British driver Jay Howard has announced that he will once again take part in the Indianapolis 500 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The thirty-seven-year-old will attempt to qualify for his third race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which would be his third for SPM.
Howard will pilot the #7 SPM Honda for the famous race in May and will carry the sponsor One Cure; an organisation that studies and researches cancer and possible treatments. Howard commented after today’s announcement that he was excited to be returning to IMS in his second straight year with SPM and One Cure.
“To say I am excited is an understatement,” said Howard, “There are no words to describe how happy I am to be representing CSU’s One Cure initiative – it’s an honour to be flying the green and black colours!
One Cure’s goal is to raise awareness and funding for the Flint Animal Cancer Center to continue the fight against cancer; on race day, we will be fighting for something more than just the Borg Warner trophy. I also want to thank everyone at SPM and Honda for this opportunity. It will be great to be back with the team.”
Howard, the 2006 Indy Lights champion, has entered the Indianapolis 500 on five occasions during his career. In 2008 he was set to take part after passing the rookie test, only for Roth Racing to replace him with John Andretti. In 2010, Howard failed to qualify for Sarah Fisher Racing.
His first successful qualification for the race came in 2011 with RLL Racing and Sam Schmidt Motorsports. He started twentieth but sadly crashed after sixty laps and was classified thirtieth. He attempted to enter the next year with Mike Shank, but the team was unable to secure an engine lease.
Howard would step away from the Verizon IndyCar Series after his unsuccessful entry in 2012, but he finally came back for last year’s Indy 500 in an SPM entry in collaboration with Tony Stewart. Jay would once again qualify thirtieth, but his race came to an end in spectacular fashion when he hit the wall at turn one and then came down into the path of Scott Dixon, triggering the monumental crash that Scott somehow walked away from unscathed.
Despite an unlucky history at IMS, team co-owner Schmidt is looking forward to having Jay back on his team with One Cure as the primary sponsor.
“The One Cure brand has become increasingly visible in motorsports the past few years, but we still have a long way to go explaining the cutting-edge cancer research happening at CSU and how race fans can contribute in a meaningful way,” said Schmidt,
“With the full force of Jay and SPM, we’re developing an engaging activation plan heading into the month of May that will steer fans in the right direction and ultimately accelerate the pace and number of clinical trials. Having seen the Flint Animal Cancer Center with my own two eyes, I’m confident we can deliver critical resources to One Cure that will have a lasting impact.”
Howard is the thirty-third confirmed entry for this year’s 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500. With more entries expected to be announced within the coming weeks and months, drivers being bumped from the field after qualifying looks certain.
Jay’s first run in the #7 One Cure Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports Honda had been set to take place next week during several group tests. However, the expected arrival of inclement weather has forced the test to be pushed back until April 30.
The first official day of practice for the 2018 Indianapolis 500 will take place on May 15. Qualifying will take place on the following weekend on May 19 and 20, with the race itself being run on May 27.