Brack to Replace Rice at Indy 500

Swede Kenny Brack will replace the injured Buddy Rice at this month's Indianapolis 500 after last year's winner was ruled out from the May 29th event because of a back injury

Brack to Replace Rice at Indy 500

Rice was hurt in a practice crash last week but was initially expected to be cleared in time for the race. However, further examinations on Monday revealed the 2004 event winner suffers from a partially torn spinal ligament in his mid to lower neck.

In an ironic twist of fate, Brack will now take Rice's seat at Rahal/Letterman Racing. Rice had replaced 1999 Indy 500 winner Brack when the Swede got injured following a massive crash in the final race of the 2003 season, in Texas.

Brack has not raced in the IRL since then.

"For me, I feel ready," Brack told the reporters at a press conference in Indianapolis. "But, you know, to come into this situation like this is obviously a little more challenging than being around for the whole month. But I felt that knowing the team and knowing the players here and we've done great things together, it's a lot easier.

"I've been working out very hard. I'm back to the same physical condition as I was before the crash because I have been basically pounding myself in the gym ever since I got out of the hospital."

Team co-owner Bobby Rahal said that once Rice was ruled out of the event, his first and only telephone call was to Brack.

"As a driver, you know what it means - you dream of winning this race, let alone winning it again or repeating it," Rahal said. "I know Buddy's extremely disappointed, and we're disappointed for him. However, we had to go forward.

"I just thought it's somehow right that I called my friend Mr. Brack and asked if he'd be ready to fill in. The obvious sign is that he was ready to fill in. We're very anxious and excited to have Kenny back driving our car. I think that was one of the key factors - we wanted to have someone come in who would be as competitive as Buddy, who had experience with our team before and who we felt would work with the other two drivers in making sure we had three equally competitive cars come race day.

"As I say, the circumstances aren't necessarily the best for any of us, but I know he'll do a great job for us."

Brack will attempt to qualify for the race in the May 21st session. The highest he can qualify is 23rd, after missing Sunday's Pole Day session.

Brazilian Tony Kanaan took pole position with a four-lap average speed of 227.566 miles per hour. Brack's teammate in the event, Danica Patrick, will start the race from fourth position.

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