JIMMY VASSER TO RUN THIRD PKV RACING ENTRY AT TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH FORMER CHAMPION CONSIDERING RUNNING SELECTED OTHER RACES INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - MARCH 14, 2006 - - PKV Racing announced today that team co-owner Jimmy Vasser will...
JIMMY VASSER TO RUN THIRD PKV RACING ENTRY AT TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
FORMER CHAMPION CONSIDERING RUNNING SELECTED OTHER RACES
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - MARCH 14, 2006 - - PKV Racing announced today that team co-owner Jimmy Vasser will drive the #12 Gulfsteam/Bell Micro PKV Racing car as a third entry at the 2006 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Vasser joins PKV Racing teammates Oriol Servia, who recently signed with the team to pilot the #6 Gulfstream/Bell Micro PKV Racing machine and rookie Katherine Legge, who will be behind the wheel of the #20 Gulfstream/Bell Micro PKV Racing entry, at Long Beach and possibly selected other races during the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season.
Vasser, 40, completed his 14th Champ Car season and second with PKV Racing in 2005. He has made 231 starts including an on-going record 210 consecutive starts. The 1996 Series Champion and 1998 runner-up is a perennial championship contender having finished in the top-10 nine times including nine of the last 11 years. Vasser, who placed sixth in the championship last year, his highest showing since 2000, has been the subject of retirement rumors since early last season. However, the highly respected native of California made it clear from the beginning that his decision to "step aside or not" would be made in "consultation with PKV Racing co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Dan Pettit and that it would be what is in the best interest of the team."
Commenting on the decision to campaign the #12 Gulfstream/Bell Micro PKV Racing machine at this year's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and possibly other races, Vasser said, "With an all-new driver lineup at PKV Racing for 2006, and the fact that Oriol does not have enough time to fully acclimate himself to the team, we felt it necessary for me to run this event and maybe some selected races in the future. This way I will be able to help Oriol with his transition to PKV Racing and help with the development of Katherine especially during the early stages of the season. Besides, after all, it is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Grand."
Kalkhoven said, "We gave Jimmy the option of driving not only to help mentor our two new drivers, but because of his wonderful history in racing and the fact that we believe he remains very competitive. The fans in California should be able to cheer again for their native son and they will be able to do that when he races in Long Beach this April." Kalkhoven went on to say, only half in jest, "I still contend that it is likely that Jimmy could make more comebacks than the Rolling Stones."
Pettit noted that, "I am pleased and proud that Jimmy will run selected races for PKV Racing in 2006. He has been absolutely invaluable in the development of the team and his racing knowledge and skill have been essential in advancing us to the level of competitiveness we currently enjoy. I look forward to the opportunity to see Jimmy race the #12 Gulfstream/Bell Micro PKV Racing car again."