By April Furst, Staff Writer
INDIANAPOLIS: April 1, 2016- One of the best-kept secrets in motor racing is now out of the bag as KVSH Racing announced early this morning that NASCAR regular Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be driving a second entry for the team at the historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
The car will be powered by Chevrolet and sponsored by Kick Start. Earnhardt will run his familiar number 88 on the IndyCar.
In running the Memorial Day double that includes racing at Indianapolis and Charlotte on the same day, Earnhardt joins a list of drivers that includes John Andretti, Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, and most recently, Kurt Busch.
“We are super excited to make this announcement,” said team owner Jimmy Vasser. “The Earnhardt name is synonymous with racing, and what better name to add to the historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. We owe a debt of gratitude to Chevrolet, who was instrumental in putting this deal together and we welcome aboard Kick Start as a sponsor.”
Under a veil of secrecy, the team ran Earnhardt in the Dallara DW-12 at Homestead Miami Speedway on Easter weekend. KVSH’s regular driver, Sebastien Bourdais, was present at the test to provide Earnhardt with coaching as he drove the unfamiliar car.
“I think he will do well,” said Bourdais, who has 34 open-wheel wins. “We hit it off quite well. He is a racer, just like myself and I look forward to having him as a teammate at Indianapolis.”
While no times were published, observers that were present at the private test reported that, by the end of the day, the Sprint Cup driver ran laps comfortably in the neighborhood of 210 mph.
“I’ve actually been planning this for a few years, ” said Earnhardt. “When Graham (Rahal) and I were both running National Guard sponsorship, I was able to have some conversations with him, and we jokingly talked about a car-swap.”
“That idea got me thinking, I’m not getting any younger, and the 100th running is the prime opportunity to give this a try. I’m confident that KVSH will give me a car capable of winning, and the rest will be in my hands. I have had a number of conversations with Kurt (Busch) and Tony (Stewart) about the logistics, and I’m confident that we can pull it off.”
“I have to thank the Hendrick Organization for working with me on this opportunity, and Chevrolet for putting it all together.”
“One more thing.” Earnhardt Jr. added,
Editor’s note: We hope you enjoyed the April 1st tradition with our annual ‘April Fool’s Day’ article. If Dale Jr. does in fact decide to run the Indy 500 then we are glad to be fortune tellers in the world of racing and first to bring you, the fans, such breaking and resourceful news.