IRL: Indy 500: Jeff Simmons added to driver list

Simmons Lands Indy 500 Chance with Mo Nunn Racing INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 22, 2004 -- Jeff Simmons is one of the Indy Racing League's founding principles in microcosm -- provide opportunities for new sponsors, teams and drivers to enter the...

Simmons Lands Indy 500 Chance with Mo Nunn Racing

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 22, 2004 -- Jeff Simmons is one of the Indy Racing League's founding principles in microcosm -- provide opportunities for new sponsors, teams and drivers to enter the sport at the highest level.

Simmons, who finished second in the Futaba Freedom 100 on May 22 for A.J. Foyt Racing, will attempt to qualify May 23 for his first Indianapolis 500 in the No. 21 Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. Simmons said he expected to get some seat time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway late in the afternoon practice session May 22.

"This is just great," said Simmons, who will join Tora Takagi with Mo Nunn Racing. "I'm getting the opportunity of a lifetime and I'm thankful to Mo Nunn, (team manager) Peter Parrott and everyone at the IRL that has helped put this together for me.

"I just had a great run in the Pro Series and, to be honest, that helped give me the chance."

Simmons started third in the Futaba Freedom 100 and led the race briefly before being passed on Lap 13 by eventual race winner Thiago Medeiros. Simmons finished fourth in the inaugural Freedom 100 last year.

"The race today had something to do with this deal coming together," he said. "It goes to show that IndyCar Series team owners are watching the Pro Series races, and they are looking for new talent.

"Once upon a time (drivers) couldn't get there without bringing a whole lot of money, but that's starting to turn around. I'm just looking forward to this opportunity, and I can't thank the IRL and Mo Nunn Racing enough."

Simmons, 27, finished second in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship as a rookie in 2003. He compiled two victories (back-to-back at Gateway and Kentucky) and two pole starting positions in 12 starts.

The Hartford, Conn., native is the only two-time winner of the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship (1998-99).

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Tickets: Tickets are available for the 2004 Indianapolis 500 on May 30. For information, log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or call the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tora Takagi , Jeff Simmons , A.J. Foyt , Mo Nunn , Thiago Medeiros