Junqueira to Drive PacifiCare Honda/G-Force/Firestone Entry in '04 INDIANAPOLIS (April 26, 2004) --- Newman/Haas Racing unveiled its program for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in advance of a ...
Junqueira to Drive PacifiCare Honda/G-Force/Firestone Entry in '04
INDIANAPOLIS (April 26, 2004) --- Newman/Haas Racing unveiled its program for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in advance of a two-day open test scheduled for April 27-28. Brazilian Bruno Junqueira, who has competed for the team since 2003, will drive a PacifiCare-sponsored Honda/G-Force/Firestone entry in the event set for May 30.
In his first Indianapolis 500 in 2001, Junqueira earned "Rookie of the Year" for his fifth-place finish after starting 20th. The following year he won the pole and led the first 32 laps before engine failure ended his race in 31st place.
"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. "In 2001 I finished fifth even though it was only the second oval race I ever ran. In 2002, I was able to practice more and I put the car on pole. The car was good in the race and I think we had a chance to win if we didn't have problems. 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."
Jim McGee, director of special projects for Newman/Haas Racing will lead the program from a satellite office located in Gasoline Alley. With 45 years of experience in the racing industry, McGee has amassed the most victories by a manager/chief mechanic with 89 and has also been involved in four Indianapolis 500 titles (1969, 1979, 1982, 1989). A dedicated group of employees based in Indianapolis will handle the overall program while Lincolnshire-based employees will also be adding their support to the effort. Tim Wardrop, who currently holds the record for the fastest practice lap, qualifying lap and fastest four-lap average at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will be the race engineer.
"We feel we have assembled a competitive program for our return to the Indianapolis 500," said Carl Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing. "Through Honda's past history in racing, they have shown their willingness to commit to excellence and that concept in conjunction with Newman/Haas Racing's track record makes this Indy 500 joint venture very exciting. 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."
The 2004 race will mark the 14th for Newman/Haas Racing in the Indianapolis 500. Prior to 2004, the team prepared a total of 20 entries for drivers such as Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell and Paul Tracy. Newman/Haas Racing's highest finishes in the Indianapolis 500 were second with Mario Andretti in 1985 and Michael Andretti in 1991 and third with Nigel Mansell in his first attempt in 1993. Newman/Haas Racing drivers have led a combined total of 773 laps on the famed 2.5-mile Superspeedway. Mario Andretti also brought the team it's highest start in the event when he won the pole position in 1987.
Newman/Haas Racing is the second most successful open-wheel team racing today with 73 wins, 78 pole positions and 184 top-three podium finishes. The team is in the midst of their 22nd season of competition after being formed late in 1982. Current drivers Bruno Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais were preceded at the team by Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy, Christian Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta. For more information log on to www.newman-haas.com, www.brunojunqueira.com, or www.sebastien-bourdais.com.