Alex Tagliani to drive 3rd AJ Foyt car in Indy 500, will pay tribute to Dan Gurney

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AJ Foyt’s No. 48 Honda-powered Dallara will have history written all over it in this year’s Indianapolis 500.

As the IndyCar world prepares for the 99th running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing, Foyt will honor and offer a special tribute to fellow racing veteran and lifelong friend, Dan Gurney.

Gurney and Foyt co-piloted the Ford GT 40 Mk IV car to victory in the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1967.

Gurney then went on to take his black and bright white No. 48 car to second-place finishes in both the 1968 and 1969 Indianapolis 500 (the 48 in this year’s 500 will have a similar paint scheme and look to it).

“My good friend, Dan Gurney, used to run that number and he’s supposed to be back at Indy this year, so I thought it would be a great way to honor him,” Foyt said in a media release. “And he had some good runs with that number.”

Gurney, who turned 84 on April 13, is one of the most versatile and winning drivers in all motorsports:

* In Formula One, he earned four wins, 19 podium appearances and three poles in 86 career starts.

* In NASCAR, Gurney took part in 16 races, earning five wins, 10 top-10 finishes and three poles.

* In USAC, he won 7 races, had 17 top-five finishes and 10 poles in 28 starts.

“I am deeply touched by my old friend and teammate AJ “Super Tex” Foyt to be honored in this way,” Gurney said in a statement.

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Dan Gurney, left, and AJ Foyt, who will pay tribute to Gurney’s illustrious racing career by featuring it on the No. 48 car in this month’s Indianapolis 500. (Photo courtesy AJ Foyt Racing)

Veteran driver and 2011 Indy 500 pole sitter Alex Tagliani will drive the No. 48, which will be sponsored by Al-Fe Heat Treating.

“Driving for AJ at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is something really, really special,” Tagliani said. “Having the chance to contribute to the Foyt family legacy at the Speedway is my mission for the month of May.

“I am thrilled to be part of honoring Dan Gurney by driving a car in his livery. Bringing the Gurney Eagle’s vintage look to the new Honda Aero kit car is for sure going to be a crowd pleaser. … Taking the Dan Gurney No. 48 Al-Fe Heat treating machine to Indy’s victory circle would be awesome, and we’re aiming to do just that.”

Added Gurney, who owned the No. 48 Jorgensen Eagle that Bobby Unser won the 1975 Indy 500 in, “I will be rooting for Alex Tagliani in 48 with a big smile on my face.”

A veteran of over 200 IndyCar race starts, this will be Tagliani’s seventh career Indy 500. His best finish was 10th in 2010. In last year’s race, while driving for Sarah Fisher Racing, Tagliani, 41, finished 13th.

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The No. 48 car itself. Photo: A.J. Foyt Racing

The 48 will be one of three cars to be campaigned in the May 24 by AJ Foyt Racing, the first time the team has run three cars in the 500 since 2005. The other two cars that will be carrying the AFR banner will be the No. 14 piloted by Takuma Sato and the No. 41 driven by Jack Hawksworth.

“Dad has a long tradition of adding extra cars at the speedway,” said Larry Foyt, AJ’s son and president of AJ Foyt Racing. “Although we hadn’t originally planned on it, when the opportunity came, it made good sense.

“It was important to have a driver with the ability and experience of Alex, so adding him to our lineup is a great fit.”

Tagliani will take his first laps in the 48 on Monday, May 11, when Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens for its first full day of practice for the Indy 500. Qualifying will take place May 16 and 17.

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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, points

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

POINTS: Standings after Rolex 24 at Daytona l Michelin Endurance Cup standings l Daytona endurance points

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.