The speculation over who would drive Schmidt Peterson Motorsports's third Dallara-Honda at Indianapolis was settled Saturday with the surprise announcement of Katherine Legge as the driver of the No. 81 entry, after Buddy Rice and Jay Howard had both been linked with the car.
"I'm psyched to get back in the car, especially at Indy because this is such a special place," said Legge. "I owe a huge thank you to Honda, Firestone, the IZOD IndyCar Series and especially Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for pulling this together in the last minute to get the car on track.
"I was talking with Sam (Schmidt) in 2011 about driving one of his cars, and I'm so excited to finally get in one of them and work with the entire team in addition to Simon (Pagenaud) and Tristan (Vautier)."
Although Legge raced in the old Champ Car series, last year's Indy 500 was her debut there, where she finished 22nd. She went on to make 10 starts on the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule with Dragon, five of which were on oval tracks, including a ninth-place finish at the season finale at Auto Club Speedway, but was released from the team shortly before the beginning of this season.
"Katherine's top-10 finish in Fontana last year showed me that she has the speed and endurance to finish a 500-mile race, which are the most grueling conditions our drivers encounter," said team owner Sam Schmidt. "Our team is working very hard to build her car and give her the equipment she needs to qualify and race competitively at Indianapolis."