CENTRIX FINANCIAL TO SPONSOR TWO-CAR PROGRAM FOR NEWMAN/HAAS RACING FOR THE 89TH RUNNING OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
CENTENNIAL (April 12, 2005) -- Financial services firm CENTRIX Financial announced today that they will sponsor a two-car program for Newman/Haas Racing for the 2005 Indianapolis 500. Bruno Junqueira, 28, will make his fourth start in the event while Sebastien Bourdais, 26, will make his debut.
"We are thrilled to be returning to Indy for the second year," said CENTRIX Financial's Chairman and CEO Robert E. Sutton. "It's the world's biggest motorsports stage, and I am proud to have two of the most accomplished open-wheel drivers behind the wheel for Team CENTRIX in Bruno and Sebastien. CENTRIX is in the business of delivering results in the auto finance industry, and we are committed to doing the same in motorsports."
In Junqueira's rookie event in 2001 he started 20th and finished fifth. He won the pole position in 2002, led the first 32 laps but retired in 31st place with engine failure. Last year in his first Indy 500 with Newman/Haas Racing he qualified fourth despite limited practice time, led 16 laps and finished fifth. The 2004 event marked the first time for Newman/Haas Racing to have competed in the Indy 500 since 1995.
"We are excited that our association with CENTRIX Financial has enabled us to compete at the Indianapolis 500 again," said Carl Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing. "CENTRIX Financial is a company that operates with the same philosophy as our team; they are true competitors both in the auto finance industry and in racing and enjoy winning as much as we do. Add to that combination the powerful and reliable Honda engine and we have a good opportunity for a strong finish."
A leading innovator in the auto finance market and a major sponsor of numerous motorsports programs, CENTRIX Financial will have its name prominently displayed on the bright blue and white No. 36 and No. 37 Honda-powered Panoz/Firestone machines entered by Newman/Haas Racing. In 2004 CENTRIX fielded its first Indianapolis 500 entry with Vitor Meira behind the wheel of the No. 17 Rahal/Letterman Team CENTRIX Honda, where he finished sixth. Meira's Rahal/Letterman teammate, Buddy Rice, came away with the victory at the 2004 racing classic.
In addition to the Indy 500 entries, CENTRIX is an associate sponsor for Newman/Haas Racing's Champ Car World Series program. Team co-owner Paul Newman and Sebastien Bourdais were members of -Team CENTRIX in the CENTRIX Financial Baja Challenge class of the 2004 SCORE Tecate Baja 1000. Newman teamed with CENTRIX Financial Chairman and CEO Bob Sutton as well as others in an entry that finished fourth in class while Bourdais and Pikes Peak Hill Climb winner and co-driver Rhys Millen finished third despite being sidelined for two hours due to damage sustained early in the race. CENTRIX was also a co-sponsor of the Newman Racing entry in the 2005 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in early February.
The 2005 entry will mark the 15th for Newman/Haas Racing in the Indianapolis 500. Prior to 2005, the team prepared a total of 21 entries for drivers such as Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy and Bruno Junqueira. Newman/Haas Racing's highest finish in the Indianapolis 500 is second place with Mario Andretti in 1985 and Michael Andretti in 1991 although team drivers have led many laps on the 2.5-mile Superspeedway. Mario Andretti also brought the team its highest start in the event when he won the pole position in 1987.
About CENTRIX Financial, LLC
CENTRIX Financial is a financial services firm that offers innovative lending products focused on the auto finance industry through its nationwide network of auto dealerships and financial institutions. CENTRIX has underwritten nearly 200,000 loans totaling more than $3.0 billion since 1998. In addition to their involvement with Newman/Haas Racing, CENTRIX is the Official Auto Finance Company of NASCAR; sponsor of the #36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet driven by Boris Said in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series; title sponsor of the CENTRIX Financial Baja Challenge Class of the SCORE Tecate Baja 1000; title sponsor of the CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver; event sponsor of the Race of Champions Nations Cup.
About Newman/Haas Racing, LLC
Newman/Haas Racing LLC, owned by actor/race car driver Paul Newman and racing entrepreneur Carl A. Haas, began their 23rd season of competition in 2005. They have earned 82 race wins and 86 pole positions as well as five championships in the Champ Car World Series. Current drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira were preceded at the team by Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy, Christian Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta. For more information log on to www.newman-haas.com, www.sebastien-bourdais.com or www.brunojunqueira.com.