INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, July 15, 2002 -- 2000 SCCA Formula Mazda National Champion Matt Beardsley will make his Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series debut July 20 at Nashville Superspeedway. Beardsley will drive the No. 12 Alpine Bank Old-Republic Land...
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, July 15, 2002 -- 2000 SCCA Formula Mazda National Champion Matt Beardsley will make his Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series debut July 20 at Nashville Superspeedway.
Beardsley will drive the No. 12 Alpine Bank Old-Republic Land Title Beardsley Motorsports entry.
"It's like a big dream come true," Beardsley said. "We had to work really hard, and it kind of came together really quickly here in the last two months. Our plans are to do this year and next year in the Infiniti Pro Series, and depending on sponsorship and what we put together, I'd like to be in an Indy Racing car in 2004 -- at least the Indy 500 in 2004."
Beardsley, 23, from Breckenridge, Colo., began racing karts at age 9. After earning several national victories in 125cc class karts, he advanced to open-wheel formula competition in 1997. Beardsley competed in the Star Mazda Series (Western Division) and the SCCA Formula Mazda Series, earning the Formula Mazda national title in 2000. He earned back-to-back championship titles in the Formula Mazda Red Line Oval Series in 1999 and 2000.
Beardsley tested a Galles Racing Indy Racing car on Oct. 8, 200,1 at Texas Motor Speedway, reaching a top speed of 218 mph.
"I think the advantage that that experience gives me is that I'll know what to expect with the high speeds," said Beardsley, a former member of the U.S. Ski Team. "I've been on ovals a bunch. I was the oval champion for the Mazda series two years in a row, so I'm pretty comfortable with ovals. I think it will give me an advantage actually being in a real Indy car and knowing I can get up to speed in a hurry."
Other drivers joining Beardsley in the Infiniti Pro Series include inaugural race winner A.J. Foyt IV, grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt; Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk; actor/racer Jason Priestley, short-track standouts Aaron Fike, Ed Carpenter and Ronnie Johncox, and Indianapolis 500 qualifier Cory Witherill.
Drivers compete for a $100,000 purse at each Infiniti Pro Series race. The 100-mile Infiniti Pro Series "sprints" take place at the same track and on the same day as Indy Racing League events except for the Texas season finale, which will be conducted the day before the IRL's Chevy 500.
The next Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series race is July 20 during the Firestone Indy 200 event weekend at Nashville Superspeedway. The race will be broadcast at 6 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 8 on ESPN2.