Foyt Hires Bucknum

A.J. Foyt has hired Jeff Bucknum to replace Felipe Giaffone in the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda for the rest of the 2006 IRL IndyCar season.

Bucknum, who drove twice for Foyt last year at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International, will make his first oval track start for Foyt with the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway this weekend.

"We worked with Jeff a couple times last year and he did a good job for us," said Foyt. "I know he hasn’t got much experience on the ovals but I think he can adapt to them. The next two ovals that we’re taking him to are the hardest on the circuit so if he can adapt to them, I think he can adapt to any oval. By the same token, I’m not expecting miracles. I told him to just go out and get some experience and try to come home clean."

Foyt will not be in Nashville this weekend because he is still recovering from knee replacement surgery but he has hired noted Indy car engineer Bruce Ashmore to work with Bucknum at the challenging 1.3 mile concrete track. Ashmore worked with the Foyt team at Indy this past May.

Bucknum’s oval track experience comes from two tracks: Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi in April, 2005 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the last two 500s.

"I don’t have a lack of confidence when it comes to ovals," said Bucknum, "but I’m smart enough to know I need someone to tell me the things that I don’t know because of my lack of experience. A.J. is one of the best when it comes to the oval tracks and teaching drivers to run the ovals. This is the best opportunity I could ask for. In the long run I think it will pay off for both of us."

The Firestone Indy 200 will be broadcast live Saturday night (July 15) on ESPN starting at 9 pm eastern time.

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