The April 6 deadline for entries into this year's Indianapolis 500 featured some surprising last-minute entries.
AJ Foyt Racing announced that they would be fielding Bruno Junqueira for May's race. The Brazilian has good form at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, taking pole with Ganassi back in 2002 and last year putting the FAZZT team's second car on the starting grid with a last gasp effort on the second bump day.
"Bruno certainly knows his way around Indy — every time he's run there, he's been fast," said Foyt. 34-year-old Junqueira will be appearing in the #84 ABC Supply car, alongside Foyt's main driver, compatriot Vitor Meira, prompting Foyt to quip that at this rate "I may have to start learning Portuguese!"
Meira and Junqueira are good friends, and Bruno confirmed that he was "very happy," because firstly "I love the race; second, because the biggest champion in that race is AJ Foyt – he won as a driver, he won as a team owner - and third, I'm going to have Vitor as my teammate who is a good friend and a good driver so I think it's a perfect combination."
Also confirmed is the news that Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing have decided to run a second car at Indianapolis for Bertrand Baguette, alongside the previously announced collaboration with Sam Schmidt Motorsports to field Jay Howard. Baguette, the 2009 Formula Renault 3.5 champion who raced with Conquest in the 2010 IndyCar season finishing 22nd at Indy, will drive the #30 car for the team, with the support of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium and Aspria.
"Adding Bertrand to our line-up gives us a chance to make both entries stronger," noted Graham Rahal.
The limited season or one-off entries confirmed for the Indy 500 include:
- Bruno Junqueira, A.J. Foyt Racing
- John Andretti, Andretti Autosport
- Dan Wheldon, Bryan Herta Autosport
- Davey Hamilton, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
- Paul Tracy, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
- Tomas Scheckter, KV Racing Technology/SH Racing
- Bertrand Baguette, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
- Townsend Bell, Sam Schmidt Motorsports
- Jay Howard, Sam Schmidt Motorsports/Rahal Letterman Lanigan
- Ed Carpenter, Sarah Fisher Racing
All the regular full-season IndyCar series runners are also entered.
The full entry list will be confirmed shortly in time for Opening Day on May 14. The race itself will be held on May 29, with business mogul Donald Trump announced as the driver of the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Pace Car to lead the field of 33 drivers to the start.
"It's a great honor to be selected as the Pace Car driver," Trump said. "The Indianapolis 500 has been the gold standard of motorsports for a century, and I can't wait to get behind the wheel of the Camaro and bring the famous field of 33 drivers to the green flag."