INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana -- Cory Witherill and Aaron Fike will return to Hemelgarn/Johnson Motorsports for the 2003 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series season, team officials announced Dec. 30.
Both American drivers won a race in 2002 during the inaugural season of the Indy Racing League's development series, Witherill winning at Nashville and Fike at Chicagoland. Witherill finished fourth and Fike fifth in the series standings.
"It is great to have both drivers back with the vision of a championship in sight," team owner Ron Hemelgarn said. "As a car owner, it is exciting to see Aaron and Cory work so well together as teammates, and we want to continue building on the momentum from last season. The greatest thrill would be to see these two drivers fighting it out at Texas for the championship."
Fike, from Galesburg, Ill., will return to his No. 91 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. He earned the 2002 Badger Midget Series championship after capturing six wins and recently was named the 2002 National Midget Driver of the Year.
"I'm excited about returning with the Hemelgarn/Johnson team," Fike said. "I got a win under my belt last season and will be more prepared in 2003. I've got a great team behind me and would like to see us win a few more races."
Fike, a 20-year-old USAC standout, has a busy schedule during the offseason. He is in New Zealand for the holidays as part of a five member American team taking part in an international midget racing competition against drivers from Australia and New Zealand. Fike will return to the United States in early January for preseason Infiniti Pro Series testing.
Native American Witherill will reunite with the Hemelgarn/Johnson team and teammate Fike, driving the No. 92 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. Witherill, from Santa Monica, Calif., earned four top-three finishes in seven races during the inaugural season of the Infiniti Pro Series, including his dominant victory at Nashville.
"It is good to be back with the same team," Witherill said. "We learned a lot last season, and hopefully with the scheduled test sessions, we'll be able to take all that knowledge and win a championship."
In 2001, Witherill made his debut in the Indy Racing League and as a rookie in the Indianapolis 500. He also has competed in the Shelby Pro series, Formula Ford 2000 series, SCRA sprint-car series, Indy Lights series and off-road racing.
Witherill, 31, will begin preseason testing Jan. 6-7 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.