Car No. 98 has been in Victory Circle twice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, both times associated with the Agajanian family. Dan Wheldon, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 champion, hopes to make it three.
The No. 98 entry of Bryan Herta Autosport for the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 was unveiled at the IZOD IndyCar Series Fan Village that's part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Fashion brand William Rast and record labels Curb and Big Machine will be the primary sponsors.
"A couple of weeks ago we confirmed that Dan Wheldon -- a good friend, former teammate and Indy 500 winner -- would be driving our car at Indianapolis this year," said Herta, who formed BHA with race engineer Steve Newey in 2009. "We made that announcement in Dan's hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla., and here at my home race and William Rast's back yard we wanted to unveil our partnership lineup.
"We are obviously thrilled to have William Rast back with us at Indianapolis for the second year in a row, and we are excited about our new involvement with Curb/Big Machine -- record labels for some of country music's biggest stars. We are equally excited about our new collaboration with Mike Curb, Cary Agajanian and Scott Borchetta, and to be associated with such highly respected names in and outside of racing."
The No. 98 car won the Indy 500 in 1952, when 22-year-old Troy Ruttman became the youngest winner of the race in the Agajanian Kuzma/Offy, and 1963 when Parnelli Jones triumphed in the Agajanian Willard Battery Watson/Offy (aka the "Ol' Calhoun" Watson roadster).
"Curb Agajanian is excited to join with Bryan Herta Autosport and Big Machine to be a part of Dan Wheldon's running for his second victory at the Indianapolis 500," said Curb, a former Lt. Governor of California. "It would be great to see the Agajanian name back in Victory Circle at the Brickyard and Dan is certainly capable of making that happen."
A replica of the No. 98 William Rast-Curb/Big Machine car will be on display from May 27-Oct. 23 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley, Calif., as part of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration. Reagan was the track announcer at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines in the 1930s.