Ontario, CA. (September 19, 2003) --Today was the opening day for the Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway. As normal for this two-mile oval, speeds today were fast. Al Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, was 17th on the speed chart...
Ontario, CA. (September 19, 2003) --Today was the opening day for the Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway. As normal for this two-mile oval, speeds today were fast. Al Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, was 17th on the speed chart today with a speed of 221.834 mph while his teammate Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry was 18th quickest with a speed of 221.769 mph. Setting the pace for the field today was Tony Kanaan at 224.833 mph while rookie Roger Yasukawa was second at 224.629 mph and Scott Dixon rounded out the top three at 224.405 mph. Practice will resume tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. with qualifying set to begin at 11:00 a.m. The green flag for Sunday's race will fall at 12:30 p.m. PDT and be shown live on ABC.
Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"We're working on the Corteco car and trying to find the speeds that everyone is running and make it a consistent race car. We can make it inconsistent and still not find the speed. Most everything we've tried on the car today has gone the wrong way; a few things have gone right but not many. So tonight, Mike Colliver (Chief Engineer) and I will sit down and do our homework and try to find a good set-up for tomorrow."
Friday Combined Practice
Speed: 221.834 mph
Time: 32.4567 seconds
Al Unser Jr., No. 31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone--Fast Facts and Quote
* This will be Unser Jr.'s 323rd career start and his 50th IRL start.
*Unser Jr. is currently sixth in the IndyCar Series points standings with 330 points.
*California Record--In 2002, the inaugural year for the IRL at Fontana, Unser Jr. started 7th and finished 11th. As a Champ Car driver Unser Jr. raced in Fontana in 1997 and 1998. In 1997, he started 20th and finished 22nd, while in 1998 he started 13th and finished 27th.
*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
"It wasn't a bad day for the Delphi team. We've been dealing with some of the same issues we had in Chicago and so we're trying to make the car as fast as we can for tomorrow but ultimately we're working on race set-up. Our ultimate goal is to have a secure race car because in Chicago it ended up being a bit of a handful in the race so we're trying to get the car as secure as we can so we can dice and mix it up in Sunday's race."
Friday Combined Practice
Speed: 221.769 mph
Time: 32.4672 seconds
Scott Sharp, No. 8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone---Fast Facts and Quote
*This will be Sharp's 81st career start, his 73rd consecutive IndyCar start--an IRL record-- and his sixth season with Kelley Racing.
*California Record--In 2002, Sharp started 9th and finished 8th.
*Sharp is currently in ninth place in the IndyCar Series with 299 points.
*Sharp's victory in April at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan was his eighth career victory.