Willy T. Ribbs is reportedly jumping back into the cockpit of an IndyCar racer next month. According to Inside Line, the first African American driver to qualify at the Indianapolis 500 is set to take to the track in a preliminary race in Baltimore next month. The 56-year-old Ribbs launched a race team earlier this year with driver Chase Austin behind the wheel, and he will take Austin's slot at the Firestone Indy Lights race. It will mark the first time since 1999 that the driver has been behind the wheel of an IndyCar.
Ribbs famously qualified for the Indianapolis 500 in 1991, though his efforts were hampered by a blown engine, finishing 32nd in a field of 33 racers. He fared somewhat better when he returned in 1993, where he finished 23rd. Ribbs then spent some time in Formula Ford in Europe and NASCAR, though he hit his stride in Trans Am. He collected five wins during his time in that series. At this point, it's unclear whether Ribbs will continue in IndyCar after the Baltimore race.
For some background on Ribbs and to catch up with what he's been up to, check out an interview conducted by Indycar earlier this year by clicking on the jump.