IRL: Honda, NHR partner for Indy 500

Newman/Haas Racing Joins Honda Indianapolis Effort TORRANCE, Calif. (April 26, 2004) Honda has further strengthened its lineup for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 with the addition of a one-car entry from Newman/Haas Racing for driver...

Newman/Haas Racing Joins Honda Indianapolis Effort

TORRANCE, Calif. (April 26, 2004) Honda has further strengthened its lineup for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 with the addition of a one-car entry from Newman/Haas Racing for driver Bruno Junqueira. The addition of the Newman/Haas team gives Honda a total of 11 entries for the 500-mile classic, the largest ever for the manufacturer.

Brazilian Junqueira, now in his second season with Newman/Haas, will drive a PacifiCare-sponsored Honda/G-Force/Firestone entry for the team. In his first Indianapolis 500 in 2001, Junqueira earned "Rookie of the Year" for his fifth-place finish after starting 20th. The following year he won the pole and led the first 32 laps before mechanical problems ended his race.

"We are excited to have Newman/Haas and Bruno as part of what we believe is a very strong lineup of Honda entries for the Indianapolis 500," said Robert Clarke, vice president and general manager of Honda Performance Development. "During the past two decades, Newman/Haas has proven itself to be one of the top teams in open-wheel racing. Their addition, along with our other entries from Andretti Green Racing, Team Rahal, Access Motorsports and the Fernandez organization, will give Honda a formidable lineup as we seek our first `500' victory."

The 2004 Indianapolis 500 will mark the fourth appearance for Honda at the Memorial Day classic. Last year's race included the best result yet for Honda, with three drivers finishing in the top ten, led by Tony Kanaan in third place, Greg Ray in eighth and Roger Yasukawa 10th. In 1995, Scott Goodyear started on the front row and led 42 laps, until he was penalized for passing the pace car in a late-race restart.

"We feel we have assembled a competitive program for our return to the Indianapolis 500," said Carl Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing. "Throughout Honda's history in racing, they have shown their willingness to commit to excellence and that concept, in conjunction with Newman/Haas Racing's track record, makes this Indy 500 joint venture very exciting. Bruno has had some success in his two previous Indy 500s and we believe that with the Honda/G-Force/Firestone combination, Bruno is capable of putting PacifiCare and Newman/Haas Racing in the winner's circle."

The 2004 race will mark the 14th for Newman/Haas Racing in the Indianapolis 500. Prior to 2004, the team prepared a total of 20 entries for drivers such as Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell and Paul Tracy. Newman/Haas Racing's highest finishes in the Indianapolis 500 were second with Mario Andretti in 1985 and Michael Andretti in 1991; and third with Nigel Mansell in his first attempt in 1993. Mario Andretti also brought the team its highest start in the event when he won the pole position in 1987.

Jim McGee, director of special projects for Newman/Haas Racing, will lead the Indianapolis 500 program for Newman/Haas with Tim Wardrop serving as race engineer. One of the most successful teams in open-wheel racing, Newman/Haas has compiled a record of 73 wins, 78 pole positions and 184 podium (top-three) finishes in 21 seasons of racing competition.

"I'm really happy to return to the Indy 500 with Newman/Haas Racing and I'm really happy that PacifiCare will be with us," said Junqueira, 27. "In 2001, I finished fifth, even though it was only the second oval race I ever ran. In 2002, I was able to practice more and I put the car on pole. The car was good in the race and I think we had a chance to win if we didn't have problems. The Honda engine has shown it has a lot of power and reliability and Newman/Haas Racing has a good package with the G- Force chassis and Firestone tires."

<pre> The complete Honda line-up for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 includes:

Access Motorsports Greg Ray #13 Honda Panoz G-Force

Andretti Green Racing    Bryan Herta            # 7 Honda Dallara
                         Tony Kanaan            #11 Honda Dallara
                         Dan Wheldon            #26 Honda Dallara
                         Dario Franchitti       #27 Honda Dallara
Fernandez Racing         Adrian Fernandez       # 5 Honda Panoz G-Force
Super Aguri Fernandez    Kosuke Matsuura        #55 Honda Panoz G-Force

Newman/Haas Racing Bruno Junqueira TBA Honda Panoz G-Force

Team Rahal               Buddy Rice             #15 Honda Panoz G-Force
                         Roger Yasukawa         #16 Honda Panoz G-Force
                         Vitor Meira            #17 Honda Panoz G-Force


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Scott Goodyear , Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Nigel Mansell , Dan Wheldon , Mario Andretti , Roger Yasukawa , Buddy Rice , Carl Haas , Kosuke Matsuura , Robert Clark , Vitor Meira