Al Unser Jr.--A renewed passion and a revived number. INDIANAPOLIS (February 1, 2003)--Kelley Racing is pleased to announce that they have secured car No. 31 for driver Al Unser Jr. and the Corteco/Bryant entry for the 2003 IndyCar season. ...
Al Unser Jr.--A renewed passion and a revived number.
INDIANAPOLIS (February 1, 2003)--Kelley Racing is pleased to announce that they have secured car No. 31 for driver Al Unser Jr. and the Corteco/Bryant entry for the 2003 IndyCar season. "There was a request from another team to change to the No. 7 car that had been on the Corteco/Bryant entry in the 2002 season," explained team owner Tom Kelley. "So when the topic came up about changing car numbers Al made an enthusiastic suggestion that he return to the No. 31 car. For Al, the first year (1994) he ran No. 31 on his car it was an incredible season for him. So knowing that, how could we say no?"
For Al Unser Jr. the change to car No. 31 hints at a bit of superstition that is normally non-existent for this two-time Indianapolis 500 and two-time open wheel champion. "In 1994, it was my first year running for Penske Racing. Roger (Penske) and I were discussing what car number should be on the entry. Personally, my favorite number has always been the number three and our goal for that season was to always be in position one on the time charts and to put the number one on the car when we won the championship. That was how we came up with the number 31 for that season's entry and much to our surprise the 1994 season was incredible! I won the Indianapolis 500 after starting from the pole, the CART Championship, eight races and four pole positions. So you can see how it was easy for me to have a new favorite number, 31. I guess maybe I'm a little superstitious when it comes to the car No. 31 but it certainly can't hurt anything. I think changing our car number goes with my attitude that this is a new season and a new determination for us to be successful this year."
The primary sponsor of the number 31 entry, Corteco, is pleased with the number change and John Baldacci, vice president of sales/marketing, thinks that this number change may be just the catalyst needed for a successful season. "2003 is shaping up to be an exciting season for both Corteco and our driver, Al Unser Jr.," said Baldacci. "We were with Al and the Kelley Racing team in Indianapolis this month and the enthusiasm to get the season underway was incredible. I think we are all looking forward to a successful year and if changing our car number to 31 has any impact, we're all for that new number."
The Kelley Racing team is currently preparing for their next round of testing, which will be held February 4 at the California Speedway and February 7-8 at Phoenix International Raceway. The team will then set their sights on the IndyCar season opener, the Toyota 300, which will be held March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.