NAZARETH, Pa., Thursday, April 18, 2002 -- Richie Hearn, of Las Vegas, will replace the injured Eliseo Salazar in the No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone for the April 21 Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway, A.J. Foyt Racing ...
NAZARETH, Pa., Thursday, April 18, 2002 -- Richie Hearn, of Las Vegas, will replace the injured Eliseo Salazar in the No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone for the April 21 Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway, A.J. Foyt Racing announced April 18.
Hearn, 31, competed last month in the Yamaha Indy 400 at California Speedway for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. He finished 14th.
"First, I hope Eliseo gets better quickly," said Hearn, who finished third in the 1996 Indy 500. "This is not the way I want to get a ride, but I appreciate A.J. letting me fill in for this race, and I'll do the best I can."
Salazar was involved in an accident at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway April 16 during private testing for the 86th Indianapolis 500. He is listed in satisfactory condition at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after undergoing successful surgery for a torn vertebral artery.
Salazar, who lives in Miami, has driven for A.J. Foyt Racing since 2000.
Foyt said: "Eliseo had a close call at Indy, but he is going to be OK. It's been tough on our team because he has become a friend, and it really shook us up. We were really looking forward to running here with him but the main thing is that he heals up and takes the time he needs to do it."
Hearn, the 1995 Toyota Atlantic champion, began his Indy Racing career in 1996 and won the race that year at Las Vegas. He spent the next three years in the Championship Auto Racing Series where he posted 15 top-10 finishes including a best finish of fifth at Michigan Speedway.
"Richie is a strong competitor, and he has experience at this track," said Foyt, whose No. 11 car is currently fourth in the IRL team owner standings, "so when I evaluated all the drivers who had called me, he was the best choice."
From 1994 through 1999, Hearn competed for Della Penna Motorsports. He has made sporadic appearances in the Indy Racing League since then with his most recent best finishes coming last year at Colorado Springs, Colo., (9th) and Joliet, Ill., (6th), both in Sam Schmidt Motorsports entries.
Cards and letters may be sent to Eliseo Salazar at:
Indy Racing League
Attention: Eliseo Salazar
4565 W. 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222
Salazar Medical Update: Salazar