April 13, 2018 —
James Davison has been named to drive the No. 33 Chevrolet in the Indianapolis 500; the car has been entered by Foyt Racing with partners Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, Hollinger MotorSport and Belardi Auto Racing.
“I am honored to be driving for the legendary A.J. Foyt with Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi at the Indianapolis 500,” said Davison who has competed in five Verizon IndyCar Series events, including three Indy 500s. “This will be my first full two-week program in the four years that I have been a part of the event now. We have expectations to meet and I cannot wait to get after it.”
It was on the basis of Davison’s performance last year as a substitute driver for the injured Sebastien Bourdais, that Davison caught the attention of the Byrd brothers, who put together the deal to run Davison this year. The brothers, sons of the late Jonathan Byrd who passed in 2009, took over their father’s racing brand, which this year celebrates the 33rd anniversary of its first Indianapolis 500 in 1985.
“The Byrd family is excited to once again partner with the AJ Foyt Racing team, together with Brad Hollinger and Brian Belardi, to give James Davison the opportunity to win the Indy 500,” said David Byrd, one of the principals of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing. “Based on what we have seen so far this season, A.J. and Larry and everybody here have things on the right track, and we can’t wait to see what the month of May brings.”
No stranger to the Foyt garage, Byrd partnered with A.J. Foyt in 1994 to run John Andretti in the first leg of The Indy Double. “That accomplishment was something previously unheard of and quite special,” said Byrd, who noted, “John finished 10th in the 500 before jetting over to Charlotte, N.C. to compete in the World 600 that evening.”
The entry marks the third one for the Foyt team in this 500 while it will be the first one for Belardi, who currently competes full-time in the Indy Lights Series Presented by Cooper Tires with Aaron Telitz and Santiago Urrutia. Recently Belardi announced a partnership with the Byrd family to run Chris Windom in this year’s Freedom 100.
“Although our team has won the Freedom 100 twice, this will be my first time at the Indianapolis 500,” Brian Belardi revealed. “I wanted to see it as an entrant, and everything fell into place to do that this year. I think we have a strong chance with James and the team that has been assembled by Foyt Racing and the Byrd family along with Hollinger MotorSport. I’m really looking forward to being a part of this team and the Indy 500.”
Hollinger MotorSport, which is returning for its second Indy 500, began its support of Davison last year when he substituted for Sebastian Bourdais, who was severely injured during his qualifying run for the 500. In the race, Davison started last (the team did not attempt another qualifying run on Bump Day) and had climbed to the lead. He was running fifth when he was involved in a multi-car crash with just 17 laps to go.
“I’m very excited to have Hollinger MotorSport be a part of this year’s Indy 500. It is always an exciting race and we are looking forward to a good result,” said Brad Hollinger.
The Foyt team, which will be fielding the ABC Supply Chevrolets for 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan and the 19-year-old rookie Matheus “Matt” Leist, had planned to refrain from running a third entry in the 500 this year but changed its plans when this opportunity arose.
“I’m happy to be joining with Byrd, Hollinger, and Belardi for this entry,” Larry Foyt said. “They have worked hard to ensure we will have the resources for a strong program. James has shown he can do a great job at Indianapolis and I think this entry will be a great addition to this year’s 500.”
“I worked with Jonathan Byrd years ago, and he was a swell guy,” said A.J. Foyt. “It’s a small world and I’m just glad to be working with his boys, Jonathan and David. As for James, I know Larry has liked him since he met him when he was running Indy Lights. I’ve heard a lot about him and watched him run here at Indy and he’s run pretty good, so I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Practice for the Indianapolis 500 begins on Tuesday, May 15th. Qualifications will be held on May 19-20, with the race being broadcast live on ABC-TV on Sunday, May 27 starting at 11 a.m. ET.