The FAZZT IndyCar team announced Tuesday that it has signed open-wheel racing veteran Bruno Junqueira to drive its No. 33 entry for the month of May at Indianapolis. Junqueira will join the teams' full-season driver, Alex Tagliani.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity to compete for the FAZZT Race Team at the Indianapolis 500,” said Junqueira. “The team will give me the resources and support to compete in a car that has the capabilities of winning at the Indianapolis 500. To win at Indianapolis has always been a dream of mine. I've had some very competitive opportunities at Indianapolis and each time, either through a mechanical failure or accident, that dream has been just beyond my grasp so I am hoping that in 2010 I can bring my dream to reality.”
Junqueira, a native of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, has competed in five previous Indianapolis 500 events capturing the pole in his second effort at the Indy 500 in 2002. Junqueira has led 52 laps at the famed 2.5-mile oval and has finished fifth on two occasions, 2001 and 2004.
Last year, Junqueira qualified for Conquest Racing entry on Bump Day in the 30th position, but was then replaced by Tagliani, who had failed to make the field due to a technical fault. Tagliani cited the incident as an extra incentive for signing Junqueira for his new team.
“Because we have enough sponsorship to run a second car at Indianapolis, we felt it important to give that chance to Bruno,” explained Tagliani. “ Last year, with Bruno as the second driver in the team I was at, he let his spot in the field go after I had a mishap in qualifying. And it turned out, I had a pretty good race at the Indy 500, so it is nice way to say thank you to Bruno for what he did for me last year.”
FAZZT owner Jim Freudenberg elaborated on the signing of Junqueira, saying, “When we formed the team we had a few goals in mind. One of those goals was that if we had the opportunity to field a second entry at Indianapolis that we wanted to put Bruno in that car. Bruno is an extremely talented driver and is the perfect complement to our current program. Based on the situation from 2009, it is nice to be able to return the favor to Bruno after he graciously stepped aside for Alex last year. We are also excited that Bruno will be piloting the No. 33 car at Indianapolis, as that is the car number he drove to the pole position in 2002 [with Target Chip Ganassi Racing] and we are hoping that number will serve him well again in 2010.”