Rahal Letterman Lanigan announced it has signed Jay Howard to drive in the IZOD Indy Car Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 16, in a second car alongside fellow Briton Pippa Mann.
It will be Howard's third race for the Ohio-based team this season, this time as the driver of the No. 15 Service Central Dallara-Honda. He previously raced for the team in the Indianapolis 500 as well as the Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway.
At Texas, the 30-year-old Howard made up 13 spots in the first of the Texas 275-milers back in June and was having a strong run in his first Indy 500 in May before a problem with a wheel ended his charge. The former Firestone Indy Lights and U.S. Formula Ford Zetec champion will be making his 13th career Indy Car series start, and his first on the high-speed 1.5-mile LVMS oval.
“We were impressed again by Jay's pace and the ability that he showed in negotiating traffic at Texas, and we are anticipating a strong effort out of the Service Central car at Las Vegas,” said RLL co-owner Bobby Rahal. “Vegas will be a free-for-all on a very fast track, but Jay has never shied away from close racing and we expect to be competitive with both RLL cars in the season finale.”
"It's great to be back with Service Central and Rahal Letterman Lanigan,” Howard said. “We had a strong run at Indianapolis and a bit of bad luck at Texas, so we are looking to finishing off the season on a high note in Vegas heading into 2012 with the new car and the expanded schedule. I can't thank Orland [Wolford] and Bill [Ihnken] enough for sticking by my side these last two seasons and giving me another opportunity to drive the Service Central car. Vegas is the perfect venue for the finale; Randy [Bernard] has done a great job for the series thus far. I have not driven at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but I'm looking forward to hitting the track for the first time."
Howard is expected to be part of the largest field of the season outside of Indy. Race promoters are anticipating more than 30 starters for the event, which will be the swansong for the current chassis and engine package.