IRL: Chicagoland: Toyota preview

CHICAGO IS HORNISH'S KIND OF TOWN -- No driver has enjoyed more success at the Chicagoland Speedway than Marlboro Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. In four events on the 1.5-mile oval, Hornish Jr. has registered two wins which were very memorable, a...

CHICAGO IS HORNISH'S KIND OF TOWN -- No driver has enjoyed more success at the Chicagoland Speedway than Marlboro Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. In four events on the 1.5-mile oval, Hornish Jr. has registered two wins which were very memorable, a second and a sixth. In addition, the Defiance, Ohio-native also was victorious in Toyota Atlantic competition at the defunct Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero.

The 2002 win over Al Unser Jr. came in the closest race in IRL history, winning by only .0024 seconds. Amazingly enough, Hornish Jr.'s 2003 victory may have been even more spectacular as he won a three-car photo finish by just .009 seconds over Scott Dixon (Target Toyota) and Bryan Herta.

GOING THE EXTRA MILE...AND A HALF -- In IRL competition this season, Toyota-powered cars have had a moderate amount of success on the one-and-a-half mile tracks. Sam Hornish Jr. has fared the best with a pair of runner-up finishes at Motegi and Texas. Both Alex Barron (fourth at Kentucky) and Helio Castroneves (fifth at Homestead, Texas and Kentucky) have also logged top-five finishes this season. Three different drivers have earned honors as the top finishing Toyota in the season's first five 1.5-mile events. In addition, Sam Hornish Jr. won the pole position at Motegi.

JAQUES' BACK -- After sitting out the most recent round at Sonoma while rookie Giorgio Pantano took over on the road course, Jaques Lazier will return in the #10 Target Toyota at Chicago. Lazier won the inaugural IRL event at the Chicagoland Speedway in 2001, edging out Sam Hornish Jr. in the process.

...HEMELGARN, TOO -- The first-year Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing team returns to action with driver Jimmy Kite this weekend at the Pike Anti-Freeze 300 after skipping the most recent event at the Infineon Raceway. Due to its late entry into the series, the team didn't feel there was enough time to develop an adequate road course program this season and also will not compete at Watkins Glen.

POINTS CHASE - Three Toyota-powered drivers continue to rank in the top-10 in the IRL IndyCar Series point standings. Sam Hornish Jr. fell to third after gearbox problems plagued him in Sonoma. He's now 17 points out of second. Fellow Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves is currently sixth. With his recent surge, Red Bull driver Patrick Carpentier has moved into ninth-place overall, 19 points out of the eighth spot.

TOYOTA DRIVERS AT CHICAGOLAND -- Only five of the current Toyota-powered drivers have previously raced at Chicagoland, with all notching at least a seventh-place finish or better.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Al Unser Jr. , Helio Castroneves , Jimmy Kite , Patrick Carpentier , Scott Dixon , Alex Barron , Sam Hornish Jr. , Jaques Lazier
Teams Team Penske