By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — James Davison will return to Dale Coyne Racing in a partnership with three of his main backers from last year’s Indianapolis 500 effort.
Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, Hollinger MotorSport and Belardi Auto Racing will partner with Dale Coyne Racing to field the No. 33 entry as the Australian attempts to qualify for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500. This is the 33rd confirmed entry to the 2019 Indianapolis 500.
Davison finished 33rd in last year’s 500 in the Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi entry after a technical fault and collision ended his race prematurely. Previously, Davison ran with Dale Coyne Racing in the 2015 and 2017 editions of the 500, actually leading in 2017 after starting last.
“It means a lot,” said Davison. “More than anything it means a lot to be back with Dale Coyne. It was a very tough year for the Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi partnership in 2018. We just did the best with the situation that we confronted. All along it was our intention to be with Dale Coyne Racing last year. That didn’t come about.
“In a way it’s a year overdue for us. I’ve had success driving for Dale, for sure my best 500 outing, leading the race in 2017. Went down fighting, came up short like the majority of drivers do.
“Like everyone that starts the race, we have high hopes and certainly the engineering group behind Dale Coyne Racing with Craig Hampson and Mike Cannon, who I’ve been fortunate to work with both in the past, driving the 18 and 19 cars in 2017 and ’15, that’s a big part of what is making Dale Coyne Racing a successful team.”
For Brian Belardi, this is his second year as a co-entrant for the Indianapolis 500. His Indy Lights team has won the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway twice with Peter Dempsey and Gabby Chaves and the NTT IndyCar Series is still on his radar.
“David [Byrd] and James [Hollinger] have been working on this for a couple of years,” said Belardi of the intention to work with Dale Coyne. “It finally came to fruition this year.
“I think everybody knows that my end goal is to be an IndyCar team owner, so basically it’s one step at a time for me. I think this is a fantastic step.”
David Byrd runs the racing empire his father Jonathan created with sponsoring several drivers during the past few decades. The Byrd family have worked with Coyne before and are looking to replicate past leading efforts.
“Dale just has a very welcoming environment, always have been, himself and his wife,” said Byrd. “Everybody at the team, they’re just so fantastic to work with. I’m glad we’re announcing this a little bit earlier than last year, but still wish it wasn’t two months away because I’m eager for it to get going.”