The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced that NASCAR champions Bill Elliott and Ray Evernham are once again entered as co-drivers of a special promoter’s option entry in the fifth annual Indy Legends Charity Pro-Am at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) on June 16. The two first entered the Fathers’ Day Weekend Saturday feature race in 2016 and finished on the podium last year. Elliott won the 2002 Brickyard 400 at IMS in dominating fashion in an Evernham-prepared Dodge.
“Both Ray and Bill have been tremendous friends to SVRA,” said Tony Parella, the CEO of SVRA. “Ray is well-known as an advocate for historic car restoration, collection, and, of course, vintage racing. I feel very fortunate to have them join us.”
Elliott, the 1988 NASCAR Cup champion, is one of the most accomplished drivers in American auto racing. He scored 44 race wins at NASCAR’s highest level including the 1985 and 1987 Daytona 500s. While he was previously well established as a top driver on the NASCAR scene, it was in 1985 when he won the “Winston Million” for victories in three of the series’ marquee races: the Daytona 500, the Southern 500 and the Winston 500 that he broke through to superstar status. His million-dollar bonus for the achievement earned him the nickname, “Million Dollar Bill.” Elliott has been inducted into both the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Bill’s son Chase is currently a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series driver for arguably the most powerful team in the sport, Hendrick Motorsports.
Evernham, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January, is best known for his work with NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and the “Rainbow Warriors” of Hendrick Motorsports. Together they formed one of the most dominant teams in NASCAR history, winning 47 Cup races and three championships in 1995, 1997 and 1998. Among those victories were two Brickyard 400s as well as two Daytona 500s. Evernham came into notice among the ranks of big-time auto racing when in 1983 he signed on as a chassis specialist preparing cars for the IROC series. Champion drivers gave him high marks for translating their input. Evernham formed his own team after parting ways with Gordon and Hendrick in 1999. Among his top drivers was Elliott who closed his full-time driving career with the team after winning several races. Since moving away from active team management Evernham has held several different positions in the television world, including serving as a NASCAR analyst for various networks and hosting his own television show for the Velocity channel, “AmeriCarna.” The show has featured the Brickyard Invitational twice.
The Indy Legends Pro-Am is the Saturday feature event of the Brickyard Invitational. The Indianapolis 500 veterans will be in 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of SVRA “Group 6” A and B Production. The professionals will be paired with amateur drivers, splitting their stints at the wheel. Additional Indy 500 drivers will be announced as they enter in the coming weeks.
In addition to the Pro-Am, there will be a festival of other activities at the Brickyard Invitational including the Sunday, June 17 feature race by the professional Trans Am series headed by 2017 champion and emerging superstar, 20-year-old Ernie Francis Jr. The weekend also presents the Hagerty Insurance “shine and show” car corral, vintage motorcycle racing, and 500+ vintage racers ranging over 100 years of automotive history racing in SVRA Groups 1 through 12. An oval exhibition featuring a racecar show of judged competition for the A.J. Watson and Sir Jack Brabham trophies led by track historian Donald Davidson will also take place. Also, the Pre-1920 Race Exhibition cars will be on track along with a paddock area full of in-period equipment displays. The National that finished seventh in the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911 will be driven at speed.