Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian
The cast: Driver – Gabby Chaves. Chief engineer – John Dick
Twitter: @GabbyChaves, @BHA
The car: No. 98 Honda
Personal: Turns 22 on July 7. Born in Bogota, Colombia, and recently moved to Indianapolis from Miami. His father is an airline pilot.
Click it: Chaves well on way of learning curve
Snapshot: Chaves is the latest Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion to move up to the Verizon IndyCar Series. … Jack Hawksworth, another rookie, drove the No. 98 car last season before moving to A.J. Foyt Racing for 2015 as part of a two-car effort. “Recent experience has shown that top drivers graduating from Indy Lights have transitioned to IndyCar with great success,” team owner/race strategist Bryan Herta said. “We have had the opportunity to work with a few rookie drivers in the last couple years and we believe we have a great environment to support their development and achieve great results.” … Dick, who was with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing last year, replaces Todd Malloy, who moved to Chip Ganassi Racing Teams. … Fellow Colombian Carlos Munoz was the Sunoco Rookie of the Year in 2014. … Toronto-based David Bowen continues his partnership in the No. 98 entry that began in 2012.
The stats: Chaves won four races, including the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on the way to the Indy Lights title with Belardi Auto Racing. He also earned two pole starts. … He placed second in the championship in 2013. … In 2012, Chaves placed second in the Pro Mazda standings in his first season competing in the States. … With Hawksworth last season, BHA garnered one podium finish (third at Houston 2) and five top-10 finishes overall. He had a best qualifying effort of second for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
The gist: Chaves tested for BHA in December at Sebring International Raceway. He also has been co-driving the DeltaWing car in IMSA-sanctioned endurance races (Petit Le Mans in October 2014 and Rolex 24 At Daytona in January). … BHA will enter a second car in the 99th Indianapolis 500 with driver Jay Howard. It won the 2011 Indy 500 with driver Dan Wheldon. ... Herta, the 1993 Indy Lights champion, competed in Indy car racing from 1994-2006.
They said it: “Gabby has the skills and mindset to make a real impact in IndyCar, I see no reason why Gabby should not be a top contender for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors,” Herta said.
Added Chaves: “As soon as the deal was announced, I was very happy. It's been a long journey to get to where I am. We've had a lot of sacrifice, a lot of hard times. I'm not saying we're going to go out and win the first race by any means. We want to go out there and race as hard as we can, compete with the fastest cars. I believe we can do it. I believe with the right work ethic, you can make it happen, even in a one-car team, being a rookie."