New IndyCar race team claims Priestley as one of its co-owners

Updated: January 21, 2008, 4:04 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jason Priestley can't stay away from auto racing.

The former "Beverly Hills 90210" heartthrob, seriously injured in a racing accident in 2002, is co-owner of a new race team that plans to enter a car in the Indianapolis 500 in May.

[+] EnlargeJason Preistley
George Pimentel/Getty ImagesActor Jason Priestley was pursuing a racing career until a violent crash during practice in 2002 changed his course of involvement in the sport.

"Dude, this is going to be so fun," Priestley said Monday.

The new Rubicon Race Team will be managed by co-owner Jim Freudenberg, the former general manager of Kelley Racing and a close friend of Priestley, and the No. 28 entry will be built by the Indianapolis-based Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

The team plans to hire a veteran driver within the next few weeks. The Indy 500 on May 25 is the only race in Rubicon's plans for 2008.

"I'm excited to be able to spend the month of May in Indy with my good friends and be a part of the greatest open wheel race," Priestley said by telephone from Canada, through team spokeswoman Jana Watt. "It's been more than five years since my accident, and it's going to be so good to get to see everyone."

Rubicon Racing's advisory board includes former IRL team owner Tom Kelley, Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark and Carolina Panthers punter Jason Baker, who is from Fort Wayne, Ind., and played briefly for the Colts in 2004.

Priestley, a native of British Columbia, became a TV star with Luke Perry, Shannen Doherty and Jennie Garth in the Fox network's "Beverly Hills 90210" in the 1990s. He began racing sports cars in 1991 in the California Rally Series and won his first race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1998. In 2001, he was a broadcast analyst for the IRL series and joined Kelley Racing the next season in the IRL's developmental Indy Pro Series.

He was considered a talented driver and was serious about pursuing a racing career until his crash during practice at Kentucky Speedway in August 2002, when he slammed into the wall at 180 mph and broke his back and feet. He also suffered a concussion, a bruise around his left eye and cuts on his nose, left cheek and neck.

He was transferred to an Indianapolis hospital, where he underwent surgery and rehabilitation.

The 38-year-old actor's new TV series "Side Order of Life" premiered on Lifetime in July.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press