Scott Speed joins Dragon Racing
INDIANAPOLIS -- Scott Speed wants to become the first American to start all three auto races at Indianapolis and he's hoping to become the first $5 million man, too.
Speed was hired Friday by Jay Penske's team, Dragon Racing, to compete in this month's Indianapolis 500 and October's season-ending race at Las Vegas.
"Having the ability to compete in the Indy 500 is a dream for any racing driver," Speed said in a news release.
Speed also has a real chance to add some historic lines to his resume. If he qualifies for the May 29 race at Indy, Speed would become the first American and the third driver in track history to compete in the three biggest races at Indy -- the 500, the Brickyard 400 and the U.S. Grand Prix.
The others: Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, the 1995 Indy winner, and Colombia's Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2000 Indy winner. Both made their first starts at the track in the 500.
By competing in the season-ending event, Speed would also be the first driver eligible for the $5 million prize IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has offered to drivers from other series if they win at Vegas.
Speed made 71 starts on the Cup circuit in 2009 and 2010 after leaving F1, but had only one top-five finish in two years. He has not started a NASCAR race this season but is scheduled to make two starts for Kevin Harvick's team in the Nationwide Series.
So when Penske, the youngest son of racing icon Roger Penske, offered Speed the No. 20 car for two races, Speed quickly accepted.
"As one of America's finest open-wheel racers, Scott's past experience in Formula One and NASCAR make him a serious contender at this year's Indy 500 and at the IndyCar Challenge in Las Vegas," Penske said.
He is the second driver Penske plans to field this May. On Tuesday, Penske and Sam Schmidt Motorsports announced they would partner to make Ho-Pin Tung the first Chinese starter in Indy history. Speed and Tung are both expected to test on Monday in Chicago.
On Thursday, Dale Coyne Racing said it would put IndyCar veteran Alex Lloyd in the No. 19 car and seven other oval races this season. Sebastien Bourdais will continue driving the same car on the remaining five street and road courses.
Lloyd, from England, finished fourth in last year's 500. He also became a major story in 2009 at Indy because his pregnant wife was due on race day.
"I'm pumped to be back with the Dale Coyne Racing team, and running not only at Indy, but at the remaining oval track events in 2011," Lloyd said. "I'm very excited to have this chance."
Lloyd had four top-10s last season with Coyne's team and was last season's IndyCar rookie of the year.
Forty-five driver-car combinations have been entered and will vie for the 33 starting spots May 21-22.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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95TH INDIANAPOLIS 500-MILE RACE
It's time for the 95th running of the Indianapolis 500, but it's the number 100 that counts in 2011. This is the 100th anniversary of the running of the first 500, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Centennial Era celebration is in high gear.
Indianapolis 500 Home
Race Day, May 29• Blount: The thrill and agony
• Hinton: Oh yeah, Indy is back!
• Oreovicz: Bad day for power teams
• McGee: What a capper to 100 years
• espnW: A roller-coaster ride for Indy women
• Gallery: 100th anniversary of the 500
• Recap: Wheldon wins a stunner
• Watch: Full highlights
• Watch: Full booth analysis
• Watch: Wheldon so thankful
• Watch: Hildebrand crestfallen
Saturday, May 28• Blount: Hang on to your hats!
• Hinton: Back again in Indiana
• ESPN.com staff: Our podium predictions
• Racing Live! Indy 500, Sunday, noon ET
Carb Day, May 27• Blount: The weekend's best race is ...
• Hinton: Foyt legend still strong in 2011
• Gallery: A.J. Foyt, A Racing Life
• Hinton from 1991: The last ride of A.J. Foyt
• Hinton on the Field of the Century front row
• Hinton's Indy 500 Field of the Century: Row 1
• Oreovicz blog: Ganassi team leads Carb Day
• espnW: Patrick's mom, Bev, enjoying ride
• Blount blog: The way Mario Andretti sees it
• Ed Hinton chat wrap
• John Oreovicz chat wrap
• Podcast: Brent Musburger previews the race
• Podcast: Helio Castroneves is ready to roll
• SportsNation: Indy 500 predictions
Features• Oreovicz: Breaking down the field of 33
• Blount: Bumping Junqueira saved jobs
• James: Women find a niche in IndyCar
• SportsNation quiz: All-time lap leaders
• Indy 500 preview photo gallery
• James: No stopping Simona
• Blount: Indy shows NASCAR how it's done
• James: Women drivers carving a niche
• Oreovicz: Danica dodges Bump Day disaster
• James: A stormy day at the track for Danica
• Oreovicz: Wild and wacky Pole Day
• Oreovicz: Month of May primer
Practice And Qualifying• Danica makes 500 field
• Carpentier crashes in Sunday practice
• Tagliani wins Indy 500 pole
• Briscoe crashes in Saturday practice
• Di Silvestro cleared to race
• Castroneves tops speed charts
• Tagliani leads Friday at over 228 mph
• De Silvestro waiting for medical clearance
• Power leads Thursday practice
• De Silvestro burns hands in crash
• Rain scrubs practice again Wednesday
• Weather limits practice Tuesday
• Tagliani turns month's fastest lap Monday
• Opening Sunday washed out
• Opening day starts fast
Indy 500 Field Of The Century• Hinton: The method in our list
• Row 1: Foyt, Lockhart, Vukovich
• Row 2: Ma. Andretti, Mears, A. Unser
• Row 3: Shaw, Jones, DePalma
• Row 4: Meyer, B. Unser, Rutherford
• Row 5: Ward, Johncock, Fittipaldi
• Row 6: Rose, Unser Jr., Milton
• Row 7: Clark, Mi. Andretti, Villenueve
• Row 8: Luyendyk, Hill, Harroun
• Row 9: Castroneves, Franchitti, Montoya
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• Row 11: Flaherty, Kanaan, Hurtubise
• The Social Pioneers
Indy At 100• Indy at 100: 2000 and beyond
• Indy at 100: Tony George reigns in the '90s
• Indy at 100: 1980s had stars, foreign cars
• Indy at 100: Speed and safety in the '70s
• Indy at 100: A time of change
• Indy at 100: The '50s golden era
• Indy at 100: WWII puts racing on hold
• Indy at 100: 1930-39 a dangerous era
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• Indy at 100: 1911-1919 was pivotal
• Indianapolis Motor Speedway timeline
More• Indy 500 front row chat wrap
• John Oreovicz chat wrap
• Danica not tipping hand on future
• Foyt, Mears, Unser top "greatest" fan poll
• Scott Speed joins Dragon Racing
• A.J. Foyt will drive Indy 500 pace car
• China's Ho-Pin Tung eyes Indy 500
• Indy 500 to honor Tom Carnegie
• Buddy Rice heading back to Indy 500
Indy 500 Rewind• 2010 Flashback: Dario's all the way back
• 2009 Flashback: Castroneves wins again
• 2008 Flashback: Quiet Dixon makes noise • 2007 Flashback: Franchitti comes up big
• 2006 Flashback: Hornish gets his "Holy Grail"