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Panther Racing has announced that 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice will be returning to the event this year. Driving alongside rookie J.R. Hildebrand, the 35-year-old will take to the wheel of the #44 car, with the team having finished as runners-up in the last three races at the legendary venue.
“I'm pumped to be at Panther and the intention is that we'll be able to run more than Indy, but this is the first step and I'm here to help J.R. and help the team,” said Rice, who last competed at Indy with Dreyer & Reinbold in 2008, but took the chequered flag with Rahal Letterman Racing four years earlier.
“The whole key for me coming back is that I wanted to be in competitive equipment and have a chance to win. I didn't want to come back to Indy just to pound out laps and, given how competitive the series has become, that's how it has to be.
“I've had offers in the past that didn't work out for different reasons and I wasn't coming back and driving unless I had the chance to run up front - that's always been my goal. Panther is a team that can win the race, so when I had the opportunity I couldn't say no.”
|18 Jan||IndyCar and Dallara reach deal over costs|
|17 Nov '11||Panther re-signs Hildebrand for next two seasons|
|18 Oct '11||Mann and Hildebrand dispatched from hospital|
|17 Oct '11||Power out of hospital, Mann and Hildebrand remain|
|1 Oct '11||Rice to return with Panther Racing|
|8 Sep '11||Rice to return for final two races|
|29 Apr '11||Former winner Rice returns to Indy 500|
|26 Sep '07||Rice confident for Zandvoort|
|6 May||Video: Sao Paulo IndyCar highlights|
|5 May||Latest IndyCar photos: Sunday at Sao Paulo|
|5 May||Hinchcliffe claims last-lap victory in Sao Paulo|
|4 May||Hunter-Reay sets lap-record to take pole|
|1 May||Mann gets third Coyne seat for Indy 500|
|More Buddy Rice photos|