Zetec Championship alumni duo make debut at Michigan. ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (July 25, 2002) -Former Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship drivers Ryan Hampton and Buddy Rice recently announced they will be making their debuts in the Infiniti Pro...
Zetec Championship alumni duo make debut at Michigan.
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (July 25, 2002) -Former Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship drivers Ryan Hampton and Buddy Rice recently announced they will be making their debuts in the Infiniti Pro Series and the Indy Racing League respectively at Michigan International Speedway this coming weekend.
Rice has signed on with Red Bull Cheever Racing to race on the 2-mile high banked oval. Rice joins the team, having previously passed his IRL rookie test and acted as a test driver with the Indianapolis team. Currently, Rice is scheduled only to race at Michigan, expanding the team from two cars to three cars for the 400 mile race. Rice becomes the fifth former Zetec Championship driver entered in the Michigan 400, joining current IRL Champion Sam Hornish Jr., former IRL Champion Greg Ray and the most recent IRL race winner, Alex Barron.
"This is an excellent opportunity," said Rice. "Red Bull Cheever Racing is one of the top teams in the IRL, and they've been fast all year. Red Bull has been very supportive of my career since 1998 when they signed me as one of their athletes. This is really what we have all been working so hard to achieve."
With the creation of a new team, Hampton will begin contesting the newly formed Infini Pro Series full-time in the high-speed oval. The third race in the Pro Series will mark Hampton's return to the race seat, having previously capturing the Grand American Road Racing SRPII Championship in 2000 and being named the Road To Indy Oval Crown Championship Rookie of the Year in the Zetec Championship in 1997. Hampton joins fellow Zetec Championship alumni Arie Luyendyk Jr., Rolando Quintanilla and Corey Witherill in the Infiniti Pro Series.
"This is basically a conglomeration of people coming together to make a lot happen in a very short amount of time," said Hampton. "Since we are getting a late start, the championship will probably not be in our sight, but we just want to get as many wins and the best finishes we possibly can."
The Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship season continues with Rounds Nine and Ten at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, August 10-11, as part of the CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio weekend.