James Davison will attempt to race both the Daytona 500 and the 104th Indianapolis 500 in 2020, as a new partnership makes its first NASCAR foray in the Great American Race.
Danica Patrick was the last racer to compete in both marquee events in the same year (2018). Kurt Busch competed in the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in 2014.
Davison, a 33-year-old Australian, is partnering with BYRD Racing and Brodie and Sarah Hayward of Hayward Motorsports. Davison will also compete in select sprint car events under the Hayward Motorsports banner.
OILFIRE Whiskey will be the primary sponsor for the Daytona 500 entry, and an associate sponsor for the Indianapolis 500.
Though partner programs for both races are still being finalized, BYRD and Davison expect to be returning to familiar territory during the month of May for Davison’s 6th run at Indy.
Davison finished a career-best 12th last year in his fifth Indy 500 start.
David Byrd, whose family has been a long-time participant at Indy and at the grassroots of racing, appreciates the importance of fostering drivers and mechanics through the USAC ranks.
“There can be no top levels of racing without the grassroots,” Byrd said. “From the intensity of the competition to the passion of the fans and the promoters, and the often thankless dedication of the guys that turn the wrenches, it all filters upwards. It’s where we got our start. No matter we do, it will always have our heart and our support.
“Be it IndyCar or NASCAR, motorsports thrives when at least some of its drivers have, develop or maintain a connection with the hundreds of thousands of passionate fans that fill the stands at hundreds of short tracks across America week in and week out. We want to develop drivers that have the ability to stand in both worlds.”
Although Davison ran the Rolex 24 Hours from 2014-2016, Speedweeks will mark the Melbourne native’s first attempt around the 2.5-mile high-banked oval in a stock car. Davison has four starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series—including three races for Joe Gibbs Racing, where his best run was fourth at Mid-Ohio in 2017.
“This is the next step for Hayward Motorsports as we venture into NASCAR and IndyCar,” Brodie Hayward said. “Sarah and I appreciate the opportunity to watch these drivers grow and rise through the racing ranks.”
Hayward Motorsports announced on Tuesday that two-time USAC champ Chris Windom will pilot the No. 19 in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car tour next season.
“I’ve known Brodie for quite a few years and the opportunity arose not too long ago for us to do a deal for next year,” Windom said. “I know how great of an operation they’re putting together—what they have and what they want to do in the future. I didn’t think there was any way I could say no to that. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Tanner Thorson, 23, the 2016 USAC National Midget Champion, will drive the No. 19 midget for Hayward. Thorson returns to competition next weekend in the Gateway Dirt Nationals. OILFIRE will also sponsor the No. 19 midget in the 2020 Chili Bowl Nationals at Tulsa Expo Raceway.
“We sponsored a couple of NASCAR events this season and sponsored some of Brodie’s races earlier this year at Indy and Chili Bowl,” said OILFIRE president Carroll Lockhart. “His teams are topnotch. His quality of drivers and crews are some of the best out there. I feel with OILFIRE, the racing fans are the type of audience and clients that my company is trying to market to.
“As the industry shows in the whiskey business, music fans, racing fans and sports fans drink a lot of whiskey. So it was an easy choice for me. That’s why I jumped on the chance to sponsor Hayward in 2020.”