For Immediate Release 77 ENTRIES FILED FOR 80th INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, April 15, 1996 -- Track record holders Arie Luyendyk and Roberto Guerrero head a list of 35 drivers currently nominated on 77 entries filed to bid for starting...
For Immediate Release
77 ENTRIES FILED FOR 80th INDIANAPOLIS 500
INDIANAPOLIS, April 15, 1996 -- Track record holders Arie Luyendyk and Roberto Guerrero head a list of 35 drivers currently nominated on 77 entries filed to bid for starting spots in the 80th Indianapolis 500 May 26, it was announced today by Indy Racing League officials.
"This is excellent news," IRL executive director Jack Long said. "We anticipated a good response with entries, but this is really strong. We'll have a more complete picture of the entire field as we get closer to opening day in May because there are still a lot of unassigned drivers and entered cars we expect to see matched up. It's going to be interesting to see how this thing comes together."
The entry deadline for cars was midnight, April 5. Drivers can be added= later.
Along with the drama of establishing a 33-car starting field for the "500", pre-season testing speeds at the 2=BD-mile oval predict record qualifying speeds in May and possibly the fastest field in Indianapolis 500 history. Last year's pole-sitter Scott Brayton clocked a practice lap this spring of 237.555 miles per hour on April 3. He is the fastest of several drivers with unofficial times above the 230-mph plateau and four over 235 mph. Technical advancement of the cars, tires and a freshly repaved racing surface at Indy are all factors in the increased speeds.
Opening day at the Speedway is Saturday, May 4, with the traditional Mayor's Breakfast and Opening Ceremonies. On-track activities through Monday, May 6, will be a very busy schedule of the United States Auto Club's annual Rookie Orientation Program (ROP), open to public spectators for the first time this year. All entrants will be allowed on the track beginning Tuesday, May 7.
Daily practice from the track will be aired live on ESPN and ESPN2, with additional recap shows and qualifying rounds aired on ESPN and ABC Sports. More than 60 hours of national television programming is scheduled as part of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," highlighted by ABC Sports' live coverage of the race for the 11th straight year.
Luyendyk set the Indianapolis 500 race record when he won the 1990 event at an average speed of 185.981 miles per hour. Guerrero holds the track's official speed record of 232.618 mph, which he set in a pole-winning qualifying performance in 1992. His four-lap qualifying average of 232.482 mph that day remains the Brickyard's all-time qualifying standard the 1996 qualifiers will be trying to break on Pole Day, Saturday, May 11.
Luyendyk, 42, of Scottsdale, Ariz., also has an Indianapolis 500 pole position to his credit, that coming in 1993. This year he is driving a Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria/Bryant Heating & Cooling entry for Jonathan Byrd/Treadway Racing of Indianapolis. Guerrero, 37, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., is listed as driver of two WavePhore/Pennzoil Reynard-Fords entered by Pagan Racing of Corpus Christi, Texas. Each driver has 11 Indy starts.
Brayton, 37, of Coldwater, Mich., with 14 "500" starts, could be the most senior veteran in the field for the second year in a row. He qualified for the pole last year at an average speed of 231.604 miles per hour and is assigned to a pair of Glidden Menards Specials entered by Team Menard of Indianapolis.
Team Menard also entered two Quaker State Menards Specials for 1992 front-row qualifier Eddie Cheever, 38, of Aspen, Colo., and a pair of Menards/Glidden/Quaker State Specials for rookie Tony Stewart, 24, of Rushville, Ind., USAC's triple champion in 1995 who finished second in his Indianapolis car debut in the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World. Mark Dismore, 39, of Greenfield, Ind., is assigned to a Menards Special.
Team Scandia of Indianapolis entered 10 cars with five drivers and one to be added later. Eliseo Salazar, 40, of Santiago, Chile, who finished fourth last year in his first "500" start, is listed on two Cristal/Copec Mobil entries. Lyn St. James, 49, of Daytona Beach, Fla., the 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, is listed on a Lifetime TV/Alta Water/Perry Ellis/Royal Purple entry by Team Scandia. The team's other drivers are rookie Michel Jourdain Jr., 19, of Mexico City on two Herdez Quaker State Canels entries; rookie Michele Alboreto, 39, of Monte Carlo, a five-time Formula One winner, on two Alta Spring Water/Perry Ellis/Royal Purple machines; and rookie Fermin Velez, 37, of Barcelona, Spain, on two Alta Spring Water/Perry Ellis/Royal Purple entries.
AJ Foyt Enterprises of Houston, headed by four-time Indy winner A.J. Foyt, entered six cars. Rookie Davey Hamilton, 33, of Boise, Idaho, who led his first Indianapolis-car race at Disney World, is listed on an AJ Foyt Copenhagen Racing entry. Veteran Scott Sharp, 28, of Danville, Calif., second-place finisher at the IRL's Phoenix event, is named to a Conseco AJ Foyt Racing machine with no drivers listed on the other four entries.
A pair of rookies who have distinguished themselves in the Indy Racing League's inaugural season to date hope to carry their successes on to their first "500" appearances.
Buzz Calkins, 24, of Denver, Colo., winner of the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World and IRL Championship point leader coming into Indy, is listed on two Bradley Food Marts Reynards by Bradley Motorsports of Denver. Richie Hearn, 25, of Canyon Country, Calif., who qualified for the front row at both Disney World and Phoenix, has been assigned to a pair of Della Penna Motorsports Ralph's Food4Less Fuji Film entries by Della Penna Motorsports of Campbell, Calif.
Buddy Lazier, 28, of Vail, Colo., the pole winner for the Disney World event, is listed on a Hemelgarn Racing-Delta Faucet entry as part of a six-car fleet entered by Hemelgarn Racing of Indianapolis. Stephan Gregoire, 26, of Vittel, France, now living in Indianapolis, was the "500's" fastest rookie in 1993 and will try for his third 1996 IRL start for= Hemelgarn.
Davy Jones, 31, of Glenbrook, Nev., is assigned to a pair of Delco Electronics High Tech Team Galles entries. John Paul Jr., 36, of West Palm Beach, Fla., the 1983 Michigan 500 winner, is listed on a V-Line Earl's Supply machine entered by PDM Racing of Indianapolis.
Robbie Buhl, 32, of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., who has led both of the IRL's 1996 races, is listed on two entries for Beck Motorsports of Avon, Ind. Beck also entered a pair of cars for Hideshi Matsuda, 41, of Kawasaki-Shi, Japan, the seventh fastest qualifier for the 1995 edition of the "500." Mike Groff, 33, of Los Angeles, third-place finisher at Phoenix, has been assigned to a Valvoline Cummins Craftsman Special by Walker Racing of Indianapolis.
Johnny O'Connell, 33, of Chandler, Ariz., is an IRL regular standing fourth in League points driving for Cunningham Racing. Blueprint Racing of Blue Island, Ill., filed one entry each for 11-time "500" starter Johnny Parsons, 51, of Indianapolis and rookie Jim Guthrie, 34, of Albuquerque, N.M.
Johnny Unser, 37, of Sun Valley, Idaho, son of late "500" veteran Jerry Unser, has been entered in a pair of Ruger Titanium/Project Indy/Reynards by Project Indy of Brownsburg, Ind.
Scott Harrington, 32, of Indianapolis, who passed his driver's test at Indianapolis in 1989, is listed on two entries by Harrington Motorsports/LP Racing of Lebanon, Ind.
Paul Durant, 36, of Manteca, Calif., the first super modified driver to turn a lap over the 150 mile-per-hour barrier at the mile oval at Phoenix, has been named to drive an ABF Motorsports USA Sunrise Rental Canada entry for ABF Motorsports of Indianapolis.
David Kudrave, 30, of San Pedro, Calif., has been assigned to one of two entries filed by Tempero-Giuffre Racing of Fort Collins, Colo.
Randy Tolsma, 29, of Indianapolis, a veteran of west coast super modifieds and USAC's midget and Silver Crown circuits, is listed on two entries by McCormack Motorsports of Avon, Ind. Dan Drinan, 35, of Indianapolis, will run a Loop Hole Racing car. Jeff Wood, 39, of Wichita, Kan., who passed his driver's test in 1990 at the Speedway and will be looking for his first Indy 500 start, is listed on one of two entries filed by Burns Motorsports of Indianapolis.
Butch Brickell, 38, of Miami, is listed as driver of an entry filed by Brickell Racing Group of Miami. Russ Wicks, 33, of Bellevue, Wash., is named to a pair of Gibson Musical Instruments entries from Osella USA of Indianapolis.
The chassis list shows 52 Lolas, 19 Reynards and six unspecified cars. Engines include 41 Ford Cosworth XBs, 12 Menard V6s, eight Buicks, two Mercedes Ilmors and 14 unspecified.
USAC will announce a minimum speed requirement to make the field on Friday, May 10 that will also serve as the target speed for the top 25 cars in IRL points to secure starting berths.
Qualifications are scheduled for May 11-12 and May 18-19 at the historic 2=BD-mile oval. The=20 Carburetion Day final practice is set for Thursday, May 23.
ABC Sports will televise the race live starting at 11 a.m. EST on May 26. ABC will also carry live telecasts during Pole Day on May 11 and second-day qualifying on May 12. ESPN and ESPN2 will carry live practice, qualifying and special programming throughout the month. QVC has scheduled an Indy 500 special for May 20.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network will air the race live for its 45th year, carry hourly reports on each qualifying day and continue its "Indy Live" evening call-in program on four days during the month.