Both drivers have past/current ties with Ganassi Racing, both giving him championships in their respective categories and both have CART experience. Zanardi will be paired with Ganassi's international drivers' team, while Pruett will join the American driver satellite team. Pruett originally had reservations about jumping into an Indycar for an oval race after so many years, but team owner Chip Ganassi prevailed, providing top notch equipment and crew. Pruett said he would donate any winnings to children's literacy programmes in the Sacramento area.
Nelson Piquer Jr
– #8 with Gil de Ferran Racing, sponsored by Brazilian Ethanol.
Former F1 driver, who is racing full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which is on the LVMS schedule the same weekend as IndyCar.
– #73 with Newman Haas Racing, sponsored by The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association.
The edgy, dare-devil fearless driver has driven many different kinds of cars, both in competition and on his SPEED TV
show Extreme Speed
. He is the host of the American version of Top Gear
on the History Channel
, which will be doing a special on the event.
– #01 with Highcroft Racing, sponsored by Honda.
The young adaptable American driver has been in Europe pursuing his open wheel career with GP3 and GP2 series, headed towards F1. Highcroft is American owned and is the Honda factory team in ALMS and working towards a full-time IndyCar team in 2012.
None of the NASCAR Sprint Cup regulars can make the logistics work, even if they were interested – which most say they are not. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series are racing in Charlotte the same weekend, and those drivers are smart enough to realise that it's more than just doing the 'Daily Double'.
One Cup driver, AJ Allmendinger, was hopeful he could find a way and, given his determination, he might just end up in the mix. Red Bull, long-time personal sponsor of AJ, is keen to be part of the race.
Others who had been suggested but can't make it include Valentino Rossi, seven-time MotoGP champion who has tested with Ferrari more than once due to conflicts with the Australian MotoGP race at Phillip Island; and Patrick Long, who is racing both ALMS and SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge Series this season. He is the only American factory Porsche driver, and not allowed to race a Honda.
Would you believe … APRIL FOOL!