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DATE News (chronologically)
04/16/11
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Wheldon to drive famed #98 William Rast car at Indy  
Herta team unveils William Rast livery for Wheldon
Aaron Rommel/AR1.com
Bryan Herta Autosport is proud to announce that its entry in this year’s centennial Indianapolis 500 piloted by 2005 race winner and IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon will fly the colors of three premier companies – globally-recognized fashion brand William Rast and record labels Curb and Big Machine. The BHA/Curb-Agajanian entry will feature the famed #98 which carried the Agajanian name to victory at the Brickyard both in 1952, when Troy Ruttman became the youngest-ever Indy 500 winner at age 22, and 1963, when Parnelli Jones triumphed in the legendary “Ol’ Calhoun” Watson Roadster.

“A couple of weeks ago we confirmed that Dan Wheldon – a good friend, former teammate and Indy 500 winner – would be driving our car at Indianapolis this year,” said Herta, who formed BHA with accomplished race engineer Steve Newey in 2009. “We made that announcement in Dan’s hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla., and here at my home race and William Rast’s backyard, we wanted to unveil our partnership lineup.

“We are obviously thrilled to have William Rast back with us at Indianapolis for the second year in a row, and we are excited about our new involvement with Curb/Big Machine – record labels for some of country music’s biggest stars including Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Leann Rimes, Rascal Flatts, Rodney Atkins, Band Perry, Lee Brice, Martina McBride and Wynonna Judd. We are equally excited about our new collaboration with Mike Curb, Cary Agajanian and Scott Borchetta, and to be associated with such highly respected names in and outside of racing.”

William Rast will be represented at the Indianapolis 500 for the fourth consecutive year, bringing their unique fashion perspective as a premium lifestyle brand entrenched in the iconography of American denim heritage to one of the country’s most tradition-rich racing series. 

"We are excited to yet again be involved in the Indy 500 with Bryan Herta Autosport, this year coinciding with the consumer launch of our William Rast Racing eyewear line in retailers nationwide,” said Colin Dyne,  Chief Executive Officer of William Rast. “We pride ourselves with bringing our New America esthetic and philosophy to this iconic race and event. Having Dan Wheldon as the driver of the William Rast car is a great fit for the brand. He is a true champion, and we are looking forward to a great race.”   

Curb, a former Lt. Governor of the State of California, is a long-time race fan and entrant, as well as a hugely successful businessman and one of the most prominent names in the entertainment industry.

“Curb Agajanian is excited to join with Bryan Herta Autosport and Big Machine to be a part of Dan Wheldon’s running for his second victory at the Indianapolis 500,” said Curb. “It would be great to see the Agajanian name back in Victory Circle at the Brickyard and Dan is certainly capable of making that happen.”

Wheldon, 32, of Emberton, England, will be making his ninth career start at Indianapolis. His remarkable record at the Speedway includes five top-four finishes in his last seven races and back-to-back runner-up results the past two years in addition to his 2005 victory.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I am into fashion so I knew this was going to be a great relationship from the start with William Rast on board,” joked Wheldon. “Seriously, I couldn’t be more impressed with the program that Bryan and Steve have put together. To be associated with not only William Rast but Curb/Big Machine records and Mike, Cary and Scott is really extraordinary and I plan to make them proud. As I said a few weeks ago during our press conference in St. Petersburg, I can’t wait to get to Indy.”

A replica of the #98 William Rast-Curb/Big Machine entry was unveiled following today’s announcement in the new IZOD IndyCar Series Fan Village to the delight of local fans. The BHA/Curb-Agajanian car will be inducted into the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, where it will be temporarily on display in the Air Force One Pavilion, alongside the #98 Centennial NASCAR. President Reagan understood the sport was a part of the American culture; in fact he was a race announcer at the Des Moines, Iowa, Fairgrounds in the 1930’s.

The temporary race car exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA, including cars from the 1930’s to the present from INDYCAR, NASCAR Truck Series and NASCAR Cup Series, will be open May 27-October 23. The exhibit is a key component of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, a historic year-long celebration honoring the 100th birthday of America’s 40th President.

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