, the leading manufacturer of insulation systems for the aerospace industry.
Dick Simon Racing LLC will use a G Force chassis and an Oldsmobile Aurora V8 engine built by Roush Technologies, owned by prominent NASCAR Winston Cup car owner Jack Roush. The team already has started preparations for 1999 from its shop in Dana Point, Calif.
A driver will be selected shortly, Simon said. The team also will pick a tire company soon, Simon said.
Richie Simon, Dick Simon's son, will serve as chief mechanic. Richie Simon has extensive experience as a mechanic in CART. Richie Simon will join the team after his commitment to Patrick Racing ends at the end of this CART season.
"We have every intention of running a championship effort in 1999 and believe that with our expertise, some additional sponsorship and the right driver, that is a realistic goal for us," Simon said. "With the Mexmil Company, the G Force chassis, Oldsmobile Aurora and Roush engine builder, the foundation is in place.
"We have yet to select the tire and will make that decision based on which tire program will provide the maximum benefit to our winning effort. The driver selection has not been made, and we will approach that decision with careful consideration and our championship goal in mind."
Simon served as team manager and engineer this season for the Phoenix Racing team fielded by driver-owner Marco Greco in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. Greco finished 10th in the league standings this season under Simon's guidance, with a best finish of third at Dover, Del.
Few people in Indy-style racing have more experience than Simon, as a driver or owner. He first qualified for the Indianapolis 500 in 1970 and competed in 17 500's as a driver, with a best finish of sixth in 1987.
Simon retired from driving in 1988 to concentrate on his race team, which he formed in 1983 with his wife, Dianne. He has fielded cars for such prominent Indy-style drivers as two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk, the late Scott Brayton, Eliseo Salazar and Lyn St. James.
The tireless Simon, 65, has worked with Pep Boys IRL as a manager or chief engineer since the league's inaugural race in January 1996. He guided Salazar to victory at the Las Vegas 500K, the final Pep Boys IRL race of 1997. He won the prestigious Louis Meyer Award in 1997 for his significant contributions to racing.
"We believe that with the combined efforts of all those involved and their commitment to excellence, ours will be an exciting and rewarding season for everyone and especially for our sponsors," Simon said.
Mexmil, based in Santa Ana, Calif., entered racing earlier this year through sponsorship of Phoenix Racing and through development of its first racing industry product, a "diaper" absorption device. The company has more than 2,000 employees and is a leader in technology and innovative product development.
"We were pleased with the results of our first year in racing and were impressed with the expertise with which Dick Simon managed his crew as well as the engineering tactics he employed with the race car," said Mark Molus, Mexmil president.