04/21/14 In the wake of announcing major changes to their operations, and as part of the new era of restaurant operations for Jonathan Byrd’s, the Byrd family is excited to announce the return of the Jonathan Byrd’s Racing team. Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, a long-time fixture at the Indianapolis 500, will be returning to competition beginning with the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May of 2016.
“From the beginning , racing has been part of the DNA of our business" said Virginia “Ginny" Byrd, wife of the late Jonathan Byrd and owner of Jonathan Byrd’s, “and the Indy 500 has been an especially important part of shaping our identity in central Indiana.
"The annual participation of the various Jonathan Byrd’s Racing teams in the Indy 500 from 1985 through 2001, and again in 2005, which allowed us to have a place in the event that has provided an identity to the City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana, and to which hundreds of thousands of our fellow Hoosiers have such a strong emotional attachment, enabled us to connect with the greater central Indiana community in a profound way. Since we have been away from Indy, I believe that connection has been missing."
Ginny Byrd continued: “Being part of the Indy 500 in the way that we were, as both an entrant and as a team owner that also sponsored our own cars, provided our family business with amazing benefits, both tangible and intangible. Quite frankly, we have been away for far too long. With today’s announcement, to go along with the recently announced changes to our business and with what we have planned for the future of the Jonathan Byrd’s brand, we are rectifying that situation and we are going back to Indy. Even though we won’t be back until the 100th running of 500 in 2016, we thought it would be good to make our efforts on this front public and to share this news with our customers and all those that have supported us over the years. Not only does it give us something to look forward to, we have what I think is a brilliant plan in place as we will be taking steps to tie our brand to our participation in the Indy 500 in a very meaningful way. Now that we’re going back, we intend to be there for a long time to come."
To his mother’s comments Jonathan Byrd II added: “Whether we are talking about the members of our family or our business itself, the Indy 500 is in our blood. It’s exciting for us to be going back, and that excitement stems largely from being able to once again be part of something about which so many are so very passionate. Because Jonathan Byrd’s Racing exists to support the Jonathan Byrd’s restaurant brand and banquet and catering operations, it certainly makes us unique among similar businesses here in our community. We think that uniqueness is important to acknowledge and emphasize, and makes us stand out among all of the players in the foodservice community. By going back to Indy, we are building on our past while we adapt for the present and embrace the future, while also letting all of our customers know that, even in the midst of some big changes for Jonathan Byrd’s, that we are still here for them, that we’re still open for business and we’re not going anywhere, and that we have even better and exciting things in store for us and for them."
Spearheading the return of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing to the Indy 500 is David Byrd. He added “Even though we were never able to make a trip to victory lane at the Speedway, the Jonathan Byrd’s Racing teams have a strong history at Indy. There have been a lot of highs and a lot of lows, and with seventeen successful entries, six top- ten finishes with Vogler, Johncock, Fox, Brayton, John Andretti, and Buddy Lazier, the all-time track record with Luyendyk, and the very first ‘double’ with John Andretti in 1994, Indy has been very good to us, but there is obviously some unfinished business. Going back in 2016, to kick off the next era of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing’s participation in the 500 with the 100th running, and maybe even defending our track record on the 20th anniversary of Arie Luyendyk setting the all-time qualifying mark in a Jonathan Byrd’s Racing car, seems entirely appropriate. Our being involved at Indy again is going to give us a fantastic platform from which to do a lot of interesting and valuable things for our business, for our customers, and for our community, and those efforts can start with this announcement. So even though it may seem like a long way away, the 2016 Indy 500 will be here before we know it. We want to do this right, and we can’t wait to get there."