On Monday, May 26, via press release from the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), the group announced that Indy 500 veteran Scott Goodyear will join the field of 24 other former Indy 500 racers and winners in the "Legends" Pro-Am at International Motor Speedway (IMS) on June 8. The Pro-Am is part of SVRA's Brickyard Invitational historic and vintage motor racing event, the first one ever at IMS.
SVRA expects over 700 cars spanning 100 years of motor sport history to be not only on the grounds of IMS, but also racing in action. Both the traditional oval and the road circuit will be utilized throughout the three-day weekend of racing.
According to the press release, Scott Goodyear is perhaps best known for narrowly missing victory in the Indianapolis 500 no fewer than three times – in 1992, ’95 and ’97. He finished second in 1992 to Al Unser Jr. in what remains the closest finish in the 98 editions of the famous race (the second closest finish being the 2014 contest, just concluded on Sunday, May 25). After starting last, Goodyear charged through the field to narrowly miss the win by 43 thousandths of a second.
In 1997, Goodyear scored an additional second-place in another of Indy’s closest finishes when, in the closing stages of the race, the green flag was waved even though the yellow light continued to burn during a re-start. Goodyear finished behind teammate Arie Luyendyk.
Controversy stalked Goodyear again when he was penalized for passing a slow pace car in a disputed officiating call during the closing stages of the 1995 Indianapolis 500. This time he finished ahead of race winner Jacques Villeneuve on the track but officials had stopped counting his laps.
In all, Goodyear competed in 11 Indianapolis 500 races.
In addition to Goodyear, 2006 Indianapolis 500 starter P.J. Chesson will race in the Pro-Am. Cutting his teeth at age 12 in go-karts he quickly proved his potential and graduated to sprint cars in 1998. A talented sprint car driver with a World of Outlaws background, Chesson scored three feature wins and 28 top ten finishes in the span of two seasons with that series.
He also won the South Pacific Sprint Car Championship in 2004 in Australia. A force in the Indy Lights series, Chesson won three races in 2004 and finished fourth in points despite not completing the entire season. One of the more colorful characters in racing, Chesson is remembered for acquiring a tattoo of the event logo of the Indianapolis 500 after qualifying for the race in 2006.
Goodyear joins his old rival and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Al Unser Jr., in the Pro-Am contest that now has 26 entries total. Other entries include 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier as well as former Indianapolis 500 Rookies-of-the-Year Lyn St. James and Robby McGehee and other top names Willy T. Ribbs, Mark Dismore, Alex Lloyd, Johnny Parsons Jr., Davey Hamilton, Robby Unser, Pete Halsmer, Rocky Moran, Eliseo Salazar, Dick Simon, Scott Harrington, Jack Miller, Rick Treadway, Spike Gehlhausen, Billy Roe, Tom Bagley, John Martin and John Hollansworth.
Lazier’s father and brother - Bob and Jaques - will also race, marking the first time the family has competed together at IMS.
Parnelli Jones, who won the 1963 Indianapolis 500, will pace the field as part of his duties as Brickyard Invitational Grand Marshal. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser will lead a Brickyard Invitational high-speed oval experience.
The cars for the Pro-Am will be 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of SVRA's "Group 6," with an engine displacement limit of 355 cubic inches. The Indianapolis 500 veterans will be paired with amateur drivers, each taking a 20-minute stint. Five minutes will be allotted for change of drivers.
SVRA's inaugural Brickyard Invitational takes place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway June 6-8. Tickets and camping are available.