Luyendyk Back At Indy
January 5, 2001 | 10:00 A.M. EST
Luyendyk, a two-time winner, announced today that he will come out of his two-year retirement to compete in the Indianapolis 500 for Treadway-Hubbard Racing.
"My desire to keep racing at Indianapolis has never stopped," said the 47-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., resident. "You can put it this way: I'm coming back for the love of the sport, and especially, the love of Indy."
Luyendyk’s return to Treadway-Hubbard reunites the team that won the Indianapolis 500 in 1997, with chief mechanic Skip Faul and engineer Tim Wardrop returning to those roles.
"Arie and I are good friends," owner Fred Treadway said. "I have told Arie all along
that I would support whatever decision he made. Now that Arie has decided to drive again in the Indianapolis 500, I am very happy he will do so with Treadway Racing."
A Dutch newspaper reported last week that Luyendyk was ending his retirement but wasn’t sure if he would return with Target-Chip Ganassi Racing, who Luyendyk drove for in 1993, or Treadway.
In 1999, Luyendyk announced he was competing in his final Indianapolis 500, and it looked as though he would go out on top. He won the pole with a speed of 225.179 mph and led 63 laps before crashing while passing a lapped car in Turn 3.
He returned to IMS in 2000, but as a broadcaster for ABC-TV. That’s when Luyendyk figured out he should be behind the wheel not behind the microphone.
"I was in the broadcast booth at Indy last year, working as a commentator for ABC-TV, and realized that probably wasn't where I really wanted to be," Luyendyk said. "When I said I was going to retire after the 1999 race, it was part of a plan.
"Well, as we all know, things change in life and I now feel this is the right thing for me to do and I have the support of my wife, Mieke, and family."
Luyendyk will drive a G-Force-Aurora entry with sponsorship to be announced later.
If he makes the race, it will be Luyendyk’s 16th appearance in the Indy 500, tying him for 14th for most career starts.
Luyendyk won the Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year award in 1985, and five years later he won the first of his two 500s. In addition to those wins, Luyendyk owns five Indianapolis 500 records:
Luyendyk also has three pole positions, two top-five finishes and three top-10 finishes to go along with his two wins. He’s also led seven races for a total of 187 laps led.
Opening day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is May 6, and pole day is May 12.