Rice joins Panther for Indy 500

Buddy Rice has joined Panther Racing for an assault on this year's Indianapolis 500

Rice joins Panther for Indy 500

Rice, who won the race for Rahal-Letterman Racing in 2004, will join team regular JR Hildebrand for the IndyCar Series' blue riband event and is delighted to be back.

"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 JR and help the team," Rice said.

"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."

Panther has never won the Indy 500, but has finished second for the last three years; with Vitor Meira in 2008 and with Dan Wheldon in '09 and '10.

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