Foyt Hires Giaffone
December 14, 2005 | 5:19 P.M. EST
"After working with Felipe at Indy last year, I was impressed," said Foyt, who fielded three cars in last year's 500. Giaffone was the top finisher of the three, placing 15th.
"Coming in to qualify on Bump Day for the biggest race in the world in a car you've never driven before for a team you've never worked with before, well you're either crazy or a real race driver. He proved to me that he's a real race driver," Foyt said.
"I am glad to be coming back to the IRL with a good team that has a good engine package," said Giaffone. "The little time that I had to work with A.J. last year, we had a good race set-up and now that we will have a strong engine, I am excited about our chances for the season, especially Indianapolis."
"We had the opportunity to meet Felipe last year at the Indy 500 when he did a great job driving the No. 48 ABC Supply car," said company founder and CEO Ken Hendricks. "We are very happy to welcome him to the ABC Supply team and are looking forward to the 2006 season."
At Indy in 2005, Giaffone, the 2001 IRL Rookie of the Year, had been looking for a ride for the 500 but had given up hope of finding one. On Bump Day, he was shopping with his wife Alice before heading back to Brazil the following day. Then he received a call to come to the Speedway wherein he met A.J. Foyt and the two men discussed trying to qualify Foyt's third car. Giaffone obtained his race seat from his former team Dreyer-Reinbold Racing, practiced in the orange No. 48 ABC Supply Toyota/Panoz and then qualified the car in the final minutes at over 217 mph. It took less than five hours from conception to completion. He started last and finished 15th in the 500.
"I'm also looking forward to driving on the road courses because until I came to the Indy cars, my whole career was on road courses," said Giaffone. "Last year the IRL added them to the schedule but I didn't have a ride. Now I can look forward to those races along with the others."
Giaffone, who began his IndyCar career with Hubbard-Treadway Racing in 2001, drove for Mo Nunn Racing in 2002-3. He has one win (Kentucky in 2002), 13 top-fives and 29 top-10s in 53 starts. His best performance at Indy came in 2002 when he started fourth and finished third. He missed one third of the season in 2003 when an accident at Kansas resulted in fractures to his right leg and pelvis.
Giaffone, who will make his home in Miami with his wife Alice and son Nicolas, is a second generation driver; his father won the stock car series championship in Brazil in 1989. The 30-year-old was coached by Formula One champion Nelson Piquet in 1999 when Giaffone was driving Indy Lights.