IRL: Indy 500: Rice to miss 2005 Indy race

REIGNING CHAMP RICE TO MISS 89th INDIANAPOLIS 500 Injury sustained in May 11 crash will keep defending champion sidelined INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, May 17, 2005 -- Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice will not compete in the 89th ...

REIGNING CHAMP RICE TO MISS 89th INDIANAPOLIS 500
Injury sustained in May 11 crash will keep defending champion sidelined

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, May 17, 2005 -- Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice will not compete in the 89th Indianapolis 500 on May 29 due to an injury sustained in a practice crash earlier this month.

Rice was injured May 11 in a single-car accident in Turn 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he prepared for the Indianapolis 500. Rice sustained a concussion and a severe back contusion.

According to Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League and Indianapolis Motor Speedway senior director of medical services, further evaluation of Rice revealed a partially torn spinal ligament in his mid to lower neck area. The ligament is essential to maintaining the alignment of the spine.

Doctors have recommended rest and rehabilitation, and Rice will be re-assessed in approximately three weeks.

"Needless to say, I am extremely disappointed that I won't be able to defend my Indy 500 championship," Rice said. "I have spent the last several months thinking about, working toward and planning how I would defend my Indy 500 victory. Physically, I feel fine, but I have to trust the Speedway and IRL medical team because they are looking out for my safety. I am optimistic that I will be cleared for Texas and will be able to get back in the car. I plan to stay here in Indy and help our team in anyway I can.

"I think this team can win the Borg-Warner Trophy again, and I hope I can assist them in accomplishing that goal."

Said Bobby Rahal, team co-owner and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner: "This has been a difficult obstacle for Buddy. Our first concern is that he recover physically from the accident, and we have been assured by Dr. Bock that in this case that the time off will be the solution. Our intent is to move forward over the next two weeks with a replacement driver who will qualify and race the No. 15 Argent/Pioneer Honda car."

Rahal Letterman Racing will announce its plans for the No. 15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Honda/Panoz/Firestone entry in a press conference Wednesday, May 18, at 9:30 a.m. (local time) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Trackside Conference Room.

-ims-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Buddy Rice