INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, August 2, 2001 - Bradley Motorsports announced today that Richie Hearn has joined the 1996 Indy Racing co-championship team. Though future plans are not definite at this time, Hearn will take his first test laps with the...
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, August 2, 2001 - Bradley Motorsports announced today that Richie Hearn has joined the 1996 Indy Racing co-championship team. Though future plans are not definite at this time, Hearn will take his first test laps with the team Friday, August 3, at Kentucky Speedway. The ever-increasing competitive nature of the IRL was the leading factor in the decision to run Hearn at this point. Should all go well, the team is considering running a two-car effort in 2002.
"We feel that adding a second driver will help accelerate the results of our testing program," said Brad Calkins, owner of Bradley Motorsports. "Although there are many capable and deserving drivers out there, Richie's name kept coming up first. His talent, his past relationship with David [Cripps, Bradley team manager and chief engineer] and his potential sponsorship associations kept bringing Richie to the top of the list. David and I both feel that Richie and Buzz's talents complement one another. It is my view that Richie can give us a real advantage. Nothing is definite but, if everything were to go well with the testing program, we'd like to run Richie in a race before the year is out."
"Richie has been someone I've known since '96 when we first started in the IRL together," offered primary driver Buzz Calkins. "He is someone I believe has a great deal of talent and someone I consider a good friend. We decided, if we were going to do two-cars, let's start laying the foundation for the future now. I think by having Richie join the team we are doing just that. We aren't a two-car team yet but this will help us reach that goal."
Hearn comes to Bradley Motorsports with a stellar resume. He won the 1996 Indy Racing event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, has a career high finish of third at Indianapolis (also in 1996) in two starts and earned 15 top-10 finishes in his three year CART career. Most recently he drove in the IRL for Sam Schmidt Motorsports at the Pikes Peak International Raceway event in June. Many of Hearn's strongest runs were with David Cripps as his engineer. The two will be re-united at Bradley Motorsports and hope to rekindle the spark they had previously.
"I'm excited about getting to work with Richie again," said Cripps. "We have had some great success together in the past with the victory at Vegas, the third at Indy and the pole at Loudon [1996, New Hampshire International Speedway]. I think he'll be a great asset to our team. I am very hopeful we can put together a program to make a great two-car team that will double our chance at victory."
Hearn, who was the highest finishing rookie at Indy in 1996, is looking forward to his chance to contribute to Bradley Motorsports. "I've been sitting around looking for something to do," said Hearn. "I am really excited about getting back in a car and getting to work with David again. We had a lot of success together in the past. I am also looking forward to working with Brad and Buzz. Hopefully, I can contribute to the team and we can put our program together to join Bradley in the near future."
The primary Bradley Motorsports' entry of Buzz Calkins will next compete on August 10-12th at Kentucky Speedway.