By: Spencer Neff
March 8, 2019 | 1:00 PM
For the second day in a row, an entry was confirmed for this May’s 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Continuing their partnership from 2018, the ownership trio of the Byrd family, Hollinger MotorSport and Belardi Auto Racing will once again field an entry for veteran James Davison. This year, the team will partner with Dale Coyne Racing. Davison will attempt to run his fifth Indianapolis 500.
“I’m enraptured to be rejoining Dale Coyne Racing with Byrd Hollinger Belardi,” said Davison.
“Dale’s team is special in many ways and I have fond memories driving the #18 and #19 cars at the 500 in the past. We endeavor to recreate our prior success together and can’t wait to get after it.”
In 2018, the brand-new alliance between the three entities aligned with A.J. Foyt Racing. Davison crashed during Fast Friday practice. However, a valiant effort by the team got Davison ready for qualifying. The Australian qualified 33rd to narrowly avoid being bumped. A day later, he improved to start 19th on the grid (his best start at Indianapolis).
Davison struggled during the race and finished 33rd after a Lap 47 crash with Takuma Sato.
Coyne, Byrd and Davison also enter 2019 with a great deal of familiarity with one another, particularly at Indianapolis. In his six previous IndyCar starts, Davison has been with Coyne for four of them – including two Indianapolis 500’s in 2015 and 2017.
In 2017, Davison subbed for the injured Sebastien Bourdais and his No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing machine and climbed from 33rd to the lead, two laps before a Lap 184 crash knocked him out of the race.
“We’re very excited to have James (Davison) come back to the team for the Indianapolis 500,” said Team Owner Dale Coyne.
“He stepped in last minute for us with hardly any practice as a substitute driver to Sebastien (Bourdais) a couple of years ago and did a great job under the circumstances and showed he has the speed to run with the best of them.”
“We’re also happy to be partnering once again with the Byrd family who have a long history with the Indy 500, as well as Hollinger MotorSport, and we look forward to working with Brian Belardi and his team.”
In 2016, Byrd Racing partnered with Coyne to field Bryan Clauson for his third 500. Reuniting a partnership with Dale Coyne Racing seemed to be a logical choice for David Byrd, one of the principals of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing.
“It was only a matter of time before we formed a partnership with Dale Coyne Racing for the Indianapolis 500 this year,” shared Byrd.
“We’re all connected in one way or another. Both the Byrd family and James have a history with Dale and his team and last year James, Brad (Hollinger) and I partnered with Belardi Auto Racing, so this year’s deal came together very naturally.”
“Dale’s team has had strong runs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the last couple of years and we hope to continue that with them.”
Practice for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge kicks off on Tuesday, May 14. The race will go green shortly after noon on Sunday, May 26.
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.