Jourdain in at RLL for Indy 500

Michel Jourdain Jr. will return to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for another run at the Indianapolis 500.

Jourdain, who finished 19th in last year's "500" for RLL, will have primary backing from Office Depot Mexico on his No. 17 Honda, as well as associate backing from Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi. He'll be running alongside team regulars Graham Rahal and James Jakes.

"I am very happy to compete in the Indianapolis 500 again," the 36-year-old Mexican driver said in a team statement. "It has been a year since I have been in the car, but I will take the same strategy as last year and build up speed little by little. We have good confidence because we ran pretty well last year, especially Takuma [Sato]. I’m sure the car will be really good and with it being a three car team we should be able to progress much faster."

Team owner Bobby Rahal is hopeful that things will turn out better for Jourdain this year at the Brickyard.

"I think that last year for his first race back after a number of years out of an IndyCar, he did a very good job," he said. "We made a bad pit call last year and let him down frankly, which put him a lap down. He quickly got with the program at Indy and was running competitively in the race, and I think that one year later most of the rust is off and he will be much more prepared because he knows what to expect.

"From a car standpoint, we should be even more competitive than we were last year, so I am really pleased to have Michel back."

RLL came close to an upset victory in last year's "500" with Sato, who was running second to Dario Franchitti with one lap remaining. But Sato's attempt to pass Franchitti in Turn 1 ended badly as the Japanese racer instead spun out and crashed into the wall, ensuring Franchitti's third Indy triumph.

Jourdain raced full-time for RLL in Champ Car during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. In the latter campaign, he finished third in the championship on the strength of two victories (Montreal and Milwaukee), six podiums, and 11 top-5 finishes.