IRL: Luyendyk returns to racing

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk today announced he will end a two-year retirement and return to competition in this May's Indy 500, driving for Treadway-Hubbard Racing. Luyendyk, 47, won auto racing's most...

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk today announced he will end a two-year retirement and return to competition in this May's Indy 500, driving for Treadway-Hubbard Racing.

Luyendyk, 47, won auto racing's most prestigious event in 1990 and 1997. He last drove in the 1999 Indianapolis 500, where he earned pole position and led strongly, until eliminated in a mid-race accident with another car. That was to have been his final event as a driver, but Arie said today he is coming back because his passion to race, and win, at Indy remains strong.

"My desire to keep racing at Indianapolis has never stopped," explained Luyendyk, a native of Holland who now resides in Scottsdale, Ariz. "I was in the broadcast booth at Indy last year, working as a commentator for ABC-TV, and realized that probably wasn't where I really wanted to be. When I said I was going to retire after the 1999 race, it was part of a plan. Well, as we all know, things change in life and I now feel this is the right thing for me to do and I have the support of my wife, Mieke, and family.

"You can put it this way: I'm coming back for the love of the sport, and especially, the love of Indy."

Luyendyk will drive Treadway's G-Force/Aurora/Firestone entry with sponsorship to be announced later. Chief mechanic Skip Faul and engineer Tim Wardrop, both part of the 1997 Indy-winning Teadway/Luyendyk combination, will return in those roles.

Luyendyk has started 15 Indianapolis 500s and owns five major records:

* The one-lap qualifying mark, 237.498 mph, set in 1996. * The four-lap qualifying standard, 236.986 mph, also in 1996. (Arie actually started 20th that year because he was a second-day qualifier.) * The 500-mile average speed record, 185.981 mph, in 1990. * The single-event prize money total of $1,568,150, in 1997, and all-time prize total with some $5.5 million in earnings.

Luyendyk debuted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1985 and finished seventh to earn Rookie of the Year honors. He started third in 1990, led 37 laps, and set the race average speed standard en route to victory lane. After a third-place result in 1991, Arie claimed the pole in 1993, ran in front for 14 laps, and finished second. He started and finished first in 1997, led 62 laps, to become one of only 15 drivers to have won the race more than once.

Treadway Racing is one of the most successful teams in Indy Racing Northern Light Series history and Luyendyk first joined the team in 1996. Owner Fred Treadway said: "Arie and I are good friends. I have told Arie all along that I would support whatever decision he made. Now that Arie has decided to drive again in the Indianapolis 500, I am very happy he will do so with Treadway Racing."

-TR

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Arie Luyendyk