SVRA - JIMMY VASSER, PAUL TRACY RETURN TO SVRA BRICKYARD INVITATIONAL
Indy Car Champions To Tackle June 16 Indy Legends Charity Pro-Am At IMS
Southlake, TX (April 10, 2018) – The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced that 1996 Indy Car Champion Jimmy Vasser and 2003 Indy Car Champion Paul Tracy will once again compete in the “Indy Legends” Charity Pro-Am at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Tracy, who won the event in 2016, is returning for his third go at what is arguably the biggest prize in vintage racing. Vasser is coming back for his second stab at victory after making his first appearance last year. The Pro-Am is the Saturday, June 16 feature event of the Brickyard Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Both Tracy and Vasser are among the major talents of modern Indy car racing. Tracy is a seven-time starter in the Indianapolis 500 with a best finish of second in 2002 in a controversial result that still has bench-racers debating the outcome. Vasser competed in eight Indianapolis 500s, recording two fourths in 1994 and 2001 for his best showings.
“I can’t express how delighted I am that Paul and Jimmy decided to return to our Brickyard Invitational, said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. Drivers of their caliber choosing to race with SVRA is a big part of the reason the Brickyard Invitational is rapidly becoming American motor racing’s Fathers’ Day Weekend Classic.”
The Pro-Am feature Tracy and Vasser will compete in is a 45-minute race of American muscle cars on the Speedway’s 2.43-mile Grand Prix road course on Saturday, June 16. The cars are 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of the “Group 6” SVRA class. As in the previous three years, the professionals will be paired with amateur drivers, splitting stints at the wheel at their discretion. Additional Indy 500 drivers will be announced as they enter the Pro-Am in the coming weeks.
Vasser has been a force in Indy car racing for 25 years, scoring 10 victories as a driver and winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500 as a team owner with Tony Kanaan at the wheel. Driving for Jim Hayhoe, he burst onto the scene at Indianapolis in 1992 by setting the speed record for rookies during qualifying at 222.313 mph. During his 15 seasons as an Indy car driver, Vasser drove for several top teams, including six years with Chip Ganassi. He also drove for Bobby Rahal, Pat Patrick, and Stefan Johansson before joining forces with Kevin Kalkhoven and moving into a partnership to form KV Racing in 2004. He became a partner in Dale Coyne’s Indy car team in 2018.
“Paul encouraged me to check out SVRA racing last year, and I came away really happy I did,” said Vasser. “It just felt great to be buckled into a race car again, get out on the track and race across those bricks. It’s fun competition in a relaxed, more informal atmosphere for the drivers and fans.”
Tracy, a 2014 inductee into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame, enjoyed a 20-year career at the top level of North American open-wheel racing. During that time he amassed an amazing 31 race wins and a 2003 series championship while driving for some of the premier teams in the sport, including Penske Racing, Newman-Haas, Team Kool Green, Forsythe and A.J. Foyt. In 2006, 2007 and 2012 Tracy drove in several Grand-Am sports car races including the 24 Hours of Daytona in each of those years. He also remains active in Indy car racing as an analyst in the broadcast booth for NBC Sports coverage of the series. Most recently he competed in last month’s Road Atlanta round of the professional Trans Am series. Tony Parella, who became majority owner of Trans Am in 2017, also arranged that opportunity.
“I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – these SVRA guys are serious racers,” said Tracy. “Tony has put together the marquee event in vintage sports car racing, and I look forward to being a part of it for years to come.”
In addition to the Pro-Am, there will be a festival of other activities at the Brickyard Invitational including the Sunday, June 17 feature race by the professional Trans Am series headed by 2017 champion and emerging superstar, 20-year-old Ernie Francis Jr. The weekend also presents the Hagerty Insurance “shine and show” car corral, vintage motorcycle racing, and 500+ vintage racers ranging over 100 years of automotive history racing in SVRA Groups 1 through 12. An oval exhibition featuring a racecar show of judged competition for the A.J. Watson and Sir Jack Brabham trophies led by track historian Donald Davidson will also take place.