Joliet, Illinois (September 5, 2003) --- Opening day practice for the Delphi Indy 300 showed just how close the field for Sunday's race will be with .7 seconds separately the first and last cars. Kelley Racing drivers Scott Sharp and Al Unser Jr.
Joliet, Illinois (September 5, 2003) --- Opening day practice for the Delphi Indy 300 showed just how close the field for Sunday's race will be with .7 seconds separately the first and last cars. Kelley Racing drivers Scott Sharp and Al Unser Jr. each spent the day working on their race set-up. Sharp turned a top speed of 221.3332 mph and Unser Jr.'s top speed was 220.495 mph. The top speeds today were set by Tomas Scheckter at 223.810 mph, Richie Hearn 223.511 mph and Kenny Brack at 222.870 mph. Practice will resume tomorrow morning at 10:15 a.m. with qualifying to follow at 4:30 p.m. The green flag for the Delphi Indy 300 will fall Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and be shown live on ABC.
Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"The Corteco car has been pretty good today. We're still trying to get it around the corner a little bit better but all in all we're making steady gains on our set-up and we'll be ready to race come Sunday. The competition is definitely tighter than it was last year. There's going to be more cars running for the lead group and the whole thing at Chicago is about staying in that lead group if you want to challenge for the win."
Friday Combined Practice
Speed: 220.495 mph
Time: 24.8169 seconds
Al Unser Jr., No. 31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone--Fast Facts and Quote
* This will be Unser Jr.'s 322nd career start and his 49th IRL start.
*Unser Jr. is currently sixth in the IndyCar Series points standings with 319 points.
*Chicago Record--In 2002 Unser Jr. started 3rd and finished 2nd in 2001 he started 12th and finished 3rd.
*His victory on June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway was his third IndyCar Series victory and his 34th career victory.
*Unser Jr. has won two Indianapolis 500's (1992, 1994) and two open-wheel championships (1990, 1994).
Scott Sharp -- #8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"Today was a little bit discouraging for the Delphi team but we did some quite a bit of improvement this afternoon. We had been up here to test last week and right now, we're not even running comparable speeds to last week. Granted the weather has changed big time since last week but normally when it gets cooler that helps the car so this is all a bit strange. We're really working hard on our race set-up today and our game plan is to try and get the car comfortable in traffic because with the type of racing at Chicago if you have a good car in traffic, you can go right up to the front."
Friday Combined Practice
Speed: 221.332 mph
Time: 24.7230 seconds
Scott Sharp, No. 8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone---Fast Facts and Quote
*This will be Sharp's 80th career start, his 72nd consecutive IndyCar start--an IRL record-- and his sixth season with Kelley Racing.
*Chicago Record--In 2002, Sharp started 16th and finished 7th and in 2001 he started 3rd and finished 25th after an accident.
*Sharp is currently in eighth place in the IndyCar Series with 280 points.
*Sharp's victory in April at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan was his eighth career victory.