IRL: Kelley Racing announces third team

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- August 5, 2002 -- Tom Kelley, owner of Indianapolis based Kelley Racing today announced the addition of a third Indy Racing League team to be driven by Tony Renna for the remainder of the 2002 season. The ...

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- August 5, 2002 -- Tom Kelley, owner of Indianapolis based Kelley Racing today announced the addition of a third Indy Racing League team to be driven by Tony Renna for the remainder of the 2002 season. The #78 Kelley Racing entry will be known as the Kruse Special and will carry the name of KRUSE.

"When Tony joined Kelley Racing in May, 2002, we knew he was a very talented driver," said Kelley. "He is also a committed team player. Tony did a phenomenal job filling in for Al (Unser, Jr.) in the #7 Corteco/Bryant car and has been very successful working as a driving coach for Jason Priestley, our HomeMed Pharmacy Infiniti Series Pro team driver. We are happy to have the opportunity to put Tony in our third IRL entry for the remainder of the 2002 season."

"It is an honor for Kelley Racing to form this alliance with the Dean V. Kruse Foundation," Kelley continued. "Our families have enjoyed a special relationship for many years with our Northeast Indiana roots. The vision of the Kruse Foundation to preserve American History with the Automotive Museum at American Heritage Village is an especially rewarding project for our team. At the conclusion of the 2002 racing season, Kelley Racing will have a permanent display in the Museum's Indianapolis 500 display area that will feature the car, driver's uniform and other Kelley Racing memorabilia."

The Dean V. Kruse Foundation was created in 1998 from the proceeds of the sale of Kruse Auctions to EBay designed to provide a world-class park celebrating America's Heritage. The goal of American Heritage Village is to create an environment and supporting facilities to attract visitors from around the world to the Auburn, Indiana community for multiple days.

"The Kelley family, especially Tom, has helped many worthwhile community projects in Northeast Indiana," said Dean V. Kruse, President of the Museums. "They have helped in many ways that most people don't even know about. My Dad went to school with Tom's Dad, Jim, near Spencerville, Indiana. It will be an honor to have a permanent display of the Kelley Racing team in our museum."

The 200,000 square foot Museums located at I-69 and CR 11-A in Auburn is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world. Another addition soon to be announced will make it second in size to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

"With Jim Kelley being a World War II veteran, the addition of his family to the Foundation, is icing on the cake for these monumental projects," Kruse concluded. "We are looking forward to this association and the mutual benefit to both Kelley Racing and the Kruse Foundation."

Renna, a Deland, FL native, began his racing career in quarter midgets and go-karts earning over 250 victories prior to moving to the Skip Barber Formula Ford series. After capturing the series championship, Renna did a stint in Europe competing in British Formula 3.

Upon his return to the United States, Renna moved into the Barber Dodge Pro Series. His success there vaulted him to an opportunity in the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Series where he captured his first win at Michigan and scored numerous top-three and top-five finishes.

Renna joined Kelley Racing in May 2002 as IRL test driver and driving coach for Priestley. He is 25 years old and currently resides in Las Vegas, NV.

"This is the most exciting opportunity of my racing career," said Renna. "To be associated with organizations the caliber of Kelley Racing and Kruse Automotive Museum is truly the opportunity of a lifetime. Every component to be a successful team has been put in place in a short period of time. Having worked with everyone at Kelley Racing since May gives me complete confidence that we will have the best of everything when we unload at Kentucky Speedway."

"I thoroughly enjoyed the two races subbing for Al, Jr. but knew from the beginning I would assume my original role with Kelley Racing when Al returned to the cockpit of the #7 car. Now to be given the chance to team with Kelley Racing's great drivers, Scott Sharp and Al Jr. is an honor for me as a young driver. I will have the ability to learn from the best the sport has to offer."

Kelley Racing has accumulated seven wins and eight poles in Indy Racing League competition. Formed in 1997, the team is enjoying its sixth IRL season. Kelley Racing was one of the first teams to pledge an entry for the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series whose inaugural season began in June 2002.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Tony Renna , Jason Priestley