Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Driving in History at the Brickyard
It’s been said that when race drivers visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time, they feel the spirit of those who have raced before at the historic race track which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 this year.
This year, Bruno Junqueira will be driving for A.J. Foyt, a man who has experienced firsthand more than half of the Brickyard’s history as a driver and a team owner as he participates in his 54th consecutive Indy 500. When Junqueira sits in the No. 41 ABC Supply Indy car this weekend for the first time, he too may sense the echoes of years past. His car’s paint scheme hearkens back to Foyt’s 1967 and 1977 Indy 500 winning cars with the distinctive Coyote Red color and the car numbers set on a white circle. On the ’77 car’s nose, the number 14 was centered in the upper half of the small letter ‘g’ -- the logo of Foyt’s longtime sponsor Jim Gilmore.
Foyt’s signature color, dubbed Coyote Red, is actually warm poppy red--first used by Foyt in 1967 when he won the Indy 500. That was the same year that he used the number 14 for the first time after finishing 13th in the standings and experiencing his first winless season in 1966. Foyt went on to win the 1967 championship—his first as a team owner and fifth as a driver. His cars remained Coyote Red for 20 years.
Junqueira, who has been competing in the American LeMans Series this year, will be getting his first practice laps in the No. 41 this weekend. For the talented Brazilian, it will mark an entire year since he last drove an Indy car but if the two last years are any indication, it won’t take long for him to find his groove.
In 2010, Junqueira’s first laps in an Indy car came on Bump Day. After just seven laps, he qualified the car at a four lap average speed of 225.6mph to earn the fastest qualifier of the day award! This year Junqueira is expected to get in quite a bit of practice before qualifying begins on Pole Day, May 21.
In 2009, his second week program turned into a one day program when his first time on track was on Bump Day. He successfully qualified the car for Conquest Racing and then graciously stepped out for the race when the team’s full-time driver Alex Tagliani was bumped in the final minute of qualifying.
Junqueira’s teammate Vitor Meira is driving the No. 14 ABC Supply car which, although still red, white and blue, pays homage through design to Foyt’s Indy 500 winning car from 1961 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his first of four victories at Indy.