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NASCAR Legends Elliott, Evernham Enjoying Left, Right Turns at Brickyard Pro-Am

They hope to last longer this year, and that Bill Elliott gets the chance to drive.

About three laps into the 2016 Indy Legends Pro-Am, the driveshaft broke in the car that NASCAR legends Elliott and Ray Evernham were supposed to share during their debut in the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Elliott never got a chance to climb behind the wheel in the race.

“I never even broke a sweat,” Elliott said.

NASCAR legends Elliott and Evernham will get a second chance today in the fourth annual Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational. The 50-minute race begins at 1 p.m. and features 34 cars, including 33 shared between Indianapolis 500 veterans and amateur drivers.

Elliott and Evernham are in the special “Garage 34” entry, driving a No. 9 red-and-black 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 that has been rebuilt by longtime colleagues/mechanics Carlus Gann and Jim Barfield. Gann owns Vintage Race Car Restorations in Lafayette, Georgia, and Barfield worked with Elliott for 16 years.

“This place is special to me, and I know it is for Bill, too,” Evernham said after Friday’s practice. “Every time you come here, no matter what it’s for, it’s always fun. (SVRA President) Tony (Parella) has become a great friend. He puts on a great show. We come here and see a lot of the guys we both grew up racing with. It’s a really, really neat holiday.”

Evernham and Elliott stand out as the only NASCAR guys in the field. Elliott, 61, won the 2002 Brickyard 400 in an Evernham-prepared Dodge, was a 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup champion with 44 career series wins and has been inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Evernham, 59, is known for his success with Jeff Gordon, who won three of his four series titles and two of five Brickyard 400s with Evernham as the crew chief. Recently voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Evernham hosts the Velocity TV channel show “AmeriCarna,” which focuses on the discovery and restoration of unique automobiles, especially race cars.

An avid collector of race cars, Evernham finally decided to drive one in the SVRA last year.

“Ray Evernham has grown to become a tremendous friend and enthusiast for our brand of racing,” Parella said. “He has raced his vintage cars in some of our other classes in the past. His recent ‘Americarna' cable TV show on Velocity about the 2016 Brickyard Invitational is evidence of that.”

Elliott had never driven on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course at IMS until last year in practice. His best Friday practice time of 1 minute, 41.465 seconds ranked eighth.

“I thought it was a lot of fun,” Elliott said. “It’s different. I enjoy it. I had a good time with it.”

Visit IMS.com to order tickets or learn more about the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational. Ticket prices are $30 Saturday and $20 Sunday. Kids 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

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