IPS: Foyt names Simmons for Indianapolis race

Jeff Simmons to Drive Foyt's Car in Futaba Freedom 100 at Indy HOUSTON May 6, 2004--Jeff Simmons will attempt to repeat A.J. Foyt's most recent victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 27-year-old Connecticut native will drive Foyt's No.

Jeff Simmons to Drive Foyt's Car in Futaba Freedom 100 at Indy

HOUSTON May 6, 2004--Jeff Simmons will attempt to repeat A.J. Foyt's most recent victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 27-year-old Connecticut native will drive Foyt's No. 14 Delphi/Futaba Dallara in the Futaba Freedom 100 May 22nd at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Foyt's car won the pole and the race with driver Ed Carpenter in the Infiniti Pro Series' inaugural event at the Speedway last year.

"I wanted to try to defend our title at Indy and Jeff was available so it seemed like a great opportunity," said Foyt. "Last year he was one of the ones we always had to try to beat in the Pro Series so I know how good a driver he is. I am looking forward to working with him this month."

"I grew up watching and reading about A.J. Foyt," said Simons. "A.J. has been a hero of mine ever since I started watching races. It is truly an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to drive for him--and at Indy nonetheless.

"When we first spoke about doing the Freedom 100, he said he was only taking the car out of the garage because he knows we have a good chance to win."

In addition to giving Simmons a one-off drive in the Infiniti Pro Series, Foyt allowed Simmons to use A.J. Foyt IV's Indy car to do the first three speed phases of the Rookie Orientation Program. By passing those segments of the test, Simmons becomes eligible to drive Indy cars at the Speedway although he must pass a final phase before he can attempt to qualify for the 500.

"A.J. gave me the chance to do the Indy 500 ROP in one of his Dallara/Toyota Indy cars," said Simmons. "I can't wait for the chance to show him how much I appreciate his confidence in me."

At this point, Simmons does not have a team lined up for the Indy 500.

The Boston College graduate finished second in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series standings with two victories, three second-place finishes and nine top-fives in 12 starts. He drove for Team Green in the Indy Lights in 2000 and is a two-time Barber Dodge Pro Series champion (1998-99).

Simmons, a bachelor who lists New York, N.Y. as his residence, began his racing career driving quarter midgets at age five. He was a regional champion from 1981 through 1991 and won national championships in 1981 and 1986.

The Futaba Freedom 100 will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. (EDT) on May 22.

-ajfr-

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers A.J. Foyt IV , Jeff Simmons , A.J. Foyt