1993 Indianapolis 500 - Background - Driver and Team Changes

Driver and Team Changes

During the offseason, four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears announced his retirement from racing. Penske driver Paul Tracy elevated into the ride, taking over full-time, where he had previously driven part-time in 1991-1992.

The biggest story, however, was at Newman/Haas Racing. Michael Andretti left the CART series and signed with McLaren to drive in Formula One. Taking Andretti's place would be reigning Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell. Mansell came the U.S. open wheel series with considerable fanfare and huge media attention. Mansell joined fellow former World Driving champion Mario Andretti as teammates. Mansell won the CART season-opener at Surfers Paradise, but was involved in a crash during practice for the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix. He suffered an injured back, and sat out the event. Since his missed the Phoenix race, Indy would become Mansell's first-ever oval race start. Mansell underwent back surgery on April 28, forcing him to miss rookie orientation, and the opening weekend of practice at Indy.

Truesports racing was absorbed by Rahal-Hogan Racing, and driver Bobby Rahal took over the existing Truesports chassis program to start out the season. Rahal entered the race as the defending CART series champion, and was coming off a second place finish at Long Beach.

Galles Racing maintained its driver lineup for 1993. Defending Indy 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. returned, as did Danny Sullivan. The team, however, scrapped the Galmer chassis program. Kevin Cogan joined the team at Indy only, making it a three-car Indy 500 effort.

At Chip Ganassi Racing, Eddie Cheever departed, and was replaced by Arie Luyendyk. After his devastating crash in 1992, Nelson Piquet returned to Indy after a lengthy rehabilitation. Former winners Tom Sneva and Gordon Johncock also retired during the offseason, though Sneva did arrive at the track hoping for an outside chance to find a ride.

After two years of retirement rumors, four-time winner A. J. Foyt entered once again as a driver, looking to qualify for his 36th consecutive Indy 500. Rookie driver Robby Gordon was entered in a second Foyt team car. The other active four time winner, Al Unser, Sr., secured a ride with King Racing. The previous two years, Unser had entered the month without a solid ride.

Read more about this topic:  1993 Indianapolis 500, Background

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