Jay Howard will make his return to the Verizon IndyCar Series as driver of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports No. 77 Honda at the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Howard, who qualified for his first Indy 500 in 2011, will drive the Team One Cure-sponsored entry, which is backed by NASCAR and INDYCAR champion Tony Stewart,
“I can’t begin to tell you how honored I am to have this opportunity,” Howard said. “I’m not one to give up on a dream and I have every bit of determination to make this a successful effort for Tony, Team One Cure and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. I’m in the best condition both mentally and physically, and my race craft is on point. We will be more than ready when IMS opens for practice this May.”
Like Stewart, Howard started racing go-karts at age 7 and like Stewart, Howard has open-wheel driving experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Further, the two have a huge heart for children and animals – making Howard a perfect choice to represent Team One Cure in its race for potential cures to cancer.
“I have every bit of confidence in the skills of Jay behind the wheel,” said Stewart, who formed Team One Cure in partnership with the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center, to help educate people about comparative oncology and improve the lives of all cancer patients, whether pets or people.
“Growing up 45 minutes from the Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 is an important part of my racing history. Participating in this year’s race with Jay and Sam through Team One Cure, we will be making a difference in both the 500 and the race against cancer.”
Howard claimed the 2005 U.S. Formula Ford Zetec Championship and Rookie of the Year award in his first year racing in the U.S., and in 2006, while driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports won the Indy Lights championship. He has made 12 starts in the Verizon IndyCar Series, including his first Indy 500 in 2011, also with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, now called Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
“We are pleased to have Jay competing with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports once again,” said SPM co-owner Sam Schmidt. “Given our impressive winning record together in the past, we have high expectations for the 101st Indy 500. Jay is extremely talented in the car as well as being a great advocate for the Team One Cure initiative.”
Outside of the car, Howard has worked to improve safety and precision in future racers. Howard established a successful driver-coaching program – J. Howard Motorsports Driver Development (MDD), training up-and-coming future stars in motorsports. In 2016, Howard started a SCCA United State F4 Championship team as a team owner, driver coach and overall advisor to he team and drivers within the series.