IRL: Rice back in the cockpit for Texas

IRL: Rice back in the cockpit for Texas

Kenny Brack's honeymoon with Rahal Letterman Racing is over, at least for the time being as injured Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner has been cleared to drive in the Bombardier Learjet 500K on the high banks of Texas Motor ...

Kenny Brack's honeymoon with Rahal Letterman Racing is over, at least for the time being as injured Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner has been cleared to drive in the Bombardier Learjet 500K on the high banks of Texas Motor Speedway on June 11th.

Brack had substituted for injured Rice at Indy this year, just as Rice stepped in when Brack suffered debilitating injuries in the 2003 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series finale on the Texas 1.5-mile oval.

Buddy Rice.
Photo by Michael C. Johnson.
Despite setting the fastest qualifying speed of the month (227.598mph) on the third day of qualifying for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, Brack was unable to convert when a simple three-cent bolt in his steering column failed, rendering the Swede sixteenth in the final standings after finishing 92 laps of the 200 contested.

After an examination of Rice's neck and back, Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League senior director of medical services cleared the Arizonan to compete. Rice was injured during practice on May 11th when his #15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone challenger made contact with the SAFER barrier in Turn 2 on the 2.5-mile historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

After an exhaustive examination at Methodist Hospital, Bock and his staff determined Rice had suffered a concussion and partially torn spinal ligament in his mid- to lower neck that is essential to maintaining alignment and stability of the spine. The IRL and hospital staff recommended three weeks of rest and rehabilitation.

Those recommendations did not stop Rice from working at the Speedway for the balance of the month. Rather, Rice served as a consultant for teammates Brack, Vitor Meira (who placed second with the #17 Menards/Johns Manville Panoz/Honda) and for rookie Danica Patrick, who earned fourth place in her first Indy 500 attempt and also took home the JP Morgan Chase Rookie of the Year trophy.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Kenny Brack , Buddy Rice , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira