IRL: Andy Hillenburg to drive for new team in Indy 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 23, 2000 - Fast Track Racing Enterprises, Inc., a new team, has entered a primary and backup car into the 84th Indianapolis 500 for driver Andy Hillenburg. Hillenburg, an Indianapolis native now living...

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 23, 2000 - Fast Track Racing Enterprises, Inc., a new team, has entered a primary and backup car into the 84th Indianapolis 500 for driver Andy Hillenburg. Hillenburg, an Indianapolis native now living in Harrisburg, N.C., will drive the #48 The Sumar Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Practice starts May 13 for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," with Pole Day May 20 and Race Day May 28. Fast Track Racing Enterprises, based in Harrisburg, N.C., also entered a Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone backup machine for Hillenburg, an Indianapolis 500 rookie with a wealth of open-wheel and stock-car experience. Tim Bumps is chief mechanic, and Wayne Leary is team manager. Hillenburg, 36, will participate in the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program on April 7-8 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He is a partial owner of the new team. "I grew up in Indianapolis, 12 miles from the Speedway," Hillenburg said. "It's always been my dream to drive in the Indianapolis 500, and finally I'm going to get my shot." Hillenburg is one of the most versatile racers in the United States. In stock cars, he has competed in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch and Busch North Series and the ARCA Series. He won the 1995 ARCA championship and the prestigious Daytona ARCA 200 in 1995 and 1997. Hillenburg also is a regular test driver for the IROC all-star series, which competes annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Despite his recent success in stock-car racing, open-wheel racing always has been special to Hillenburg, president of the Fast Track High Performance Driving School. He started racing in a quarter midget in 1975 in the Indianapolis area and then moved to sprint-car racing in 1980. He was sprint-car champion at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway in 1985. He also competed in USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series and MCI WorldCom Midget Series events from 1985-90. "I've logged thousands of laps at Indy testing IROC cars and in a few Winston Cup test sessions but never at 220 mph without fenders," Hillenburg said. "I couldn't be more excited about this opportunity. It means more to me than you'll ever know." The chance to run at Indy also is special to Hillenburg's partners in the team, Preston Root, Bill Simpson and Usona Purcell. Root's father, the late Chapman Root, owned The Sumar Special car that Pat O'Connor drove to the pole in the 1957 Indianapolis 500. Hillenburg's car will carry the same name this May in honor of Chapman Root and O'Connor. Fast Track's entry also marks the return of chief mechanic Bumps to the Speedway. Bumps spent nine years at Penske Racing with 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner Danny Sullivan before moving to Newman-Haas Racing and driver Michael Andretti. Bumps spent the last two seasons as team manager for PPI Racing in CART.

<pre> 2000 INDIANAPOLIS 500 ENTRIES (as of March 23) Driver Entrant Car C/E/T/Entry Date Scott Goodyear Panther Racing #4 #4T Pennzoil Panther Dallara D/O/F Feb. 14 Jeret Schroeder Tri Star Motorsports #6, #6T Armour Swift Ekrich- Tristarmall.com D/O/F Feb. 23 Jack Miller Tri Star Motorsports #21, #21T Milk Chug-Opalescence- Century 21-Tristarmall.com D/O/F Feb. 23 Stephan Gregoire Dick Simon Racing #7, #7T Dick Simon Racing-Mexmil- Tokheim-Viking Air Tools G/O/F Feb. 24 Jimmy Vasser Target/Chip Ganassi Racing #15, #15T Target G/O/F Feb. 28 Juan Montoya Target/Chip Ganassi Racing #10, #10T Target G/O/F Feb. 28 Al Unser Jr. Galles ECR Racing #3, #3T Galles ECR Racing Tickets.com Starz Encore Superpak G/O/F Feb. 29 Tyce Carlson Hubbard-Immke Racing #20, #20T Hubbard Photographics- Immke Auto Group-Dallara D/O/F Feb. 29 Robbie Buhl Dreyer & Reinbold Racing #24, #24T Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G/TBA/F March 1 Eliseo Salazar A.J. Foyt Enterprises #11, #11T Rio-A.J. Foyt Racing G/O/F March 3 Jeff Ward A.J. Foyt Enterprises #14, #14T Harrah's-A.J. Foyt Racing G/O/F March 3 TBA A.J. Foyt/Kenny Brack Motorsports #41, #41T Foyt/Brack Motorsports G/O/F March 3 Buzz Calkins Bradley Motorsport #12, #12T Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat D/O/F March 6 Scott Sharp Kelley Racing #8, #8T Delphi Automotive Systems- MCI WorldCom D/O/F March 8 Mark Dismore Kelley Racing #28, #28T On Star-GM BuyPower- Bryant Heating and Cooling D/O/F March 8 Greg Ray Team Menard, Inc. #1, #1T Team Conseco-Quaker State- Moen-Menards D/O/F March 8 TBA Team Menard, Inc. #32 Team Conseco-Quaker State- Moen-Menards D/O/F March 8 Jimmy Kite Blueprint Racing Enterprises, LLC #27, #27T Founders Bank Group-Zmax- Blueprint Racing Special G/O/F March 17 Andy Hillenburg Fast Track Racing Enterprises, Inc. #48, #48T The Sumar Special D/O/F March 23 Key: C/E/T-Chassis/engine/tire; D-Dallara; F-Firestone; G-G Force; O-Oldsmobile; TBA - To be announced

ENTRY SUMMARY

DRIVERS (17) Former race winners: Al Unser Jr., 2 (1992, 1994). Former pole winners: Al Unser Jr., 1 (1994). Rookies (2): Andy Hillenburg, Juan Montoya. U.S. born (12): Robbie Buhl, Buzz Calkins, Tyce Carlson, Mark Dismore, Andy Hillenburg, Jimmy Kite, Jack Miller, Greg Ray, Jeret Schroeder, Scott Sharp, Al Unser Jr., Jimmy Vasser. Foreign born (5): Scott Goodyear, Canada; Stephan Gregoire, France; Juan Montoya, Colombia; Eliseo Salazar, Chile; Jeff Ward, Scotland. Youngest: Jimmy Kite, 24 (Feb. 18, 1976). Oldest: Eliseo Salazar, 44 (Nov. 14, 1955). Most previous starts: Al Unser Jr., 12.

CARS (37) Chassis: Dallara 19, G Force 18. Engines: Oldsmobile 35; TBA 2.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Al Unser Jr. , Robbie Buhl , Eliseo Salazar , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Jeret Schroeder , Jimmy Kite , Kenny Brack , Andy Hillenburg , Danny Sullivan , Tyce Carlson , Chip Ganassi , Dick Simon , A.J. Foyt , Jack Miller
Teams A.J. Foyt Enterprises , Panther Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , Team Penske