Vasser Lands Indy Ride
April 24, 2003 | 12:15 A.M. EST
Vasser’s No. 19 Rahal/Letterman Racing entry, when combined with Team Rahal’s full-season entry of the No. 15 Miller Lite/Pioneer
car with 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack, gives Team Rahal a two-car entry at Indianapolis for the first time since 1995.
An identical backup car has been entered for Vasser. Jim Prescott is the chief mechanic.
Team Rahal was able to enter the two cars for Vasser because its original entry for the race, for Brack, preceded the April 2 entry deadline.
Vasser, who drove for Team Rahal during the 2002 season, will attempt to qualify the second Rahal/Letterman entry on the final day of qualifying for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500. Vasser will be in Germany driving at the CART event on the opening weekend of Indy qualifying May 10-11.
Not only does this entry mark a reunion for Vasser and Team Rahal but also for Vasser and Honda, for whom he won its first open-wheel championship, in CART in 1996.
“I am very pleased we have been able to assemble this effort as I have great respect for Jimmy as a person and driver,” said Bobby Rahal, team co-owner and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner. “Last year, the team and Jimmy were running very
competitively, and only an unfortunate gearbox failure prevented us from figuring strongly at the end of the race.
“With Jimmy joining Kenny now, I believe we are in good shape for presenting a formidable effort for this year’s 500. I would also like to thank all the Honda people for their support in making this possible.”
Vasser, 37, from Las Vegas, has made seven career Indianapolis 500 starts, including each of the last three years. His best finish is fourth, in 1994 and 2001.
“To run Indy is always special, and to do it with Team Rahal and coupled with Honda, both of whom which I have a lot of respect for and with whom I have a lot of fond memories of my time with, makes it even more special,” Vasser said.
“Certainly we will have our work cut out for us with one day in which to qualify the car. Our qualifying chances would be better if we were there for the full duration, but that isn’t possible because of the race in Germany.
“Certainly I will be the beneficiary of hours of work that Kenny Brack and Don Halliday will log in early May.”