Originally written on Indy Racing Revolution  |  Last updated 9/29/14

HOMESTEAD, FL - MARCH 4: Bryan Herta driver of the #7 Andretti Green Racing XM Satellite Radio Dallara Honda poses during the media day portrait session at the testing for the IRL Indycar Series on March 4, 2006 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

As eight rookie drivers prepare this morning for their first run at the Indianapolis 500, the race's defending champion is making a big switch.

Bryan Herta Autosport, who won the 2011 '500' with the late Dan Wheldon in the cockpit of their No. 98 machine, has officially joined the Honda family after obtaining its release last month from British manufacturer Lotus. The team missed the most recent IZOD IndyCar Series race at Sao Paulo, Brazil on April 29.

With driver Alex Tagliani (who won the '500' pole last year), the team currently sits 26th in points after suffering from multiple engine problems in their three races. Two of those races ended in DNF's, including the event at Barber Motorsports Park that saw Tagliani fail to make a single lap due to engine issues.

But now with Honda power, the team figures to least stand a puncher's chance of defending its '500' title. Herta has extensive Honda ties, going back to his days as a driver in both INDYCAR and the American Le Mans Series.

"We look forward to joining the other Honda-powered teams on track this weekend in preparation for the 2012 Indianapolis 500, and working to defend last year’s memorable and popular win by Dan Wheldon," said Herta in a Honda-released statement. "I know that Alex Tagliani and the entire Team Barracuda – BHA crew are brimming with confidence and excitement going into the 'Month of May.'"

Herta's addition brings Honda's Indianapolis 500 roster to 15 cars and its full-time IZOD IndyCar Series roster to 11 cars.


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