Wade Cunningham takes aim at Indy
The team announced Wednesday that Cunningham will be a teammate to Mike Conway, the full-time IndyCar Series driver for Foyt, at the 500. The team has two Honda engines for that race, which gives four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Foyt the flexibility to field a second car.
"Driving for A.J.? He's a legend!" said Cunningham. "A.J.'s from a different era but he's raced front-engine roadsters at the Speedway and ended with the turbo-charged CART Indy cars, so he's had an amazing career, and his is a very storied team, so it's quite an honor to drive for him."
The 27-year-old from New Zealand ran three IndyCar races last season, but not the 500. He will be a rookie at Indianapolis and will participate in the May 10 orientation program
Still, Cunningham already knows his way around Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He's won the Indy Lights race three times, and has five podium finishes in six career starts.
"Indy means more to me than anything else," Cunningham said. "Winning at Indy in the Firestone Indy Lights Series is the only thing that kept my career on track, so it's important to me to go there and do well in IndyCar and prove that the results can translate."
Foyt said he first noticed Cunningham in the Indy Lights Series, but also was impressed with Cunningham's seventh-place finish in the IndyCar race at Kentucky last year. Cunningham was in the top five with less than 10 laps to go, tried to pass Scott Dixon for third, but got boxed in and lost his momentum to fade to seventh place.
"I knew Wade was good in the little cars, but what opened my eyes was his race at Kentucky in the Indy cars," Foyt said. "I think Wade will do a great job for us at Indy, and I think he'll be a big asset to our team. I'm really looking forward to working with him."
Cunningham will get his first drive in the new IndyCar during the May 7 test at Texas.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press