JEFF SIMMONS NAMED RAHAL LETTERMAN TEAM ETHANOL DRIVER TWO-TIME IPS RUNNER-UP NAMED TO REPLACE THE LATE PAUL DANA SPEEDWAY, Ind. - Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR), one of the leading open-wheel race teams in North America, announced today the...
JEFF SIMMONS NAMED RAHAL LETTERMAN TEAM ETHANOL DRIVER
TWO-TIME IPS RUNNER-UP NAMED TO REPLACE THE LATE PAUL DANA
SPEEDWAY, Ind. - Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR), one of the leading open-wheel race teams in North America, announced today the selection of Jeff Simmons as the driver for No. 17 Team Ethanol Honda/Panoz/Firestone. Simmons will replace the late Paul Dana who lost his life in a practice accident March 26.
Simmons, a native of East Granby, CT, is one of the winningest drivers in IRL Indy Pro Series history with seven victories. He has garnered extensive experience in the IPS, having run four seasons and twice finishing as the championship runner-up (2003, 2005). In addition he has made two IRL IndyCar Series starts, including a run at the Indianapolis 500 in 2004 for Mo Nunn Racing. Simmons won the season-opening IPS race in 2006.
"Jeff is a driver that I think has a great deal of potential and a very bright future," said 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal. "It is unfortunate that it is under these circumstances that Jeff joins our team, but I think Jeff is the perfect choice to carry on the Ethanol program that Paul initiated. Jeff has paid his dues and worked his way up through the ladder system. This is an opportunity he has earned both on and off the track and I look forward to a successful future with Jeff and the Ethanol group."
"I am honored to have the opportunity to promote the message and need for the clean, renewable fuel Ethanol and to become a member of Rahal Letterman Racing," said Simmons, 29. "It is one of the most professional teams I could ever hope to be associated with and I truly appreciate the faith that Bobby and the Team Ethanol sponsors have placed in me. The fact that I have this opportunity as a result of Paul's passing is not lost on me and I want to express my commiseration and offer my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. I believe the best way for me to honor him is to do everything I can to carry on the cause in which Paul believed so deeply and gave his life to promote."
"Through Paul Dana's determination, ethanol became the performance fuel of choice for the Indy Racing League," said David Vander Griend, president and CEO of ICM. "The best tribute to his legacy is to continue promoting ethanol through racing. We are excited about the future of our new partnership with Jeff Simmons and Rahal Letterman Racing."
The No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Honda/Panoz/Firestone will return to the track at Twin Ring Motegi.
Team Ethanol is comprised of the Broin Companies, Fagen Inc., ICM and 25 other companies who have joined together in a voluntary industry-wide coalition that represents over half of the industry. Ethanol is a high-octane, high-performance fuel that is clean burning, renewable and made in America. As a growing component of the United States gasoline supply, it delivers improved vehicle performance for all passenger cars and trucks while reducing emissions and improving air quality.
Rahal Letterman Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar 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 Jeff Simmons will pilot Honda powered Panoz cars sponsored by Argent Mortgage Company and Ethanol.