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Stefan Wilson hired to drive 33rd car at Indianapolis 500

Stefan Wilson hired to drive 33rd car at Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS — British driver Stefan Wilson spent an entire year hoping to race in the Indianapolis 500 this year.

All he has to do now is qualify.

Cusick Motorsports and DragonSpeed ​​announced on Thursday that they have hired the 32-year-old British driver, virtually assuring race organizers that they will fill the traditional starting grid of 33 cars.

“The journey to the Indianapolis 500 in 2022 has been a roller coaster ride for Cusick Motorsports, our partners and myself,” Wilson said in a statement. “A few weeks ago it didn’t look like this was going to happen for us, but I’m so relieved that all the pieces came together to have another shot at this race.”

The team officials were scheduled to speak later Thursday.

Hiring Wilson brings a household name with emotional ties back to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He will attempt to start his fourth career driving the No. 25 car – the same number his older brother, Justin, used when he died of injuries sustained at an IndyCar race in Pocono in August 2015.

Wilson will be working with Cusick’s team for the second consecutive year, this time in a black, blue, red and white color scheme with a Chevrolet engine, trying to avoid the early pit lane crash that knocked him out of the race in 33rd place last year. .

“Last year was an incredible first-time on-site experience for Cusick Motorsports and our partners, and we are so happy to have them with us,” said Don Cusick. “We have some unfinished business from last year with Stefan Wilson and our partners, so we can’t wait to get the event started.”

Qualifying will take place from 21-22 May. The race is scheduled for May 29.

Wilson has been competitive with Indy before. He was leading the 2018 race with four laps to go when his car ran out of fuel. He finished finishing a career-best 15th.

The announcement puts an end to weeks of speculation about who would be the 33rd entry. Mark Miles, the CEO of IndyCar’s parent company Penske Entertainment, said in April that he expected at least one and possibly two more cars to enter the fray.

With Wilson on board and if the qualifying weekend goes as planned, 11 rows of three cars should get the green flag.

The car was supplied by AJ Foyt’s team and is sponsored by Lohla Sport and Sierra Pacific Windows and Gnarly Premium Cut Jerky.

Cusick and Wilson have teamed up this season on the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup circuit, making their sports car debut at the Rolex 24 in Daytona. Wilson also competed in Sebring, The Glen and Petit Le Mans.

DragonSpeed ​​owner Elton Julian has bigger ambitions than just one IndyCar race.

“This opportunity means so much to us,” said Julian. “By putting this program together with Don Cusick, Stefan Wilson and the Cusick Motorsports partner group, we are back to Indy even earlier than we hoped and one step closer to becoming a full-time IndyCar team.”