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Historics: Indy 500 veterans Pro-Am grid full for SVRA Brickyard Invitational

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The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) announced via press release on Thursday, May 22, that it has filled its promised field of 24 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race veterans for its upcoming "Indy Legends" Pro-Am race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Tom Bagley, John Martin and Bob Lazier join 21 previously announced entries in the feature event of the June 6 – 8 "Brickyard Invitational" historic race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

Bob Lazier joins his sons Buddy and Jaques as the three are united in competition at the Speedway for the first time. Buddy won the 1996 Indianapolis 500.

John Martin, who is featured on this month’s cover of "Vintage Motorsport" magazine, launched his career in sports car racing. As a mechanic, he converted his 1963 Corvette Sting Ray into an A-Production race car and went Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racing. He was national champion in 1964 and went professional in 1966. He drove an AMC Javelin in the classic days of Trans-Am and tackled the Indianapolis 500 in 1972.

Tom Bagley also accomplished much despite having limited resources. A three-time Indianapolis 500 starter, Bagley captured the Indy car Rookie-of-the-Year trophy in 1978. He competed in 42 Indy car races in his career, with top four finishes on three occasions and placing in the top ten 23 times. During his rookie season he drove for car builder A.J. Watson who will also be recognized during the Brickyard Invitational with a special trophy in his honor for the "best Indy roadster" appearing on the grounds.

Lazier, patriarch of the famous Lazier racing family, will return to competition at the Speedway as a driver after 33 years. He earned three top-five finishes on his way to winning the Indy car Rookie-of-the-Year Award in 1981. A successful businessman, Lazier is, like Martin and Bagley, a self-made racer who started racing cars in 1969 and began in SCCA road racing. He progressed steadily through the open wheel ranks in VW Gold Cup, Formula Vee, Super Vee, Formula 5000 and on to Indy cars. He is currently at the helm of Lazier Partners Racing, the team behind son Buddy’s entry in this year’s Indianapolis 500. Buddy Lazier is the only competitor for the Pro-Am who also plans to compete in this year's Indy 500.

SVRA has created this race for veterans of the Indianapolis 500 with a 40-minute race of American muscle cars on the Speedway’s 2.43-mile Grand Prix road course. Two-time winner of the Indy 500, Al Unser, Jr., will lead off a field of drivers including former Indianapolis Rookies-of-the-Year Lyn St. James and Robby McGehee as well as 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 and John Hollansworth.

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 Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs. The Indianapolis 500 veterans will be paired with amateur drivers, each taking a 20-minute stint. Five minutes will be allotted for driver change.

"This outstanding field of talented drivers has come together in a very short time," said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. "I believe we have delivered on our promise to assemble a great field of Indy 500 veterans and more. I am honored to say the interest has been overwhelming by fans and drivers alike. We still have a couple of conversations going on with some legendary drivers but beyond that the field is full and now we move on to the logistics of putting on a great show."

The Brickyard Invitational will run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from June 6-8 and is open to the public. Tickets as well as camping are available through IMS.

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