IRL: Indy500: St. James, R. Unser, R. Cheever, Boesel to drive at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 12, 2000 - Lyn St. James, Robby Unser, Ross Cheever and Raul Boesel were named May 12 to drive in the 84th Indianapolis 500, potentially adding new milestones to the history of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 12, 2000 - Lyn St. James, Robby Unser, Ross Cheever and Raul Boesel were named May 12 to drive in the 84th Indianapolis 500, potentially adding new milestones to the history of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” This is the first time in the 84-year history of the race that two women will attempt to qualify. St. James, who will drive for Dick Simon Racing, joins rookie Sarah Fisher on the driver list for the Indy Racing Northern Light Series event May 28. The addition of Unser, who will drive for Jonathan Byrd-McCormack Motorsports, to the driver list could put three members of the famous racing family into the same Indianapolis 500 field for the first time. His cousins, two-time winner Al Unser Jr. and Johnny Unser, will drive for Galles ECR Racing and Indy Regency Racing, respectively. Cheever joins Team Cheever, owned by his older brother, 1998 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. If Eddie and Ross Cheever both qualify, they would be the first brothers in the starting lineup since Mike and Robbie Groff in 1997. 1996 winner Buddy Lazier and his younger brother, Jaques, also are driving this year at Indianapolis and could achieve the feat. St. James, 53, from Daytona Beach, Fla., will drive the #90 Dick Simon Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone. An identical backup car has been entered. Steve Melson is the chief mechanic. The Simon team will unveil a new major sponsor for St. James’ entry during a press conference at 10:15 a.m. (local time) May 13 in the press conference room at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. St. James will attempt to make her seventh Indianapolis start. Her best finish was 11th in 1992, when she earned the Bank One Rookie of the Year Award in a Simon-owned entry. “I am very honored to be back at the Speedway with Dick for the first Indianapolis 500 of the century, and I am also very excited about the major sponsor that we will unveil Saturday morning,” St. James said. Unser, 32, from Albuquerque, N.M., will drive the #29 Jonathan Byrd-McCormack/Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria Riley & Scott/Oldsmobile/Firestone. An identical backup car has been entered. Mike Haisley is the chief mechanic. Unser will attempt to make his third consecutive Indianapolis 500 start. His best finish was fifth as a rookie in 1998 in a Team Cheever entry. “I’m always happy to be able to run here, and I think that this team is going to perform really well,” Unser said. “I can’t wait to get a hold of this new Riley & Scott to show everybody what it is capable of here at the Speedway. Right now, my motivation level is through the roof because before the season started, the Riley & Scott was the car I picked as the best race car. Now I’ve got the opportunity to prove it.” Cheever, 36, from Tampa, Fla., will drive the #52 Team Cheever/Infiniti/Firestone Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone entry. An identical backup car also was entered. Cheever completed the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program last month and has served as a test driver for Team Cheever and the Infiniti Indy engine since last winter. “I’m very excited and extremely grateful to have the opportunity to run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Cheever said. “The Indianapolis 500 is such an important race, and everything surrounding it is so different from the type of racing that I’m used to. “The Speedway is an awesome facility. It’s difficult to put into words what I felt when I was on the track for the first time during the Open Test (in April), and I certainly can’t predict what I’ll feel if I get to start the 84th Indy 500 with that huge crowd of spectators. “Still, Infiniti and Team Cheever have given me the chance to run a lot of testing miles, and we have a fantastic crew that knows how to run at the front. I’m hopeful that everything will come together, and I’ll be making my Indy 500 debut in the #52 car on May 28.” Boesel, 42, from Key Biscayne, Fla., will drive the #55 EPSON G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone fielded by Treadway Racing-Vertex Cunningham Racing. No backup car was entered. Boesel will attempt to make his 12th Indianapolis start. His best finish was third in 1989. He also was fourth in 1993, leading 18 laps. Practice starts May 13, with Pole Day May 20 and MBNA Bump Day May 21. Coors Carb Day is May 25.

-IRL/IMS-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Raul Boesel , Lyn St. James , Johnny Unser , Robby Unser , Ross Cheever , Dick Simon