Ray to step out of Foyt Racing's ...
Ray to step out of Foyt Racing's #41 car for the final two races of 2002.
DALLAS, Aug. 28, 2002 - Former Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray has announced that he has requested to be released as driver of the #41 Foyt Racing entry at the final two events of the 2002 Indy Racing League season in order to pursue other opportunities.
"Aside from leading 41 laps at Richmond earlier this year, it's obvious that our overall performance has not met our expectations - neither mine, nor those of my team at Foyt Racing," said Ray, who won the league title in 1999 and has five career victories and a league-record 14 poles to his credit.
Ray joined Foyt Racing at this year's Indianapolis 500 after spending the 1999, 2000 and 2001 seasons with Team Menard. He also drove last season's finale at Texas for Foyt Racing.
"The reality of the situation is that right now we are a three-car team operating on a single-car budget," Ray continued. "That means we are stretching people and resources way beyond their original intentions. The mechanical failures and other problems we've encountered are due to the limited supply and excessive demands we have had to put on our people and equipment, and that puts a strain on the entire team, from top to bottom."
"Therefore, considering where we are in the points championship, it makes total sense at this point for me to step out of the car and focus my time and energy on developing business opportunities to create a winning program. That is the most appropriate thing to do in this situation - for Foyt Racing, and for Greg Ray."
Ray stressed that he is under contract to Foyt Racing through the 2003 season, and that he plans to continue working with the team to build a competitive effort through the duration of that contract and beyond.
"A.J. Foyt made a commitment to me for this year and for next season regardless of the sponsorship situation," Ray said. "A.J. is a man of his word, and in his heart of hearts, he keeps the commitments he makes. But I believe it's in no one's best interest for me to run a third car at Chicago and Texas. I would certainly love to run Chicago and Texas with another team, if an opportunity presents itself. But my main focus is to develop a race-winning program for 2003, and hopefully we can make that happen at Foyt Racing. As for now, this is certainly a difficult decision, but the IRL is so competitive that it's nearly impossible to be successful when you're operating beyond your resources."