IRL: Nine additional entries filed for Indy 500

Castroneves leads four Penske entries for 87th Indianapolis 500. Cheever, Beck, Access Motorsports also file entries; Ganassi files third entry. INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, April 3, 2003 - Penske Racing filed four entries April 2 for the 2003 ...

Castroneves leads four Penske entries for 87th Indianapolis 500.
Cheever, Beck, Access Motorsports also file entries; Ganassi files third entry.

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, April 3, 2003 - Penske Racing filed four entries April 2 for the 2003 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, including one assigned to two-time race winner Helio Castroneves, who will attempt to become the only driver ever to win "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" three years in a row.

Penske also filed an entry for a car to be driven by two-time CART series champion and two-time Indy Racing League IndyCarTM Series race winner Gil de Ferran, and two entries with drivers to be named later.

Entries for the 87th running of the world's greatest auto race had to be postmarked by midnight April 2. The Indy Racing League expects to receive several more entries via mail in the coming days.

After nine entries arrived at the Indy Racing League office April 1, a total of 11 entries were filed April 2.

Joining Penske in the avalanche of entries April 2 were: Access Motorsports, which filed an entry to be driven by team co-owner Greg Ray; Red Bull Cheever Racing, which filed two entries for Indy rookie Buddy Rice and a driver to be announced; Target Chip Ganassi Racing, which filed a third entry with driver to be announced; and Beck Motorsports, which also filed an entry with a driver to be announced.

Castroneves will pilot the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske entry, and de Ferran will drive the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske car. The additional entries are numbered 66 and 68, which are the numbers de Ferran and Castroneves carried, respectively, when Penske returned to the "500" in 2001 after a six-year hiatus. Castroneves won and de Ferran finished second in 2001, only 1.7373 seconds behind. Castroneves also triumphed last year.

"Our current plan is to run two cars in the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race," said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing, Inc. "By having four entries, we have given ourselves further flexibility relative to our chassis selection. As is typical of our organization, we are prepared to do what it takes to provide our sponsors, drivers and team the best opportunity to win 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.'"

All four of Penske Racing's entries list Dallara chassis as the primary car and Panoz G Force chassis as the backup. All Penske entries are powered by Toyota engines and have Firestone tires.

Rick Rinaman is chief mechanic for Castroneves' entry, while Matt Jonsson is chief mechanic for de Ferran's entry. Tom Wurtz is team manager for all four Penske entries.

Ray, the 1999 IndyCar Series champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 MBNA Pole Award winner, will drive the No. 13 Trim Spa Special Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone for Access Motorsports. The new team, which also entered an identical backup car, has extensive IndyCar Series experience, including team manager Ted Bitting and chief mechanic Jamie Nanny.

Red Bull Cheever Racing named talented young driver Buddy Rice to drive the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Chevrolet Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, while the team also entered an identical No. 51 car with no driver named. Team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. carried the No. 51 on his car when he won the Indianapolis 500 in 1998.

Rice, a 27-year-old native of Phoenix, scored four top-10 finishes in five starts in 2002 IndyCar Series competition, including a second-place finish in his first race at Michigan, and finished ninth at the Purex-Dial Indy 200 at Phoenix on March 23. Rice's team manager is Max Jones, and chief mechanic is David Meehan.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing, which became the first team to enter the 2003 Indianapolis 500 when it filed entries for cars to be driven by Tomas Scheckter and Scott Dixon, filed a third entry for the No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. The car has an identical backup.

Brownsburg, Ind.-based Beck Motorsports entered car No. 54 with a Dallara/Honda/Firestone package and an identical backup. Greg Robb is team manager, and Tom Bose is chief mechanic.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Eddie Cheever , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske