Bruno Brickyard Bound
April 26, 2004 | 3:27 P.M. EST
Brazilian Junqueira, now in his second season with Newman/Haas, will drive a PacifiCare-sponsored Honda/G-Force/Firestone entry for the team. In his first Indianapolis 500 in 2001, Junqueira earned "Rookie of the Year" for his fifth-place finish after starting 20th. The following year he won the pole and led the first 32 laps before mechanical problems ended his race.
"We are excited to have Newman/Haas and Bruno as part of what we believe is a very strong lineup of Honda entries for the Indianapolis 500," said Robert Clarke, vice president and general manager of Honda Performance Development. "During the past two decades, Newman/Haas has proven itself to be one of the top teams in open-wheel racing. Their addition, along with our other entries from Andretti Green Racing, Team Rahal, Access Motorsports and the Fernandez organization, will give Honda a formidable lineup as we seek our first ‘500’ victory."
The 2004 Indianapolis 500 will mark the fourth appearance for Honda at the Memorial Day classic. Last year's race included the best result yet for Honda, with three drivers finishing in the top ten, led by Tony Kanaan in third place, Greg Ray in eighth and Roger Yasukawa 10th. In 1995, Scott Goodyear started on the front row and led 42 laps, until he was penalized for passing the pace car in a late-race restart.
"We feel we have assembled a competitive program for our return to the Indianapolis 500," said Carl Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing. "Throughout Honda's history in racing, they have shown their willingness to commit to excellence and that concept, in conjunction with Newman/Haas Racing’s track record, makes this Indy 500 joint venture very exciting. Bruno has had some success in his two previous Indy 500s and we believe that with the Honda/G-Force/Firestone combination, Bruno is capable of putting PacifiCare and Newman/Haas Racing in the winner’s circle."
The 2004 race will mark the 14th for Newman/Haas Racing in the Indianapolis 500. Prior to 2004, the team prepared a total of 20 entries for drivers such as Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell and Paul Tracy. Newman/Haas Racing’s highest finishes in the Indianapolis 500 were second with Mario Andretti in 1985 and Michael Andretti in 1991; and third with Nigel Mansell in his first attempt in 1993. Mario Andretti also brought the team its highest start in the event when he won the pole position in 1987.
Jim McGee, director of special projects for Newman/Haas Racing, will lead the Indianapolis 500 program for Newman/Haas with Tim Wardrop serving as race engineer. One of the most successful teams in open-wheel racing, Newman/Haas has compiled a record of 73 wins, 78 pole positions and 184 podium (top-three) finishes in 21 seasons of racing competition.