Jan. 22 – Jason Priestley, 38, is making a return to auto racing – sort of.
The former “Beverly Hills, 90210” star who was seriously injured in a racing accident in 2002, is co-owner of a new race team that plans to enter a car in the Indianapolis 500 in May.
“Dude, this is going to be so fun,” Priestley said about the announcement made by the Associated Press.
The new Rubicon Race Team will be managed by co-owner and Priestley’s friend Jim Freudenberg, the former general manager of Kelley Racing. The No. 28 entry will be built by the Indianapolis-based Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
The team plans to hire a veteran driver within the next few weeks, according to the Associated Press. The Indy 500 on May 25 is the only race in Rubicon’s plans for 2008.
Priestley said by telephone from Canada, through team spokeswoman Jana Watt, that he is excited to be able to spend the month of May in Indy with good friends and be a part of the greatest open wheel race.
Rubicon Racing’s advisory board includes former IRL team owner Tom Kelley, Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark and Carolina Panthers punter Jason Baker, who is from Fort Wayne, IN, and played briefly for the Colts in 2004.
Priestley, a native of British Columbia, became a TV star with Luke Perry, Shannen Doherty and Jennie Garth in the Fox network’s “Beverly Hills, 90210” in the 1990s. He began racing sports cars in 1991 in the California Rally Series and won his first race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1998. In 2001, he was a broadcast analyst for the IRL series and joined Kelley Racing the next season in the IRL’s developmental Indy Pro Series.
He was considered a talented driver and was serious about pursuing a racing career until his crash during practice at Kentucky Speedway in August 2002, when he slammed into the wall at 180 mph and broke his back and feet.
He also suffered a concussion, a bruise around his left eye and cuts on his nose, left cheek and neck.
He was transferred to an Indianapolis hospital, where he underwent surgery and rehabilitation.
Photos courtesy of www.officialjasonpriestley.com