FAIRFIELD, N.J. (April 19, 2001) -- This coming May, the U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision will once again be well represented at "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing", the Indianapolis 500. With official entry into the...
FAIRFIELD, N.J. (April 19, 2001) -- This coming May, the U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision will once again be well represented at "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing", the Indianapolis 500.
With official entry into the 85th running of the Indy 500 now closed, five former U.S. F2000 drivers have been listed on the entry list. In addition to the alumni, two fathers of U.S. F2000 drivers will attempt to make the 33-car field for the race.
The veteran among the U.S. F2000 alumni entering the race is Greg Ray. Ray, will attempt to qualify for a fifth time in a Dallara Oldsmobile. Last year, Ray captured the prestigious Indy 500 pole, marking the third consecutive year he has started on the front-row. In his five appearances at "the Brickyard", Ray's best finish is 18th, in 1998. During the past three Indy 500's, Ray has led, accumulating a total of 76 laps led.
In 2001, Sam Hornish Jr. will enter the race as one of the drivers to watch. In the opening two rounds of the 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series, Hornish Jr. has two wins and has led 282 of 400 laps. Driving a Dallara Oldsmobile, Hornish Jr. will attempt to qualify for a second consecutive year. Last year, he qualified 14th and finished 24th, retiring on lap 153.
Joining the duo, as an Indy 500 veteran, is Robby McGehee. McGehee, recently inducted into the U.S. F2000 Hall of Fame, will attempt to qualify for his third consecutive Indy 500 start in a Dallara Oldsmobile. In 1999, McGehee captured the Bank One Rookie of the Year award, after finishing an impressive fifth place. Last year, he led two laps before finishing 21st, two laps off the lead.
Making their first trips to the Speedway in 2001 will be Jon Herb and Cory Witherill. Herb, who has two previous IRLNS career starts, will drive a Dallara Oldsmobile. Witherill, driving a G Force Oldsmobile, has recently been contesting the Dayton Indy Lights Series and is a multiple U.S. Off-Road Championship Series champion.
Perhaps the most watched man at Indy in 2001 will be Arie Luyendyk. Luyendyk is the father of current U.S. F2000 star Arie Luyendyk Jr. Luyendyk Jr., who will be racing the night before the 500 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, already has three top-10 finishes in 2001. In 15 starts on the 2.5-mile oval, Luyendyk has won twice, 1990 and 1997; captured the pole three-times, 1993, 1997 and 1999; been named Rookie of the Year, 1985; set the single lap qualifying record, 237.498 mph in 1996; set the record for the fastest average race speed, 185.981 mph in 1990; and earned the most money, over 5.5 million dollars.
The other father of a U.S. F2000 driver entered in 2001 is Mark Dismore. Dismore's son, Mark E. Dismore competed in the U.S. F2000 in 1999 capturing one pole and 10 top-10 finishes. In five starts at "the Brickyard" Dismore has a career best finish of fifth place in 1999.
With 50 cars on the official entry list and only 38 drivers listed it is expected additional U.S. F2000 alumni will attempt to qualify for the Indy 500. Drivers likely to be present once practice begins include: Steve Knapp, a three-time starter and the 1998 Rookie of the Year; Jeret Schroeder, a two-time starter; John Hollansworth Jr., a 1999 starter; and CART FedEx Championship Series super-subs Alex Barron and Memo Gidley.
Qualifying for the 85th running of the Indianapolis 500 begins May 12, 2001, with the MNBA Pole qualification runs. The U.S. F2000 National Championship resumes its training of the world's best young drivers, May 19, 2001, at Watkins Glen International, with Rounds Four and Five of the 2001 schedule.