IPS: IRL: Homestead: Season opener notes, schedule

IndyCar Series: Toyota Indy 300, first race in 16-race 2003 season 1 p.m. (EST), Sunday, March 2 Infiniti Pro Series: Miami 100, first race in 12-race 2003 season 10:10 a.m. (EST), Sunday, March 2 TV: IndyCar Series: Pre-race: ESPN2 (live),...

IndyCar Series:
Toyota Indy 300, first race in 16-race 2003 season
1 p.m. (EST), Sunday, March 2

Infiniti Pro Series:
Miami 100, first race in 12-race 2003 season
10:10 a.m. (EST), Sunday, March 2

TV:

IndyCar Series:
Pre-race: ESPN2 (live), "Indy Racing 2Day," Noon (EDT), March 2
Race: ABC (live), 1 p.m. (EST), March 2

Infiniti Pro Series:
Highlights: ESPN2, 3:30 p.m. (EST), March 7

SCHEDULE (all times local; subject to change):

Friday, Feb. 28
9-9:45 a.m. Infiniti Pro Series practice
10-11:30 a.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
1:15-2 p.m. Infiniti Pro Series practice
2:15-3:45 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)

Saturday, March 1
8:15-8:45 a.m. Infiniti Pro Series practice
10:15-11:45 a.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
Noon Infiniti Pro Series Pole Qualifying
1:15 p.m. IndyCar Series MBNA Pole Qualifying

Sunday, March 2
8:30-8:45 a.m. Final Infiniti Pro Series practice
9 a.m. Final IndyCar Series practice
10:10 a.m. Miami 100 IRL Infiniti Pro Series race (67 laps/100 miles)
1 p.m. Toyota Indy 300 (200 laps/300 miles), ABC (live)

RACE NOTES:

IndyCar Series:
Four Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the Toyota Indy 300: Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994), Buddy Lazier (1996), Kenny Brack (1999) and Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002).

Four IRL IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Toyota Indy 300: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Kenny Brack (1998), Buddy Lazier (2000) and Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002). A.J. Foyt IV, the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series champion and grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, also will participate in the Toyota Indy 300.

Two IndyCar Series drivers who have won at Homestead-Miami Speedway are expected to race in the Toyota Indy 300: Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2001) and Michael Andretti (CART, 1997, 1998). Hornish also went on to win the IndyCar Series championship in both 2001 and 2002.

Infiniti Pro Series:
The Miami 100 is the inaugural Infiniti Pro Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Aaron Fike and Cory Witherill, who won Infiniti Pro Series races at Chicagoland Speedway and Nashville Superspeedway, respectively, are expected to compete in the Miami 100 as teammates with Hemelgarn 91/Johnson Motorsports. Arie Luyendyk Jr., who finished second in the 2002 championship, and Ed Carpenter, who finished third, are also expected to race.

SERIES NOTES:

IndyCar Series:
Sam Hornish Jr. defeated Miami resident Helio Castroneves, 531-511, in the 2002 points standings to claim his second consecutive IndyCar Series championship and become the first driver to win two IndyCar Series titles. In 2003, Hornish will look to become only the second driver in history to win three Indy-style championships in a row. Ted Horn won three consecutive titles from 1946-48.

Kenny Brack, who won the 1998 IndyCar Series title and the 1999 Indianapolis 500, returns to the IndyCar Series full time for the first time since 1999. He will drive the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Team Rahal in the team's first full season of IndyCar Series competition.

The average margin of victory for the 15 IndyCar Series events in 2002 (excluding Miami and Indianapolis, which finished under caution) was .8045 of a second. There were margins of victory of less than a second in eight races, including the closest finish in IndyCar Series history, which took place Sept. 8, 2002, at Chicagoland Speedway when Sam Hornish Jr. and Al Unser Jr. battled side by side for 21 laps with Hornish winning by just .0024 of a second.

Andretti Green Racing will compete exclusively in the IndyCar Series for the first time in 2003, fielding cars for Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and co-owner Michael Andretti.

Infiniti Pro Series:
The second season of Infiniti Pro Series competition will consist of 12 races that will take place at the same track and on the same weekend as IRL IndyCar Series events except for the Indianapolis race, which is tentatively scheduled to take place May 24 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the night before the 87th Indianapolis 500 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A.J. Foyt IV, the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series champion and grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, has moved to the IndyCar Series for 2003.

Ed Carpenter, who finished third in the 2002 point standings, has taken over Foyt's ride with A.J. Foyt Racing.

Arie Luyendyk Jr., who finished second in the 2002 point standings, has moved to Sinden Racing Service for 2003. Luyendyk is the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Cory Witherill , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , A.J. Foyt IV , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Aaron Fike , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ed Carpenter , Arie Luyendyk Jr.