SOUTHLAKE, Texas – Two more high-profile Indy car drivers joined the Sportscar Vintage Racing Ass’n’s Indy Legends Pro-Am race on Wednesday.
Eliseo Salazar and Dick Simon will compete against an already talent-packed field of Indianapolis 500 veterans on June 8 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At least 24 Indianapolis 500 veterans are expected to take part in the contest.
The SVRA, America’s premier vintage racing organization, is creating a return to competition for the famous drivers with a 40-minute race of American muscle cars. The cars for the Pro-Am will be 1967 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of “Group 6,” with an engine displacement limit of 355 cubic inches. The Indianapolis 500 veterans will be paired with amateur drivers, each taking a 20-minute stint. Five minutes will be allotted for driver change.
Simon and Salazar combined for the duo’s only Indy car victory in the final race of the 1997 Indy Racing League season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Salazar drove a Dallara-Oldsmobile for a team managed by Simon. Salazar, a versatile talent, competed in Formula One, Le Mans, World Rally Championship racing and, of course, the Indianapolis 500. In Indy car racing he not only drove for Simon but also the legendary A.J. Foyt for three years. His results at the Indianapolis 500 were impressive with two front-row starts and finishes of third, fourth, sixth and seventh. He remains the only Chilean-born driver to compete in Formula One.
Simon is one of the most colorful characters of Indianapolis 500 history. He saw the promotional value for his sponsors of being the first car to take to the track when practice opened in May. A veteran of 17 Indianapolis 500s, he scored a best finish of sixth in 1987. He was a highly respected car owner and team manager helping to launch the careers of such notables as two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk and 1992 Rookie-of-the-Year Lyn St. James who was one of the first entries in the “Indy Legends” Pro-Am last month.
In addition to Salazar, Simon and St. James a stellar field of entries for the Pro-Am has already been announced, including: two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr., Willy T. Ribbs, Mark Dismore, Geoff Brabham, Alex Lloyd, Johnny Parsons Jr., Davey Hamilton, Robby Unser, Pete Halsmer, Rocky Moran, Rick Treadway, Spike Gehlhausen, Rilly Roe and John Hollansworth. Parnelli Jones, who won the 1963 Indianapolis 500, will pace the field as part of his duties as Brickyard Invitational Grand Marshal. Bobby Unser was recently announced as the leader of the Brickyard Invitational high-speed oval experience.
“Uniting Eliseo and Dick again is just one of the many great stories the Brickyard Invitational is producing,” said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “From my conversations with fans they are really going to get a kick out of catching up with these great drivers and finding out what they are up to. They might be surprised to know that a few of them were already entered as drivers or coaching some of our regular drivers.”