The elements between the 1990s-early 2000s and modern day Verizon IndyCar Series for the Indianapolis 500 continue, with the news Monday that Jonathan Byrd’s Racing plans an Indy return.
Problem is, the sponsor’s release announces the return for 2016 – a full two years from now.
That year will mark the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 but given the brand’s heritage, having been part of the ‘500 for most of the 20-year period between 1985 and 2005, the decision was taken now for the Greenwood, Ind.-based operation to announce its return plans. It’s had 17 total entries in the race.
“From the beginning , racing has been part of the DNA of our business,” said Virginia “Ginny” Byrd, wife of the late Jonathan Byrd and owner of Jonathan Byrd’s, “and the Indy 500 has been an especially important part of shaping our identity in central Indiana. The annual participation of the various Jonathan Byrd’s Racing teams in the Indy 500 from 1985 through 2001, and again in 2005, which allowed us to have a place in the event that has provided an identity to the City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana, and to which hundreds of thousands of our fellow Hoosiers have such a strong emotional attachment, enabled us to connect with the greater central Indiana community in a profound way. Since we have been away from Indy, I believe that connection has been missing.”
Ginny Byrd explained the rationale to announce now.
“Even though we won’t be back until the 100th running of 500 in 2016, we thought it would be good to make our efforts on this front public and to share this news with our customers and all those that have supported us over the years. Not only does it give us something to look forward to, we have what I think is a brilliant plan in place as we will be taking steps to tie our brand to our participation in the Indy 500 in a very meaningful way. Now that we’re going back, we intend to be there for a long time to come.”
As ever, a driver and the team partnership will be announced later on. It will be good to see an iconic name return to the Brickyard, even if the wait is for a couple years.