IRL: Schroeder Joins Cobb for Indy 500

Schroeder Joins Cobb Racing for Indy 500 Effort VINELAND, N.J., April 2 - Race car driver Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., announced today that he will be Roberto Guerrero's teammate on the Cobb Racing team in a two-car entry in the ...

Schroeder Joins Cobb Racing for Indy 500 Effort

VINELAND, N.J., April 2 - Race car driver Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., announced today that he will be Roberto Guerrero's teammate on the Cobb Racing team in a two-car entry in the Indianapolis 500. The race will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Ind., on Sunday, May 30. It is the world's largest single-day sporting event.

Schroeder, 29, will drive a G-Force chassis using an Infiniti powerplant and Firestone tires.

A primary sponsor for the car is still being sought, but Purity Farms, one of the world's leading producers of bacon and other pork products, will support the Indy effort. At the moment the car is blue, but that could change as sponsors sign on.

When he makes the 33-car field, Schroeder will be the first New Jersey-based driver to compete in the event since Steve Krisiloff of Parsippany, N.J., raced at Indy in 1983.

Schroeder's first challenge will be the Pep Boys Indy Racing League/Indianapolis Motor Speedway Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) this coming Thursday and Friday, April 8 and 9. Drivers who have never before competed in the Indy 500 must complete this program, which consists of classroom instruction and on-track scrutiny by a panel of veteran drivers. Each rookie must pass several different phases of the test at gradually increasing speeds to prove that he can handle the car under various conditions.

Schroeder will be fitted for the car on Wednesday in preparation for the ROP program on Thursday and Friday.

Former IMSA star Price Cobb, a co-owner of Cobb Racing, said that the Lakewood, Colo.-based team is excited to have Schroeder on board.

"I've seen Jeret progress through the ranks from the newspaper and magazine articles I've read about him, and by watching him at places like Daytona and Sebring," Cobb said. "To a person everyone has spoken very highly of him. He fits the mold here at Cobb Racing, because we want to take a young American driver and develop him into a star. We're extremely excited about developing the relationship. This is something we've wanted to do since we formed the team more than a year ago."

Schroeder is pleased to be joining a team of such experienced racers. "From everything I've heard, we should have a solid effort," he said, and added that both Cobb's and the team's credentials are extremely impressive. But for now, anyway, Schroeder is trying to stay low-key.

"I can't get overly excited about it yet; I have to look at it just like it was another race," he said. "I need to stay calm and relaxed and focus on what I have to do."

"That's the way I am too," said his father, Bill Schroeder of North Palm Beach, Fla., who shares his son's love for the sport. "I'll get excited when I see the 33-car lineup and see his name in there."

The negotiations for Schroeder to join the team occurred rather quickly. "I heard yesterday that it was 99.9 percent certain, and the deal was finalized this morning on a cell phone while I was taking my dad to the Philadelphia Airport," Schroeder said. "I felt certain that someday I would get to Indy, but I just didn't know when. I didn't jump up and down or scream or anything. I don't want to get too excited because there is still a lot to do."

Schroeder said that he had told his friends over the last couple of weeks that the arrangement looked likely. The first person he called to tell that it was final was his best friend, Brendan Cunnane of Lansdale, Pa., who was his crew chief when he won the U.S. Formula 2000 title in 1995. Cunnane still helps Schroeder when he can by doing data-acquisition work or spotting.

If the rookie driver was staying cool, the veteran mechanic wasn't. "I keep thinking about those days in 1994 when Jeret and I were bopping all over the country going to race after race and getting no sleep," Cunnane said. "I told him then that it would all be worth it because someday he was going to be in the Indy 500. Now it's happening for him, and I'm really happy!"

Schroeder has two previous Indy Racing League appearances under his belt, as he drove in IRL races at Walt Disney World Speedway in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and at Phoenix International Raceway in 1997. He has also tested a Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) champ car.

In 1998 and 1999 he has been driving in United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) and Professional SportsCar Racing (SportsCar) sports car endurance events with Tom Volk's TRV Motorsport team based in Toledo, Ohio.

In 1997 and 1996 Schroeder was a star of the Sports Car Club of America's Toyota Atlantic series, which was sponsored by Player's in 1996 and by KOOL in 1997.

Before becoming an IRL team owner, Cobb was a star of the IMSA GT series from 1986 through 1992. He won the 24 Hours of LeMans sports car endurance race in 1990 in a Jaguar with Tom Walkinshaw Racing. He won the Porsche Cup four times, and he was the only American to ever win the World Porsche Cup.

Opening day for this year's Indy 500, the 83rd running, is Saturday, May 15. Pole Day is Saturday, May 22, and Bubble Day (the last chance to qualify for the race) is Sunday, May 23. Carburetion Day, the last practice session before the race, is Thursday, May 27. The race, which will be broadcast live by ABC Sports, gets the green flag at 11 a.m. Standard Time, some 10 minutes after the national anthem and the annual singing of "Back Home Again in Indiana."

Companies wishing to advertise on the sides of Schroeder's car at the Indy 500 can obtain more information by calling Jude Marina at (610) 797-9424. Other information can be found on Schroeder's website at www.pitpass.org.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeret Schroeder , Roberto Guerrero , Price Cobb , Tom Walkinshaw