British driver Jay Howard has been added to the line-up for the Firestone Twin 275k races on June 11 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Howard had qualified a strong 21st position for the #88 Sam Schmidt Motorsport/Rahal Letterman Lanigan collaboration in the Indianapolis 500, only for an early pit stop blunder see him crash after a wheel detached coming out of pit road on lap 62 while running in the top half of the field.
"Our Indy 500 effort was strong all month long and to have it end the way it did was unfortunate," lamented Howard.
"Jay had a fantastic run going at the Indy 500, but it just wasn't meant to be," said team owner Sam Schmidt.
"Jay impressed us on race day and we are very optimistic that he can have another good weekend for us in Texas," agreed Rahal Letterman Lanigan co-owner Bobby Rahal.
Howard's performance at Indy allowed the team to pull together enough sponsorship to enable them to give Howard an extra outing at Texas.
"We really appreciate the support of Service Central and their brands that are making it possible for Jay to have another shot at Texas," said Schmidt.
"Service Central has believed in me from the start and it's very exciting to return with them to the Texas Motor Speedway," said Jay Howard.
Howard competed in the 2010 Firestone 550k at Texas for Sarah Fisher Racing after narrowly missing out on qualifying for Indianapolis the previous month. It's one of ten IndyCar series starts that the 2006 Firestone Indy Lights champion has made, four of them in 2010 but all of which ended up in mechanical failure or contact.
"We are entering into an event where anything can happen, but as we showed in Indianapolis, our team is ready for anything that does happen," said Rahal.
"We are looking ahead to Texas and plan another hard-fought effort with Rahal Letterman Lanigan," added Howard himself.
The Texas event itself has been overhauled this year and will now consist of two separate 275-kilometre (171 mile) events rather than the single 550-kilometre race previously seen at the 1.5 mile Texas Motor Speedway in the past, the idea being to prevent the race settling into a prolonged mid-section procession as drivers just pace out the distance.