Hemelgarn, NBA Star Anthony Team Up For Indy 500 Entry For Chesson

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

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Indianapolis 500-winning team owner Ron Hemelgarn and NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony have teamed up to file an entry for rookie driver P.J. Chesson for the 90th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Denver Nuggets forward Anthony and Hemelgarn announced their partnership for the entire 2006 IndyCar® Series season, including the 90th Indianapolis 500 on May 28, during a press conference March 15 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"It's exciting to be a part of the IndyCar Series and partnering with two winners - Hemelgarn Racing and P.J. Chesson," Anthony said. "I hope my involvement with the IndyCar Series brings a wider fan base and more interest to an already exciting and fun sport."

Anthony, in his third season with the Nuggets, has established himself as one of the premier forwards in the NBA. Anthony was an NBA All-Rookie First team selection in 2003-04, the most valuable player of the 2005 "got milk?" NBA Rookie Challenge, and he led Syracuse to the 2003 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship as a freshman.

"Every kid has a dream of owning and driving a race car," Anthony said. "I have always had a love for cars, especially fast cars, and this is a dream come true. I'll stick to driving the basketball lane and let P.J. handle the fast lane."

Sprint car standout Chesson will drive the No. 91 Carmelo Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, with an identical backup entered. Brian Hornick is the chief mechanic, and Lee Kunzman is the general manager.

The No. 91 Hemelgarn entry is one of the most fabled cars in Indy Racing League history, as Buddy Lazier won the 1996 Indianapolis 500 and 2000 IndyCar Series championship in that machine.

"Success is not measured by how high you climb but by how many people you can bring with you," Hemelgarn said. "Bringing along P.J. Chesson, a proven sprint car and World of Outlaws standout, and NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony will create excitement, a new fan base and attention to the IndyCar Series. The IndyCar Series ratings will climb, sponsorship dollars will climb and so will the Hemelgarn Racing team. I'm excited to have such an opportunity with this unique partnership."

Chesson, 27, a native of Far Hills, N.J., comes to the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series after a successful run in the Indy Pro Series. He won three races in 2004, finishing fourth in the point standings despite starting only nine of 12 races. He made three Indy Pro Series starts in 2005.

Popular with fans due to his aggressive driving style and attitude, Chesson started racing karts at age 9 and then moved to motocross, where he won AMA district and national championships. He then raced sprint cars on dirt for five years, becoming Dirt Cup Champion and a four-time World of Outlaws winner before starting in the Indy Pro Series in 2004.

"I've been given an opportunity to make a difference both on and off the track," Chesson said. "I look forward to being a part of the IndyCar family, beating the best race car drivers in the world and transcending the most exhilarating sport on Earth.

"I can promise you all that when I show up race weekend, I'll have my spurs in my bag, and they're usually on when I climb in the race car, which means I'm ready to go," Chesson said. "I'm going to do the best I can, and the team's going to do the best they can. We're going to go out there and cause some trouble."


Indy 500 tickets on sale: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 Indianapolis 500, the 90th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.

Ticket prices start at just $20.