- Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to make Indianapolis 500 starts 19 years apart, bettering Cy Marshall & Roland Free's 17-year gap set in 1947.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

McDonald To Andretti, '500' Winner To Tag

Sam Schmidt Motorsports engineer and key member to the team's success last month in Indianapolis, Allen McDonald, will be engineering a different squad at Texas.  Andretti Autosport confirmed in a press release an earlier report by the Indianapolis Star's Curt Cavin that the veteran Mcdonald had rejoined the 4-car operation.

"We're excited to have Allen back with our team," said Andretti Autosport owner, Michael Andretti. "He was a great asset to us in the past, and I'm confident he will bring a lot to the table and make an immediate impact for us. He clearly knows what it takes to be fast and knows how our operation works, so it should be a smooth transition for him."

Previously, McDonald had an 8-year stint with the team from 2002 to 2009, before leaving Andretti Autosport for the then FAZZT Race Team over the winter. McDonald joins as the new director of engineering and as race engineer for Mike Conway's #27 Dallara.

"I'm looking forward to working with Andretti Autosport once again," McDonald said. "We did some great things together in the past and the goal is to get back to that level of consistency and success. Everyone here is focused on the same goals and is ready to do whatever it takes for us to get there. That effort begins this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway."

Following the loss of a major piece to the puzzle for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, the team will shift Todd Malloy to Alex Tagliani's #77 entry. Malloy engineered Dan Wheldon's victory in Indianapolis two weeks ago.

“We are very fortunate to have Todd (Malloy) with us this weekend," said Sam Schmidt Motorsports Team Manager, Rob Edwards. "Since he was part of the engineering group (No. 77, No. 98 and the No. 99 teams) working together at Indy, it will help the transition. At the same time, Allen (McDonald) was part of the founding group of this team, so much of the continuity that has built up over the last 18 months will be lost. Instead of work happening intuitively, we will have to learn to work together as we go."

Qualifications for this weekend's double-header in Texas can be seen at 6pm est. Friday on VERSUS.

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