IRL: Rahal Letterman Racing announces Indy 500 entries

RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING ENTERS THE 90th INDIANAPOLIS 500 HILLIARD, Ohio . . . Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR), one of the leading open-wheel race teams in North America, announced today it has submitted its official entries for the 90th ...

RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING ENTERS THE 90th INDIANAPOLIS 500

HILLIARD, Ohio . . . Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR), one of the leading open-wheel race teams in North America, announced today it has submitted its official entries for the 90th Indianapolis 500 to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. RLR will field three entries at Indianapolis with IndyCar Series drivers Buddy Rice, Danica Patrick and Paul Dana.

The 2006 Indy 500 will mark Rahal Letterman Racing's fifth consecutive Indianapolis 500. RLR won the 2004 Indy and finished as the runner-up in the 2005 race.

Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indy 500 champion, will make his return to the Speedway after missing the 2005 race due to injury. Rice will pilot the No. 15 Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz/Firestone in the May 28th classic. Kenny Brack, 1998 Indy 500 winner, drove the No. 15 car for the injured Rice in last year's 500.

"I have been waiting an entire year for a return to Indianapolis," said Rice. "The frustration of last season can be summed up in the problems we had at the Speedway. Watching last year's Indy 500 from the pits was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my career. There is no other race in the world like Indy and I can't wait to get back to the Speedway."

Danica Patrick captured the headlines at the 'Brickyard' last spring qualifying fourth, leading 19 laps and nearly winning the race en route to a fourth place finish and being named Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. Patrick will once again drive the familiar No. 16 Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz/Firestone at the Speedway.

"The entire Indy experience is something I will remember as long as I live," said Patrick. "Looking back now the month seems like a blur, but every day I live in the aftermath of Indy. I have thought a lot about last year and I realize how close we were to winning the pole and the race. I am looking forward to another shot at Indy."

Rookie Paul Dana was injured in 2005 while practicing for the Indy 500. Sidelined for the remainder of the season, Dana's dream of driving in the Indy 500 has been on hold for a year. He now stands on the cusp of fulfilling a lifelong dream. He will pilot the No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing/Team Ethanol Honda/Panoz/Firestone in May.

"The Indy 500 is a dream for any driver in motorsports," said Dana. "I remember the thrill of going on track last year for Rookie Orientation and the anticipation of my qualifying run. Unfortunately because of the accident that qualifying run has been on hold for a while. To go to Indy with a team like Rahal Letterman Racing, a team that has crafted a record of success at Indy over the last several years, is the perfect situation for a young driver."

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of team co-owner Bobby Rahal's victory at Indianapolis while driving for TrueSports. Rahal's victory for the late Jim Trueman stands as one of the more emotional victory celebrations in the history of the Speedway.

"It is hard to believe that it has been 20-years since that race," said Rahal. "I remember it like yesterday and I remember the great feeling of satisfaction at being able to help fulfill one of Jim's lifelong dreams. I didn't realize at the time what winning Indy would mean for me personally over the course of my life, but I did grasp at that moment the importance of that day for the Trueman family."

Rahal Letterman Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time PPG IndyCar Series Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been a leading open-wheel racing operation for more than a decade compiling 19 victories, 28 poles and one series championship (Bobby Rahal in 1992 in CART) and an Indianapolis 500 championship (Rice in 2004). In 2006 Rahal Letterman Racing will campaign three cars in the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series. Buddy Rice and 2005 Indianapolis and IRL IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick and rookie driver Paul Dana will pilot Honda powered Panoz cars with primary sponsorship by Argent Mortgage Company and Ethanol.

-rlr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Kenny Brack , Buddy Rice , Paul Dana , Danica Patrick