IRL headlines

1. Simmons to drive for Foyt at Indianapolis 2. Pecorari, Potekhen to race Freedom 100 in two-car effort: 1. Simmons to drive for Foyt at Indianapolis: A.J. Foyt Racing announced that it has hired Jeff Simmons to drive the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda-powered Dallara as a teammate to Darren Manning for the 92nd Indianapolis 500. Simmons will see his first track time May 14 and attempt to qualify for the 33-car field May 17.

            “A.J. is taking it on himself to put me in this car so I just want to do the best job I can for his team,” said Simmons, who will be seeking to qualify for his fourth 500-Mile Race.

            Simmons, 31, drove for Foyt in the Indy Pro Series in May 2004, finishing second in the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A few hours later, he was behind the wheel of the No. 21 Mo Nunn Racing car (Tora Takagi’s backup) for his initial practice laps. He qualified 29th the next day – Bump Day – and finished 16th in his first 500-Mile Race.

            “It’s great to be back with A.J.’s team,” said Simmons, who started 13th and finished 11th last year in the ‘500’ in the No. 17 Team Ethanol car for Rahal Letterman Racing. “I’m looking forward to working with A.J. and Darren and the whole Foyt team. Darren can help me get up to speed quickly and hopefully I can contribute something to the team as we get ready for qualifying next weekend.”

            Simmons has been competing this season with Team Moore Racing in the Firestone Indy Lights, producing two top-10 finishes in three starts. He is scheduled to compete in the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 23 in the No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling car.

            “I’m glad to be working with Jeff again,” Foyt said. “I like the way he drives and the way he hustles the car pretty hard which is what I look for in young drivers.”

            In 25 IndyCar Series starts, Simmons has recorded 11 top-10 finishes. His best finish is sixth, which came last year at Texas Motor Speedway where he led twice. He was replaced in the No. 17 car by Ryan Hunter-Reay in July.

            Both A.J. Foyt Racing cars will attempt to qualify May 17 as positions 12-33 are available. Manning’s lone attempt on Pole Day was waived off.

2. Pecorari, Potekhen to race Freedom 100 in two-car effort: SWE Racing owner Steve Eppard announced May 10 that he will enter two cars in the Firestone Freedom 100 for Firestone Indy Lights veterans Robbie Pecorari and Mike Potekhen.

            "I'm very excited to add Robbie and Mike to our team," Eppard said. "We got to know Robbie pretty well last season when he drove for Team KMA and are happy to add a second driver the caliber of Mike to the team."

            Pecorari, who finished second to J.R. Hildebrand in the Kansas Lottery 100 on April 27, is 14th in Firestone Indy Lights points despite missing the season-opening race. Pecorari will drive the No. 43 car for the remainder of the 2008 season.

            Pecorari drove in the St. Petersburg doubleheader for Michael Crawford Motorsports, recording a finish of 10th in Race 1 before recording his runner-up finish for Guthrie Racing.

            "I'm used to getting into things and going," said the 21-year-old native of Aston, Pa. "It's the same engineer from last year, Mark Weida, and there's still a connection for me. It won't be as hard as the other teams because I already know the guys. We were different teams last year, but it was almost like it was the same team."

            Potekhen will be making his 2008 Firestone Indy Lights debut at Indianapolis in the No. 92 Miller Eads car.

            Last season, Potekhen finished fifth in Firestone Indy Lights point standings driving for Apex Racing. He recorded three top-five finishes - with a season-best second-place result at The Milwaukee Mile - and grabbed seven top 10s in the final eight races.

            Potekhen is returning to the team that gave him his start in Firestone Indy Lights competition. He scored four top 10s in five starts for SWE.

***             The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at noon (EDT) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues May 23 at Indianapolis. The race will be telecast `on May 23 by ESPN2.