Porsche Supercup veteran Graf hits the road to NASCAR

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 14, 2004 -- Porsche Michelin Supercup veteran Klaus Graf could join a rare group of drivers who have raced on both the oval and road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as he is racing a limited schedule of ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 14, 2004 -- Porsche Michelin Supercup veteran Klaus Graf could join a rare group of drivers who have raced on both the oval and road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as he is racing a limited schedule of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races this year.

Graf will compete in at least two NEXTEL Cup races this year, beginning with the Dodge/Save Mart 350 road race June 27 at Sonoma, Calif. BAM Racing, which fields the No. 49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge for driver Ken Schrader, will run Graf in up to seven races in 2004. No other starts were confirmed.

Graf, 32, is the first German-born driver to compete in NASCAR's top series.

"My dream all of my life is to compete among the best in motorsports," Graf said. "I am thrilled with the opportunity."

The Brickyard 400 is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 8 on the famous 2.5-mile oval at Indianapolis. Graf could become only the seventh driver to compete on the oval and road circuit at Indy during their career, joining Juan Pablo Montoya, Jacques Villeneuve, Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Sam Hornish Jr. and Alessandro Zampedri.

Graf competed in both Porsche Michelin Supercup series races last September on the 2.605-mile road circuit at Indianapolis during the United States Grand Prix. He placed 20th in the first race after being eliminated in an early, two-car accident and finished ninth in the second race in a Walter Lechner Racing School Porsche 911 GT3.

Graf has tested with BAM at Virginia International Raceway and Kentucky Speedway. He finished third in the PFG Lester 150 ARCA RE/MAX race April 9 at Nashville Superspeedway, leading late in the race during his first oval event.

"This guy can flat-out drive a stock car," said Eddie Jones, BAM Racing general manager. "When we first went to Virginia to test on the road course, I was really impressed with what I saw. The question was -- can he drive an oval too?"

The answer to that question came quickly.

"After the test at Kentucky, I was completely convinced he has what it takes," said Scott Eggleston, BAM crew chief. "After the ARCA race at Nashville, I think everybody else in motorsports is convinced he has what it takes."

Graf has raced in the Porsche Michelin Supercup, the Porsche Carrera Cup, prototype sports cars and the Le Mans 24 Hours, Formula 3 and Formula Ford.

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Brickyard 400 tickets: Tickets for the 11th annual Brickyard 400 on Aug. 8 are on sale.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya