Vision Racing Makes Moves in Preparation for the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 May 2, 2008
vision racing makes moves in preparation for the 92nd running of the indianapolis 500
MAY 2, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The highly anticipated “Month of May” has arrived and Vision Racing is poised to make the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 the team’s best Indy effort yet.
Heading into the Vision Racing’s fourth attempt at the 500-mile affair, the team is enjoying a 2008 IndyCar campaign that’s been highlighted with the return of team drivers Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV, the addition of lead engineer Jeff Britton, the celebration of the team’s 50th IndyCar Series event as well as one top-five and four other top-10 finishes in the season’s first four races.
Those developments combined with additional preparations and enhancements for the month demonstrate the commitment that Vision Racing has made to capture the team’s first win at Indianapolis. Undoubtedly, the team looks to improve upon prior finishes on the 2.5-mile oval. In three previous years at Indianapolis, Vision Racing’s best finishes came last year when two team entries finished in the top-10; seventh and ninth.
Carpenter returns for his fifth Indianapolis 500 in the eye-catching No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone machine. As a sponsor, Menards has enjoyed great success at Indianapolis and their return with Carpenter looks to be a formidable combination in 2008.
Carpenter has two 11th place finishes at Indianapolis and ran as high as fourth last year, but finished 17th when a heavy accident just ahead of him in the closing laps resulted in damage to his car, thus causing him to crash a lap just before race officials called the race due to rain. He has two top-10 finishes and a top-five run on his resume already this year and nothing less is expected at the Brickyard.
Foyt earned a career-best finish at Indianapolis last year driving for Vision Racing. He ran as high as eighth in his fourth try at Indianapolis and finished in the 14th spot. Foyt’s pair of top-10 finishes already this season has him on the right track for success at the same track where his family name was launched into stardom.
Davey Hamilton will again join the Vision Racing stable in 2008, this time behind the wheel of the No. 22 The Computer is Personal Again/HP Honda powered Dallara entry. Last year Davey did an outstanding job in his return to Indianapolis after a six year hiatus, finishing in the top-10 and in the ninth position. The epic return to the cockpit and solid finish was viewed by many as one of the great stories coming out of the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500.
The savvy veteran has a resume featuring 49 IndyCar Series starts, 13 top fives, 23 top tens and 76 laps led. In addition, Hamilton has twice been the runner-up in the IndyCar Series driver point championship. In 1997 he followed Tony Stewart by only seven points and in 1998 he finished just behind Kenny Brack.
At the Indianapolis, Hamilton has a career-best start of eighth, both in 1997 and 1998 and a best-finish of fourth coming in 1998. He’s made a total of seven starts in the Indianapolis 500.
Team principal, Tony George noted, “The speed and determination that Ed and A.J. have shown on the ovals this season, combined with the return of Davey, has Vision Racing well prepared to enjoy the team’s most successful campaign at Indianapolis. This will be the fourth straight year that we have expanded our operation for the month of May and I am excited for the opportunities that our growth will provide us.”
In addition, the team has made some organizational changes effective immediately. Former crew chief, Keven Kukulewicz (a.k.a. Keven Kaye) has been named to the post of team manager, taking on the additional responsibility for the operation of the race team. Kukulewicz follows Larry Curry as Vision Racing’s team manager.
Curry was one of the first employees of Vision Racing when team owners Tony and Laura George formed the team from assets purchased through the sale of Kelley Racing in 2005.
“Larry has been an asset to the growth and building of Vision Racing,” George said. “However, after full review of the facts surrounding the disallowance of the teams qualifying runs at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Larry and I agreed that a breach of what amounts to the teams code of conduct had occurred and as team manager he was expected to uphold a very high standard, but in this instance fell short.”
Kukulewicz has also been with the team since its inception, boasting racing experience that stretches far and wide. “This is a decision that will allow the team to grow organically and as we head into what promises to be a very exciting month, it provides continuity.” Before joining Vision Racing in 2005, Kukulewicz held a variety of positions with such teams as Carl Haas Auto/Newman-Haas Racing, Players/Forsythe Racing, Mo Nunn Racing, and Cheever Racing.
“Keven was a natural choice to name as our new team manager, George added. “His experience and rapport amongst the crew makes him the ideal candidate. This is a pivotal moment in the growth of Vision Racing and Keven is ready to lead the team starting with the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”