Kenny Brack was welcomed to Bobby Rahal's CART racing team Wednesday by David Letterman, a chorus line, Don Rickles and a musical number by Paul Shafer's band.
The videotaped interlude accompanied Rahal's announcement during a news conference that Brack, one of the IRL's top drivers, was joining the team. Letterman is a co-owner of Team Rahal.
Brack, 33, spent three seasons in the IRL, winning the driving title in 1998 and finishing second this year.
"Everything he has touched, he's turned to gold," said Rahal, who won the 1986 Indianapolis 500 and started his own racing team after the 1995 season. He retired from driving last year.
Rahal also said the team was considering returning to the Indianapolis 500 after a four-year absence.
After introducing Brack, Rahal said the team's other owner also wanted to welcome the new driver. A video was shown which featured a dozen dancing girls with Letterman introducing a Paul Shafer musical number, "We Love Kenny Brack."
Brack replaces Bryan Herta, whose contract wasn't renewed.
"I know in Kenny we've got a guy that can run strongly anywhere," Rahal said. "Bryan's an unbelievable road racer but, unfortunately, you've got to have the ability to run fast on road and oval tracks."
Brack and Rahal had been talking about the move since July. Brack said there wasn't much hesitation on his part.
The team interviewed many drivers for the post, but Brack's work ethic made him stand out, Rahal said.
"I was very impressed with Kenny's attitude toward the whole thing," Rahal said. "He has a reputation as a hard worker."
With the combination of Brack and the team's other driver, Max Papis, Rahal said his team could be in position to return to the Indianapolis 500. CART teams haven't competed at Indianapolis for four years because of a dispute with speedway president Tony George.
"If we can find the funding and if our partners agree with our going, we will be back at Indy next year," Rahal said. "Having won the race as a driver, I'd like to win it as an owner."
Rahal said that CART owners returning to Indianapolis would make open-wheel racing as popular as it once was.
Brack said he would welcome a chance to defend his title in Indianapolis.
"If Bobby and Team Rahal decide to go back, no one would be happier than me," Brack said.
The Swede came to the United States in 1997 to take over for injured Davy Jones on the Galles IRL team.
Brack said he didn't anticipate that the Rahal team would have much of a transition period.
"I think we will win races next year and that's my goal," he said. "I'm just pleased that Bobby put his faith in me."
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed