BRYAN HERTA TO MAKE IRL DEBUT AT TEXAS INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 3, 2003) -- Open-wheel racing veteran Bryan Herta will make his Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar debut Saturday night in the ...
BRYAN HERTA TO MAKE IRL DEBUT AT TEXAS
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 3, 2003) -- Open-wheel racing veteran Bryan Herta will make his Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar debut Saturday night in the #27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone at Texas Motor Speedway. Herta was tabbed in May as the replacement driver for Dario Franchitti, who is recovering from injuries suffered in an off-track accident.
The 33-year-old Herta is no stranger to Texas as he tested there with the Archipelago/Motorola crew in late May. It was Herta's second test with the team, having already completed two days of running at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Herta also was at Texas in 2001 with CART, posting the fourth fastest time in qualifying before the race was cancelled.
"I'm very excited to be getting back into an open-wheel car," said Herta. "This is going to be my first open-wheel race in about a year-and-a-half, but I feel very prepared. I've been working with the Archipelago/Motorola team since the beginning of May and we've been able to log a lot of miles. This is a race of firsts for me -- my first IndyCar Series race and my first night race. I've seen some of the Texas races on TV and there is a lot of close competition and exciting racing."
The Michigan native posted two wins and seven poles in an eight-year CART career. He also claimed the 1993 Indy Lights championship and 1991 Barber Saab Pro Series titles. In 2002, he was behind the wheel of the Panoz LMP 01 in the American Lemans Series where he finished 10th in the drivers' standings.
"This is going to be a whole new experience for our team," said Kyle Moyer, Archipelago/Motorola team manager. "This is our first ever night race and we are looking forward to it. Texas has always been an exciting race. We have been quick everywhere we've gone, but at the same time Bryan is going to be the fourth different driver we've had in four races. We've tested a couple of times with him and he is getting more and more comfortable in the car."
Franchitti drove in the first two races of the season and was then injured just before the Japan race. Andretti Green Racing driver Dan Wheldon filled in for Franchitti at Japan, earning a seventh-place finish. NASCAR driver Robby Gordon raced the #27 Archipelago/Motorola entry at the Indianapolis 500, qualifying on the outside of the front row. Gordon's day ended early when a gearbox problem forced him to retire on lap 169, finishing 22nd.