LONG BEACH, Calif. — A.J. Foyt Racing, Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, Hollinger MotorSport and Belardi Auto Racing have teamed up to field a car for James Davison in an attempt to qualify for the 102nd Indianapolis 500.
Davison, who will drive the No. 33 Chevrolet, is the 35th confirmed entry for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That means at least two cars will fail to qualify for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing this year.
“I am honored to be driving for the legendary A.J. Foyt with Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi at the Indianapolis 500,” said Davison, who has competed in five Verizon IndyCar Series events, including three Indy 500s. “This will be my first full two-week program in the four years that I have been a part of the event now. We have expectations to meet and I cannot wait to get after it.”
Davison’s performance last year as a substitute driver for the injured Sebastien Bourdais caught the attention of the Byrd brothers, David and Jonathan Byrd II, who put together the deal to run Davison this year. The brothers, sons of the late Jonathan Byrd who passed in 2009, took over their father’s racing brand, which this year celebrates the 33rd anniversary of its first Indianapolis 500 in 1985.
“The Byrd family is excited to once again partner with the AJ Foyt Racing team, together with Brad Hollinger and Brian Belardi, to give James Davison the opportunity to win the Indy 500,” said David Byrd. “Based on what we have seen so far this season, A.J. and Larry and everybody here have things on the right track, and we can’t wait to see what the month of May brings.”
No stranger to the Foyt garage, Byrd partnered with A.J. Foyt in 1994 to run John Andretti in the first leg of famed ‘Double,’ the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600.
“That accomplishment was something previously unheard of and quite special,” said Byrd. “John finished 10th in the 500 before jetting over to Charlotte, N.C. to compete in the World 600 that evening.”
The entry marks the third one for the Foyt team in this 500 while it will be the first one for Belardi, who currently competes full-time in the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Series with Aaron Telitz and Santiago Urrutia. Recently Belardi announced a partnership with the Byrd family to field an entry for sprint car star Chris Windom in this year’s Freedom 100.
“Although our team has won the Freedom 100 twice, this will be my first time at the Indianapolis 500,” Brian Belardi revealed. “I wanted to see it as an entrant, and everything fell into place to do that this year. I think we have a strong chance with James and the team that has been assembled by Foyt Racing and the Byrd family along with Hollinger MotorSport. I’m really looking forward to being a part of this team and the Indy 500.”
Hollinger MotorSport, which is returning for its second Indy 500, began its support of Davison last year when he substituted for Bourdais, who was severely injured during his qualifying run for the 500.
In the race, Davison started last after the team chose not to attempt another qualifying run on Bump Day. Davison managed to race his way through the field and briefly lead the race before being taken out in a multi-car crash with 17 laps left.
“I’m very excited to have Hollinger MotorSport be a part of this year’s Indy 500. It is always an exciting race and we are looking forward to a good result,” said Brad Hollinger of Hollinger MotorSport.
The Foyt team, which will be fielding the ABC Supply Chevrolets for 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan and the 19-year-old rookie Matheus Leist, had planned to refrain from running a third entry in the 500 this year, but that changed when this opportunity arose.
“I’m happy to be joining with Byrd, Hollinger, and Belardi for this entry,” said Larry Foyt, the president of A.J. Foyt Enterprises. “They have worked hard to ensure we will have the resources for a strong program. James has shown he can do a great job at Indianapolis and I think this entry will be a great addition to this year’s 500.”
“I worked with Jonathan Byrd years ago, and he was a swell guy,” said team owner A.J. Foyt. “It’s a small world and I’m just glad to be working with his boys, Jonathan and David. As for James, I know Larry has liked him since he met him when he was running Indy Lights. I’ve heard a lot about him and watched him run here at Indy and he’s run pretty good, so I’m looking forward to working with him.”