IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has confirmed that an Indy 500 start by Scott Speed (LEFT) for Dragon Racing would not preclude the former F1 and NASCAR racer from being eligible for the $5m bonus on offer to a non-series regular at the season finale in Las Vegas.
Speed, who will attempt to make his IndyCar debut at the Indianapolis 500, said at the announcement of his signing with Jay Penske's team that he had been assured that he would be one of the five drivers IndyCar will select this summer to chase the bonus. Although IndyCar officials haven't yet announced official eligibility requirements, Bernard told the Indianapolis Star that drivers will be qualified for consideration for the $5 million if they don't participate in more than one IndyCar race prior to the Las Vegas event.
“That's what the rule stipulates,” Bernard told the Star, adding, the former Toro Rosso F1 and Red Bull NASCAR driver “is a logical choice” for one of the five slots.
Speed, along with Dragon teammate Ho-Pin Tung, tested an IndyCar for the first time on Monday at Chicagoland Speedway. Speed said he turned around 50 laps in the Fuzzy's Vodka-backed Dallara-Honda he will drive for Dragon at Indy.
"Enough to certainly get a good feel for it," Speed told Indianapolis radio station WFNI-AM. "We went down pit lane a couple of times to get a feel for the pit-road speed limiter, which is something I haven't worked with for a while. Just a lot of the nuances of running with a car that's got more than one button on the steering wheel.
"It was weird to be back in a car with downforce again," he added. "My body wasn't used to pulling any g's, really, so it was quite an experience."