As expected, KV Racing Technology has confirmed that it will field a second car at the Indianapolis 500, with GEICO Insurance sponsorship allowing veteran Paul Tracy to make only his second IndyCar Series appearance since unification.
The 2003 Champ Car champion, one of the most successful and popular drivers on the circuit, has been restricted to just one outing, with a combined Walker/Vision entry at Edmonton in 2008, following Forsythe Racing's decision not to enter the unified series, but has been linked to a possible ride with friend and former rival Jimmy Vasser's KVRT outfit since th beginning of the year.
Although the 40-year old Canadian had hoped for a season-long programme, he will make his 2009 debut in the #15 GEICO car as team-mate to Brazilian Mario Moraes.
"I am pleased to announce that Paul Tracy and GEICO Insurance will be joining KV Racing Technology for the 2009 Indianapolis 500," Vasser's KVRT co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven confirmed in Long Beach, "Paul is one of the greatest and most exciting drivers in the history of the sport, while GEICO Insurance is an outstanding company and a leader in the industry. I am confident that Paul, with the support of GEICO Insurance, will provide KVRT with a very competitive entry in this year's Indy 500."
Tracy will thus get the chance to contest a sixth Indy 500, but only his first since 2002, when he was classified as a contentious runner-up. He finished fourth on his sole IndyCar outing last season.
"I want to thank GEICO Insurance, Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser for the opportunity to compete at this year's Indianapolis 500," the Canadian said, "I have accomplished a lot of things during my racing career, but one of the things that I am missing is a win at Indy. I feel I have some unfinished business at the Brickyard and, with the support of GEICO and an outstanding team like KV Racing Technology, I feel good about our chances this year."
At present, the deal is purely for the 500, despite Tracy having approached fellow Las Vegas resident Vasser about putting together a deal for the entire 2009 season.
"I think I can speak for everyone at KVRT when I say that running Paul at the Indy 500 is very exciting," Vasser admitted, "I also want to thank GEICO for supporting our efforts.
"Even though Paul hasn't been in an open-wheel car much the last year, having raced against him and knowing his ability, I am sure he will get up to speed immediately."
GEICO is better known in NASCAR circles than in IndyCars, and is backing former Champ Car racer Max Papis' limited programme this season.
"We're pleased to be able to accompany Paul Tracy on his return trip to the Indianapolis 500," commented vice-president of marketing Ted Ward, "Having a relationship with two world class drivers such as Paul and Max Papis, as well as KV Racing Technology, allows us to spread our message of safety on a much broader scale and we are excited about the opportunity."