IRL: NHR takes 2 to Indy

Regulars in the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series best watch their backs this May, as Newman/Haas Racing - who nearly stole the show in 2004 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - have upped the ante from one car to two for the 89th running of the ...

Regulars in the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series best watch their backs this May, as Newman/Haas Racing - who nearly stole the show in 2004 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - have upped the ante from one car to two for the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

Current Champ Car World Series titleholder Sebastien Bourdais will join teammate Bruno Junqueira, the 2002 Indy 500 polesitter in contesting the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, driving a brace of Centrix Financial-backed Panoz/Honda/Firestone entries for the May 29th race.

"We are thrilled to be returning to Indy for a second year," declared Centrix Financial's chairman and CEO Robert E. Sutton. "It's the world's biggest motorsports stage and I am proud to have two of the most accomplished open wheel drivers for Team Centrix in Bruno and Sebastien. Centrix is in the business of delivering results in the auto finance industry and we are committed to doing the same in motorsports."

Junqueira, who has finished second in the Champ Car World Series the past three seasons will attempt to make his fourth start in the grueling 200-lap contest. The Brazilian qualified 20th in his rookie season, finishing fifth. He took pole the following year, led the initial 32 laps but fell out with engine failure, taking 31st place.

Last season, Junqueira's first at the Speedway with Newman/Haas he qualified fourth (despite limited running when his regular schedule necessitated a side trip to Monterrey for a Champ Car race) and finished fifth. Last year's Indy 500 was NHR's first since 1995.

Carl Haas, co-owner of NHR noted, "We are excited our association with Centrix Financial has enabled us to compete at Indy again. We think we have a good opportunity for [another] strong finish."

Bourdais will be making his first Indianapolis 500 race start but did attend the race last year in support of his teammate. The Frenchman amassed seven victories and eight pole positions last year in snaring Champ Car's Vanderbilt Cup and began the 2005 14-race campaign with victory last weekend in the 31st annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Bourdais recently commented that he prefers the varied disciplines of Champ Car yet the 26-year-old driver explained that, as any driver would, "A victory at Indy would be great" on his resume.

Centrix Financial has supported Newman/Haas Racing as an associate partner and Bourdais, together with team co-owner were members of Team Centrix' Baja Challenge class of the 2004 SCORE Tecate Baja 1000. Newman teamed with Sutton to finish fourth in class while Bourdais co-drove with Pikes Peak Hill Climb winner Rhys Millen took third despite needing two hours early in the race to repair their damaged car. Centrix also co-sponsored Newman/'s 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona entry, which failed to finish.

2005 marks Newman/Haas Racing's 15th assault on the Indy 500. The team's highest finish is second place with Mario Andretti in 1985 and son Michael in 1991. The team is utilizing the same package as they did in 2004, Panoz/Honda/Firestone equipment that won the 88th Indy 500. This team's dual entries gives Honda a total of 14 cars in this race, its highest total in the Memorial Day classic in five appearances.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Rhys Millen , Mario Andretti , Sébastien Bourdais , Carl Haas