Andretti Green Racing has announced that it will field a fourth Honda-powered Dallara in the Indy Racing League next season, allowing Bryan Herta to return to the squad where he acted as substitute driver in 2003.

Herta, who enjoyed an eight-year career in the CART series, started eleven races for Andretti Green last season while standing in for the injured Dario Franchitti, making his debut at Texas Motor Speedway on 7 June and winning the Kansas Indy 300 among a total of six top-five finishes. Those numbers included a string of three consecutive top-three finishes - at Kentucky, Nazareth and Chicagoland.

"It's very exciting for Andretti Green Racing to be able to add a fourth car," said AGR co-owner Michael Andretti, "Bryan did such a great job for us last year and we really didn't want to lose him.

"The IndyCar Series is so competitive that you need every resource and advantage you can get. We know it won't be an easy thing to do, but being able to run four cars and keep Bryan Herta in our line-up should give us a great shot to contend for the 2004 championship. We would like nothing better than to be able to deliver that to Honda and all of our partners in 2004."

Herta's resume includes a pair of series titles - the 1991 Barber Saab Pro Series and the 1993 Indy Lights Championship - but he has moved between drives with some regularity since losing a full-time CART ride with Team Rahal in 1999.

"I couldn't be happier to be back with Andretti Green and Honda," Herta said, "Last year was a great opportunity and it is awesome to be able to continue with the team and expand on what we achieved in 2003."

Before accepting his assignment as the substitute for Franchitti at AGR, Herta added some diversity to his career by competing in an ALMS sportscar at Sebring, a NASCAR stock car at California Speedway and a CART Champ Car at Laguna Seca during the early part of 2003.

Next season, he will compete alongside AGR's three other confirmed drivers - Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon - as the second year team attempts to wrest the IRL crown from former CART rival Chip Ganassi's team. Rumours suggest that current Access Motorsports sponsor Trim Spa will move across to AGR, possibly to appear on Franchitti's car.

 

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