By J Douglas Boles
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 19, 2011 – Parnelli Jones, Kenny Brack, Gil de Ferran and Tom Sneva round out the impressive lineup of 11 Indianapolis 500 winners who will drive iconic winning cars of the “500” during pre-race ceremonies Sunday, May 29 for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500.
1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Jones will provide one of the highlights of the day when he drives the No. 32 Marmon “Wasp” that won the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911 with Ray Harroun. It will be only the third time the car has been driven on the famed IMS oval on Race Day since Harroun crossed the finish line in 1911.
“When I was a rookie in 1961, I remember Ray Harroun driving around the track on Race Day,” Jones said. “Looking at the car then, it represented so much history at the track. Now that the track is 100 years old, the Wasp has even more special meaning for me.
“I was in Indy a month ago and I went to the Hall of Fame Museum to get a good look at the Wasp – I wanted to really look at it. It will be very, very special to drive it on Race Day. I want to thank the Speedway for that. Maybe I need to start to get into shape and work out! I really look forward to driving the car and seeing the 2011 Indy 500 – the 100th anniversary for the race and the 50th anniversary of me driving in my first ‘500.’”
A comprehensive list of participants, with the years of their victories and the cars they will drive on Race Morning:
•Parnelli Jones (1963): The No. 32 Marmon “Wasp” that won in 1911 with Ray Harroun.
•Kenny Brack (1999): The No. 9 Target G Force/Oldsmobile that won in 2000 with Juan Pablo Montoya.
•Gil de Ferran (2003): The No. 66 Sunoco McLaren that won in 1972 with Mark Donohue. It was the first of a record 15 victories for legendary team owner Roger Penske.
•Tom Sneva (1983): The Belond Salih/Offy that won in 1957 with Sam Hanks and 1958 with Jimmy Bryan.
•Mario Andretti (1969): The Boyle Maserati that won in 1939 and 1940 with Wilbur Shaw.
•Arie Luyendyk (1990, 1997): The No. 30 Domino’s Pizza Lola/Chevrolet Indy in which Luyendyk won in 1990. Luyendyk averaged 185.981 mph, which stands as the race record.
•Bobby Rahal (1986): The No. 14 Miller that won in 1928 with Louis Meyer.
•Johnny Rutherford (1974, 1976, 1980): The No. 4 Pennzoil Chaparral/Cosworth in which Rutherford won in 1980. The car is affectionately nicknamed “The Yellow Submarine.”
•Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987): The No. 82 Lotus-Ford that won in 1965 with Jim Clark. This is the first rear-engine car to win the “500.”
•Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994): The Blue Crown Spark Plug Diedt/Offy that won in 1947 and 1948 with Mauri Rose.
•Bobby Unser (1968, 1975, 1981): The No. 8 National that won in 1912 with Joe Dawson. The car features a second seat for a riding mechanic, which will be filled by Unser’s wife, Lisa, on Race Day.
Brack said it will be tough to resist the temptation to stay in Montoya’s car past the ceremonial laps.
“I just want to know if they will let me stay out there after the slow laps,” Brack said. “I’d really like to win the Indy 500 again, and if I got an hour or so head start, I just might be able to do it!
“Seriously, I can’t wait to drive the car and see the other historic cars from the Museum that will be on the track on Race Day. Race Morning is always so electric, but I am sure this display will be very cool for everyone, the drivers and the fans.”
All of the cars also are on display throughout April and May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum in the largest collection of Indianapolis 500-winning cars ever assembled. The exhibit features 67 winning cars, representing 71 Indianapolis 500 victories.
The 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 starts at noon (ET) May 29. Live coverage on ABC and the IMS Radio Network starts at 11 a.m.
Mann to drive Conquest entry: Pippa Mann, who sat on the pole for the Firestone Freedom 100 last May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will attempt to be among the 33 starters for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500.
Mann will drive the No. 36 car for Conquest Racing, joining full-time entrant Sebastian Saavedra. Mann is the fourth female confirmed as one of the 42 entries for next month’s Indianapolis 500, but she will be the first British female to be on the entry list for the 500 Mile Race. She is the sixth driver vying for Chase Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors.
“Having the chance to compete in the Indy 500 is something that we have been working extremely hard to bring to fruition over the winter,” Mann said. “I tested with Conquest Racing earlier this year, and given how well that test went, we have since been working tirelessly to put this deal together.
“The past few months have been a rollercoaster ride for me, and I’m just thrilled that we’re now able to tie things up. There are a lot of entries for the race this year, so it’s a somewhat interesting time to be a rookie. But my qualifying record on superspeedways is good, and I’m definitely up for the challenge.”
Mann recorded one victory, in 2010 at Kentucky, and seven top-10 finishes in 27 Firestone Indy Lights starts over two seasons.
“Pippa is a natural on ovals, and we could judge how good she is when we tested her about six weeks ago in Texas,” Conquest Racing owner Eric Bachelart said. “She has been part of the team since then, and we are all looking forward to working with her at the Speedway this year.”
Famous No. 98 returns to Indy with BHA, Wheldon: Car No. 98 has been in Victory Circle twice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – both times with an association with the Agajanian family. Dan Wheldon, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 champion, hopes to make it three.
The No. 98 entry of Bryan Herta Autosport for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 was unveiled last week at the IZOD IndyCar Series Fan Village that’s part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Globally-recognized fashion brand William Rast and record labels Curb and Big Machine will be the primary sponsors.
“A couple of weeks ago we confirmed that Dan Wheldon – a good friend, former teammate and Indy 500 winner – would be driving our car at Indianapolis this year,” said Herta, who formed BHA with race engineer Steve Newey in 2009. “We made that announcement in Dan’s hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla., and here at my home race and William Rast’s back yard we wanted to unveil our partnership lineup.
“We are obviously thrilled to have William Rast back with us at Indianapolis for the second year in a row, and we are excited about our new involvement with Curb/Big Machine – record labels for some of country music’s biggest stars. We are equally excited about our new collaboration with Mike Curb, Cary Agajanian and Scott Borchetta, and to be associated with such highly respected names in and outside of racing.”
The No. 98 car won the Indy 500 in 1952, when 22-year-old Troy Ruttman became the youngest winner of the race in the Agajanian Kuzma/Offy, and 1963 when Parnelli Jones triumphed in the Agajanian Willard Battery Watson/Offy (aka the “Ol’ Calhoun” Watson roadster).
A replica of the No. 98 William Rast-Curb/Big Machine car will be on display from May 27-Oct. 23 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley, Calif., as part of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration. Reagan was the track announcer at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines in the 1930s.
Foyt Racing offering VIP weekend to Indy through Continental auction: A.J. Foyt Racing is offering a VIP weekend to the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 to the highest bidder in the Continental Airlines Frequent Flyer Program’s Onepass Online Auction.
It’s the seventh straight year for the popular auction.
The winner and a guest will receive two Race Day tickets and two Bronze Badge garage credentials for the race weekend May 28-29.
On Saturday, May 28, the winners will meet four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt and Foyt Racing driver Vitor Meira, and see the No. 14 car as it is being prepared in the team’s garage in Gasoline Alley at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After the private meet-and-greet with the Foyt team Saturday, the winner and guest will attend the Drivers’ Meeting on the front straightaway near the famed Yard of Bricks finish line. They also will tour the garage area as teams make their final preparations for the race.
Bidders can participate by visiting www.continental.com and clicking on the Frequent Flyer tab, then to the Online Auction section. The Indy 500 package is listed in the Sports section.
The auction will close at 9:30 a.m. (ET) Friday, May 13.
2011 Indianapolis 500 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500, “The Most Important Race in History,” on Sunday, May 29, 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Race Day ticket prices start at just $30. Fans can buy tickets online at www.imstix.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
Children 12 and under will be receive free general admission to any IMS event in 2011 when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.