IndyCar veteran Sharp joins Rahal Letterman Racing

INDIANAPOLIS -- IndyCar Series veteran Scott Sharp is joining Rahal Letterman Racing, giving the team a second driver for next season.

Sharp will join returning driver Jeff Simmons with Rahal Letterman, which lost Danica Patrick to Andretti Green Racing and has not been able to line up a sponsor for 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice.

Sharp, 38, is the IRL's longest-tenured driver and has won nine races while driving in all 11 seasons since the series started. He finished 12th in the IRL driver standings this past season while driving for Delphi Fernandez Racing. He finished fifth in the Texas and Richmond races.

"Scott has demonstrated over the years to be one of the most consistent drivers in the IndyCar Series and he is a proven race winner," team co-owner Bobby Rahal said.

Sharp's No. 8 Honda-powered Dallara will be sponsored by The Patron Spirits Co.

He is the career leader in IndyCar Series starts (129) and has 35 top-five starts.

Simmons finished 16th in the driver standings as a rookie after he was hired to replace Paul Dana, who died in a crash March 26 at Homestead, Fla.