Recovered Rice set for Indy 500 return

By wire services
Published March 24, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS - Former Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice will drive one of six cars entered by Rahal Letterman Racing on Thursday for the May 28 race.

Last year, he was unable to defend his 2004 title after a crash during the first week of practice. He sustained a concussion and neck injury when he spun and hit the wall.

Doctors found he partially tore a spinal ligament, and he was not allowed to drive in qualifications or the race. Former winner Kenny Brack took his place and finished 26th.

Rice will drive the team's No. 15 Panoz-Honda and have an identical backup car available. Rahal Letterman also entered two cars each for Danica Patrick, last year's rookie of the year, and rookie Paul Dana.

Patrick qualified fourth and finished fourth last year, becoming the first woman to lead the Indy 500. She also was fastest in practice at 229.880 mph. Dana also passed the Indy rookie test last year but sustained a spinal fracture in a crash during practice and was unable to compete.

NASCAR FINES TWO, SUSPENDS ONE: NASCAR fined two Nextel Cup crew chiefs for technical violations found last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and indefinitely suspended a crew member.

Rodney Childers, crew chief for Scott Riggs, was fined $10,000 for an improperly attached weight found during practice for the Golden Corral 500, while David Hyder, crew chief for Ken Schrader, was fined $1,000 for using an unapproved side window discovered during pre-qualifying inspection.

Thomas Harris, a member of the Haas/CNC race team that fields Cup cars for Jeff Green, was suspended indefinitely for duplicating a NASCAR annual credential.