Indianapolis 500 Mile Race tickets, info
Alex Tagliani, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race pole winner, will drive the No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda for AJ Foyt Racing in the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
The entry's number and livery is a tribute to Dan Gurney and his No. 48 Eagle Indy car, an idea that started with team owner A.J. Foyt, who co-drove with Gurney to win the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1967. The matte black and bright white livery evokes the paint scheme of Gurney’s No. 48 Eagle that he drove to second place in both the 1968 and ’69 Indy 500.
“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. And he had some good runs with that number,” said Foyt, a four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.
Gurney, who plans to attend the '500' for the first time since the 2011 Centennial Anniversary, is looking forward to seeing the No. 48 on track and meeting up with Foyt. As a team owner, Gurney won the 1975 Indy 500 with Bobby Unser driving the No. 48 Jorgensen Eagle.
“I am deeply touched by my old friend and teammate A.J. 'Super Tex' Foyt to be honored in this way and I will be rooting for Alex Tagliani in 48 with a big smile on my face,” Gurney said.
Tagliani returns to the Verizon IndyCar Series for the first time since last year’s Indy 500, in which he qualified 24th and finished 13th for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Tagliani, 41, has more than 200 starts in Indy car competition, and has a best Indy 500 finish of 10th in 2010. He has started in the top 11 four times.
“I am really excited and honored to be part of the AJ Foyt Racing organization because driving for A.J. at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is something really, really special," said Tagliani, who recently became a father for the first time. "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. As a new dad, sharing this unique tribute with my family and the Foyt family is very special. 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.”
Tagliani will join full-season AJ Foyt Racing drivers Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth on the 2.5-mile oval for practice starting May 11. The 500 Mile Race is May 24.
Indiana-based Al-Fe Heat Treating began its association with the team when it signed as an associate sponsor of the Nos. 14 and 41 cars for the 2011 Indianapolis 500. This year marks its first as a primary sponsor of an Indy 500 entry.
“One of the most memorable times of my childhood was to attend the Indy 500 time trials and the race with my family,” Al-fe Heat Treating founder and CEO Kurt Westman said. “My brother and I would spend hours standing at the fence line along Gasoline Alley trying to catch a glimpse and photograph of the cars and drivers A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Parnelli Jones, Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney to name a few.
“It's almost impossible to explain the excitement and pride I feel in being able to be part of one of the most famous race teams in the world, and more so this year by sponsoring the A.J.’s No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating, Dan Gurney-tribute car driven by Alex Tagliani.
“The Verizon IndyCar Series and its great venues presents our company a wonderful opportunity to develop business relationships, entertain customers and employees that share this common interest -- and the Indy 500 is at the top of the list."
AJ Foyt Racing president Larry Foyt said Tagliani will be a "good fit."
"Dad has a long tradition of adding extra cars at the speedway, and although we hadn't originally planned on it, when the opportunity came, it made good sense,” he said. “It was important to have a driver with the ability and experience of Alex. I'm looking forward to see this special livery racing alongside our ABC Supply machines."