Alex Tagliani and FAZZT Racing have announced they will run a second car at the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 this May. The second car opportunity will go to open wheel veteran Bruno Junqueira, a 33-year-old Brazilian who last ran full-time in 2008.
Junqueira was Tagliani's teammate at last year's Indianapolis 500 for Conquest Racing. Tagliani had an incident during qualifying and was unable to place his machine into the field. As a result, Junqueira gave up his seat and allowed the Canadian to replace him in the car he had qualified on bump day.
Tagliani viewed this as a way to pay back the experienced driver and help his new team to grow. Tagliani noted, "I had a pretty good race at the Indy 500, so it is nice way to say thank you to Bruno for what he did for me last year."
By my count, this puts the current confirmed entries for the 500 at 33, which includes the fifth car at Andretti Autosport, which is to be announced tomorrow. It is expected to go to John Andretti. Quite a robust field is expected and bump day should be very exciting.
But for Junqueira, this is about more than being paid back for a good deed. It is about another shot at a dream, which is sipping a little bit of milk in victory lane.
Bruno began his 500 career in 2001, running a G-Force chassis for Ganassi and managing a fifth place finish. The following year, he returned with Ganassi and managed to land on the pole and lead the first 32 laps, however a mechanical problem cost him on the day and he finished 31st. Junqueira scored a top five finish again the next year with Newman-Haas Racing.
He'll look to do well again with FAZZT in 2010. Tagliani has been fast on the road courses with his new team, and is hoping to stay very competitive once the series shifts to oval racing. Junqueira scored eight wins during his time in Champ Car, and will look to bring plenty of experience and wisdom to his new team. The team will have the next two months to get prepared and finish all sponsorship deals for a successful run.