- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - An Andretti and a Foyt are teaming up to put Ryan Hunter-Reay back in the Indianapolis 500.

After a disastrous weekend for Michael Andretti’s team, the owner and his father’s old rival have reached a deal to get Hunter-Reay, the only American to win an IndyCar race since April 2008, into A.J. Foyt’s No. 41 car for Sunday’s race.

Details of the arrangement weren’t immediately available, but it may have come down to cold, hard cash.

“We’ve been competitors for many years, but it’s still the kind of relationship when someone is really down and out, you don’t turn your back on them _ at least I can’t,” Foyt said in a statement. “This is going back to the way racing used to be, where if people were in a lot of trouble, you tried to help each other.”


The paperwork likely will be filed on Tuesday. Series officials still must approve the change, Brian Barnhart, IndyCar president of competition and racing operations, told The Associated Press.

Changing drivers after qualifying is over is not unprecedented. Brazil’s Bruno Junqueira, who got the No. 41 car into the field, was involved in a switch previously. Two years ago, he was yanked out of the No. 36 car by Conquest Racing, which replaced him with Canadian Alex Tagliani _ this year’s pole-sitter.

But seeing drivers switch teams is out of the ordinary and something that usually only happens if there’s money involved.

“I can’t remember it ever happening with different teams,” Barnhart said.

Hunter-Reay will have to start from the back of the field.

Seeing these two big IndyCar names cooperate is strange, too, given the rivalry between the two patriarchs of the families _ 1969 Indy winner Mario Andretti, Michael’s father, and Foyt, the four-time Indy winner and this year’s pace-car driver.

“Obviously, this is a unique circumstance for our team, but the thought of A.J. Foyt joining forces with the Andrettis for the Indy 500 could result in something special,” Michael Andretti said. “It’s a credit to A.J. for being willing to help us.”

These are unusual times for Andretti Autosport, one of three teams with a race victory this season.

Andretti came to Indy with five cars, all of which qualified and got bumped Saturday. Only John Andretti, Michael’s cousin, was able to get his car back into the starting grid during the first day of qualifications.

Things got even worse Sunday.

Danica Patrick had to pull out of the qualifying line when her No. 7 car failed technical inspection, then had to wait through two rain delays that nearly prevented her from qualifying for the race.

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