IRL: Junqueira joins driver list for Indy 500

Junqueira to Drive PacifiCare Entry for Newman/Haas at Indy INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, April 26, 2004 -- Bruno Junqueira, MBNA Pole winner for the 2002 Indianapolis 500, will drive a PacifiCare-sponsored entry for Newman/Haas Racing in the 88th ...

Junqueira to Drive PacifiCare Entry for Newman/Haas at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, April 26, 2004 -- Bruno Junqueira, MBNA Pole winner for the 2002 Indianapolis 500, will drive a PacifiCare-sponsored entry for Newman/Haas Racing in the 88th Indianapolis 500 on May 30, team officials announced April 26.

It is the first Indy entry for the successful team since 1995.

Junqueira, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, will be behind the wheel of the No. 36 PacifiCare Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone for his third start in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Junqueira will participate in the Indianapolis 500 Open Test on April 27-28.

"I'm really happy to return to the Indy 500 with Newman/Haas Racing, and I'm really happy that PacifiCare will be with us," said Junqueira, 27. "The Honda engine has shown it has a lot of power and reliability, and Newman/Haas Racing has a good package with the G-Force chassis and Firestone tires."

Junqueira started 20th and finished fifth in his Indy debut in 2001 with Target Chip Ganassi Racing. He won the MBNA Pole in 2002 with Ganassi at 231.342 mph and led the first 32 laps of the race before being sidelined with gearbox problems.

Veteran Jim McGee, director of special projects for Newman/Haas Racing, will lead the program from a satellite office located in Gasoline Alley. McGee has been involved in four Indianapolis 500 victories (1969, 1979, 1982, 1989).

Tim Wardrop will be the engineer. Wardrop worked with Arie Luyendyk in 1996 when he set records for the fastest qualifying lap and four-lap qualifying run in Indianapolis 500 history.

"We feel we have assembled a competitive program for our return to the Indianapolis 500," said Carl Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing. "Bruno has had some success in his two previous Indy 500's, and we believe that with the Honda/G Force/Firestone combination, Bruno is capable of putting PacifiCare and Newman/Haas Racing in the winner's circle.

"Newman/Haas Racing has led many laps in the Indianapolis 500, and hopefully this year will be no different -- except that we hope to lead the final lap."

Newman/Haas has competed in 13 previous Indianapolis 500-Mile Races with such drivers as Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell and Paul Tracy. The team's best finish in the race is second by Mario Andretti in 1985 and Michael Andretti in 1991. Mario Andretti won the pole in a Newman/Haas car in 1987.

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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 Arie Luyendyk , Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Nigel Mansell , Mario Andretti , Carl Haas , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing