INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 24, 2002 -- 1999 Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray will drive for A.J. Foyt Racing through the 2003 IRL season starting with the Indianapolis 500 next month, Foyt announced April 24. Ray, 35, will step into the...
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 24, 2002 -- 1999 Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray will drive for A.J. Foyt Racing through the 2003 IRL season starting with the Indianapolis 500 next month, Foyt announced April 24.
Ray, 35, will step into the team's No. 11 Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone that was driven by Eliseo Salazar in the first three races of the season. Salazar is out indefinitely after suffering a torn artery in a testing crash April 16 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The announcement reunites Ray, from Plano, Texas, with Houston native Foyt. Ray has made three of his 44 career IRL starts with Foyt, two in 1998 and one last season.
"When I drove for A.J. before, I really enjoyed working with him and the team," Ray said. "Over the last 10 years, I've spent a lot of time hanging out with the guys on Foyt's team -- with the Texas connection they really feel like my extended family. I always raced against him at Indy, so teaming up with A.J. there will be a special experience for me.
"Our personalities match extremely well, so I'm sure that's worth a couple tenths."
Ray has five career victories, tied for third on the all-time IRL list. He also has won a league-record 13 MBNA Poles during his five-season Indy Racing career. Ray also has led 1,149 laps, second on the all-time IRL list.
"I'm looking forward to working with Greg again," said four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Foyt. "Greg is a talented driver, he's a great spokesperson, but what I like about him most is that he knows how to get a car to the front. That's what I'm looking for."
Ray will join 2000 Indy Racing League Rookie of the Year Airton Dare in the Foyt lineup at the Indianapolis 500, which opens May 5. Race Day is May 26. Salazar continues to recover from surgery to repair his damaged artery.
"It was terrible that Eliseo got hurt," Foyt said. "I know Eliseo is upset that he's missing out on Indy and a good part of the year, but at least he came through the surgery well.
"The doctors don't think he'll be back before next year, but Eliseo is determined to get back ahead of schedule, so we'll just have to wait and see. I promised I'd have a car for him if he does."