The entry list for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 grew to 35 today. James Davison was announced as the driver for the No.33 Dallara-Chevrolet that will be entered by A.J. Foyt Racing.
The car is part of a partnership with Byrd Racing. Belardi Auto Racing and Holinger Motor Sport have also joined the effort. This will be the fourth consecutive season Foyt Racing will field a third entry at Indianapolis.
“I’m happy to be joining with Byrd, Hollinger, and Belardi for this entry,” Team President Larry Foyt said in the team’s press release. “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.”
Davison is entered alongside Foyt’s full-time Verizon IndyCar Series entires driven by Matheus Leist and Tony Kanaan.
“I am honored to be driving for the legendary A.J. Foyt with Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi at the Indianapolis 500,” said Davison.
“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.”
The Australian will be attempting to qualify for his fourth Indianapolis 500. The Melbourne native first appeared in the Greatest Spectacle in 2014 with KV Racing Technology, where he started 28th and finished 16th.
The following year, Davison had Tristan Vautier qualify his car due to a prior racing commitment and started 33rd.
After contact with teammate Pippa Mann resulted in him colliding with one of Vautier’s crew members on pit road, Davison and Vautier retired from the race, having completed 116 of 200 laps. Davison finished 27th.
A crash on the first day of 2017 Indianapolis 500 qualifying would sideline Sebastien Bourdais with hip and pelvic fractures. Davison, who had not raced an IndyCar since the 2015 500 was announced the following morning as the replacement for the injured Frenchman.
Davison would start the race in 33rd. Despite two mid-race penalties, he charged through the field and led two laps. Contact with Oriol Servia on Lap 183 would trigger a five-car crash that ended the Australian’s day.
Byrd Racing’s entry is their first run at Indianapolis since they teamed with Dale Coyne Racing to field Bryan Clauson’s entry in 2016.
Clauson, who also drove for the team in 2015, was fatally injured in a sprint car crash in August of that year, leaving Byrd Racing’s IndyCar future uncertain.
“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, one of the principals of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing.
“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.”
Belardi Auto Racing will also partner with Byrd Racing and Baldwin Racing to field Chris Windom in the Indy Lights Freedom 100 on May 25, a race the team won with Peter Dempsey and Gabby Chaves in 2013 and 2014. This will be the first Indianapolis 500 for Belardi, who also fields Aaron Telitz and Santiago Urrutia full-time in Indy Lights.
“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 returns to Indianapolis having supported Davison’s efforts last May.
“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.
Images courtesy of INDYCAR Media