IRL: Stan Wattles retires from Indy car competition

STUART, Fla., Thursday, June 14 --- Indy Racing League veteran Stan Wattles announced today that he is retiring from Indy car competition effective immediately. Wattles, who has competed in the Indy Racing League since its inception, will put away ...

IRL: Stan Wattles retires from Indy car competition

STUART, Fla., Thursday, June 14 --- Indy Racing League veteran Stan Wattles announced today that he is retiring from Indy car competition effective immediately.

Wattles, who has competed in the Indy Racing League since its inception, will put away his driver's helmet and take an ownership role for the remainder of the 2001 season.

"I came into this year with all the right stuff," said Wattles. "I had great equipment, an awesome team and the opportunity to compete for the reigning IRL champions, Hemelgarn Racing, but unfortunately the luck of racing was absent."

Wattles competed in the first three Indy Racing Northern Light Series events this season, posting a best finish of 12th in Atlanta. A series of racing related incidents throughout the first quarter of the season and failure to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 played a key role in the decision process.

"I've thought long and hard about retiring," said Wattles. "After having been beat up emotionally, physically and financially for long enough, it's time. I've got a wonderful wife, two adorable children and endless opportunities. I have nothing to prove. I love the speed, the balance and the skill that it takes to handle an Indy car. It's in my blood and always will be. But given the luck I have had in IRL competition, I think someone is trying to tell me that it's time to move on. The fun has definitely gone!"

Wattles, who lives in Sewall's Point, Florida will continue to pursue racing as a hobby. He plans to compete in the Sportscar ranks as well as go karts, but will turn his primary focus towards his family and other business opportunities. Holding black belts in the Korean martial arts of Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido and Kum Ye Do, Wattles plans to open a martial arts school in the near future.

"I would like to take a moment to thank my team for sticking by me. They are truly some of the best individuals I have ever worked with. Running under the Hemelgarn Racing banner was a wonderful opportunity, and I appreciate the support that Ron Hemelgarn, Lee Kunzman, Buddy Lazier and the rest of the Hemelgarn team gave me. The Indy Racing League is an exciting concept, one that allowed me the opportunity to compete in the Indy car ranks. I want to extend my appreciation to Tony George and the entire Hulman-George Family for developing such a series."

Although Wattles Indy Racing League driving career is coming to an end, a new opportunity is on the horizon. Wattles' Hemelgarn/Metro Racing plans to resume competition in July and will be announcing a replacement driver within the next few weeks.

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