Greg Ray to Drive Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Entry at Dover HOUSTON, Texas: July 10, 1998 - Indianapolis 500 front-row starter Greg Ray will drive for Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing in the Pep Boys 400k at Dover Downs International Speedway on July 19,...
Greg Ray to Drive Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Entry at Dover
HOUSTON, Texas: July 10, 1998 - Indianapolis 500 front-row starter Greg Ray will drive for Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing in the Pep Boys 400k at Dover Downs International Speedway on July 19, team owner A.J. Foyt announced today.
"This is very exciting," Ray said. "The first thing that comes to mind is getting to drive for A.J. Foyt. A.J. is one of the few true legends in racing. He has an uncanny ability and feel for race cars, especially in oval racing.
"I know it is only for a couple of races," Ray continued, "but it will be a good experience for A.J., Tommy LaMance (team manager), and myself to get to work together. I will try to do the best job I can. If people like what they see it could bode well for me in the future."
Ray, 31, will drive the No. 11 Conseco Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear until injured driver Billy Boat is ready to return to the cockpit.
"It is unfortunate that this ride exists because Billy is hurt," Ray said. "Billy is a great driver and I wish him a very speedy recovery. I am here only to fill in his shoes until he is well."
With nine IRL races under his belt, Ray's most impressive Indy car performance this year was when he qualified second for the Indianapolis 500, only a few weeks after a major sponsor pulled out of his program. He led 18 laps in the 82nd running of the Indianapolis 500 until gearbox failure put him out of the event. At the following Pep Boys IRL race in Texas, Ray again made headlines when he finished second after a late-race duel with winner Billy Boat.
"Greg had some fine runs this year at Indy and Texas," team owner A.J. Foyt said. "We had to work hard to beat him at both places. Since he is from Texas, we have followed him closely his entire career. It was a logical choice to have him drive for us now."
With Ray joining the Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing team, a strong Texas connection is created. Ray is a native of Plano, Texas and Foyt is a native of Houston. The team is also based in Houston.
"It adds new meaning to the words Texas Express," Ray said. "A Texan driving for a Texan is a good thing."
The schedule of events for the Pep Boys 400k at Dover Downs International Speedway starts with practice on Friday, July 17. Qualifying starts at Noon (EST) on Saturday, July 18 and will be televised live on Speedvision. CBS will televise the sixth race of the 11-race 1998 Pep Boys IRL series live starting at 12:00 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, July 19.
Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Team Notes
Billy Boat Continues To Make Progress: Billy Boat will miss the Dover Downs IRL race due to a broken left leg and fractured pelvis suffered in a crash at the New Hampshire International Speedway on June 28. Doctors report that it takes eight weeks for this type of injury to completely heal, but that Boat could return to driving in less time.
"I think I am ahead of schedule," said Boat, about his rehabilitation program. "I am training two hours a day and working at my shop, B&B Fabrication, four hours a day. I have been focusing on upper body and physical conditioning since last week and have already improved my strength. The staples in my leg will come out next Tuesday. At that time I can start physical therapy on my leg. Then we will focus on a real aggressive therapy schedule to try to get back in the car as quickly as possible.
"I really want to thank the IRL safety team and medical staff for everything they did for me," Boat continued. "They are really the best in the business. And, I want to thank all the fans and people in the racing community that sent flowers, cards and email messages. All the support makes me want to work that much harder to get back to racing soon."