IRL: Indy 500: Richie Hearn Pole Day notes

Hearn Indy Time Trial Inspires Team at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Oh., May 17, 2005 -- When Richie Hearn put in a strong qualifying run for this year's Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 15, it inspired his Star Mazda team to show the boss that they could...

Hearn Indy Time Trial Inspires Team at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Oh., May 17, 2005 -- When Richie Hearn put in a strong qualifying run for this year's Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 15, it inspired his Star Mazda team to show the boss that they could do as well at this weekend's ALMS at Mid-Ohio Star Mazda race. Hearn made his debut as a car owner in the Star Mazda Series North American Championship at Mid-Ohio in 2004. Now, one year later, the Las Vegas-based operation returns with two-cars and podium finishes in the first two events of the year. Hearn Motorsports has entered second year Hearn driver Brian Thienes (Huntington Beach, Calif.) in the Thienes Engineering No. 77 Star Mazda. In the second entry, the No. 70, the Henderson, Nevada-resident will start Star Mazda rookie and karting standout Alan Sciuto (Orange, Calif.). It will be Sciuto's first start in Star Mazda and one of his first starts in a racing car.

The Indy qualifying run in the No. 70 Meijer/Coca-Cola Special Panoz/Chevrolet will allow Hearn, who qualified 20th for his sixth Indy 500, to attend this weekend's Star Mazda event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Despite having placed a strong team to operate the Star Mazda operation, Hearn's presence as driving coach is a major benefit to Thienes and Sciuto. The No. 70 currently sits second in team championship points while Thienes is 12th in driver points overall and second in Expert Series standings for driver between 30-44 years old.

In the team's 2004 premiere at the 2.25-mile, 13-turn facility in Lexington, Oh., the No. 70 qualified and took the checkered flag in fifth-place. Hearn, with the assistance of renowned open wheel engineer Darrel Soppe, hopes to better that performance in Saturday's 45-minute race. Thienes and Sciuto will get their first laps on the famous Mid-Ohio track Thursday, May 19, in an open test day. Practice and qualifying will take place on Friday. The race will be broadcast on SPEED on June 5th at 1 pm eastern.

Richie Hearn: "I prepared the team as much as possible to be there without me. But I'm going to be able to make it on Saturday to watch the guys qualify and race after all. It's the first race with Alan and we're just looking to have a good run, for him to gain some experience and prepare him for some more races later this year. Brian is looking forward to going back to Mid-Ohio. He has run well there before so his confidence is high. I think, from our results from last year, we have some good data and both the cars should finish in the top-15, top-10, and we'll go to Montreal from there."

For more on Hearn Motorsports and its 2005 Pro Formula Mazda Series' effort please visit www.richiehearn.com. For more on Alan Sciuto please visit www.alansciuto.com. More on Brian Thienes can be found at www.thienesengineering.com .

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Richie Hearn , Alan Sciuto , Brian Thienes