IRL: Indianapolis invitations sent out

For Immediate Release ENTRY INVITATIONS MAILED FOR 80th INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, March 14, 1996 -- Entry invitations for the 80th Indianapolis 500 were mailed today to 38 race teams eligible to enter and compete for 33 starting spots...

For Immediate Release

ENTRY INVITATIONS MAILED FOR 80th INDIANAPOLIS 500

INDIANAPOLIS, March 14, 1996 -- Entry invitations for the 80th Indianapolis 500 were mailed today to 38 race teams eligible to enter and compete for 33 starting spots and the world's richest racing payday in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" May 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The entry deadline for the Indy Racing League event is midnight April 5.

Last year's "500" purse was a record $8,063,550 with winner Jacques Villeneuve, now driving in Formula 1, winning $1,312,019.

Among drivers expected to be listed on entries are the Indianapolis track record holders for both qualifying, Roberto Guerrero, and the 500-mile race, Arie Luyendyk.

Guerrero set the current official track marks of 232.618 miles per hour for one lap and 232.482 mph for a four-lap qualification run in 1992. Luyendyk won the legendary event in 1990 and set the Indianapolis 500-mile race record of 185.981 mph.

Guerrero finished fifth in the IRL's inaugural Indy 200 at Walt Disney World in January, driving for Pagan Racing. Luyendyk, driving for Jonathan Byrd/Treadway Racing, is one of several IRL drivers to best the track record at Phoenix during recent testing.

At Indy, 1995 "500" polesitter Scott Brayton returns with Team Menard and will defend his 1995 qualifying performance of 231.604 mph. Team Menard is also expected to enter cars for 1992 front-row veteran Eddie Cheever and the United States Auto Club's 1995 triple champion, rookie Tony Stewart.

Brayton and Luyendyk, his then-Menard teammate, staged a memorable speed duel in practice leading up to Pole Day last year. Luyendyk turned an unofficial practice lap at 234.913 mph on May 12, the fastest lap in the history of the 87-year-old Speedway.

Among several rookies expected to be listed on entries are Buzz Calkins, winner of the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World; Richie Hearn, who qualified for the front row for that race; and Davey Hamilton, driving for four-time "500" winner A.J. Foyt.

The "500", with all reserved seats sold out, will be broadcast live by ABC Sports television and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. More than 70 hours of national television programming on ABC Sports, ESPN and ESPN2 is scheduled surrounding the month of May at the Speedway.

The traditional Speedway opening day with the 500 Festival Mayor's Breakfast and trackside opening ceremonies is Saturday, May 4. The first order of on-track business will be USAC's Rookie Orientation Program, which this year is open to the public and takes place May 4-5-6 rather than the weekend prior to track opening.

IRL teams are currently preparing for the Dura-Lube 200 race at Phoenix International Raceway Sunday, March 24, televised live by ABC Sports and carried by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network.

...96-03...

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Eddie Cheever , Davey Hamilton , Arie Luyendyk , Roberto Guerrero , Richie Hearn , A.J. Foyt