IRL: Homestead: Kelley Racing race report

HOMESTEAD, Fl. (March 2, 2003)---Today's Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway was an exciting one for Kelley Racing and its drivers, Scott Sharp and Al Unser Jr. Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry started the race in sixth position...

HOMESTEAD, Fl. (March 2, 2003)---Today's Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway was an exciting one for Kelley Racing and its drivers, Scott Sharp and Al Unser Jr. Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry started the race in sixth position and spent most of the early part of the race running between fifth and seventh. In the Delphi team's second to last pit stop, Sharp had a set of Firestone tires that helped him come within two seconds of the leaders and into third place. Unfortunately, a top three finish wasn't in the cards. Sharp continued to challenge the leaders, but ended the day in fifth place. Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, tried to play his race strategy differently today, by pitting out of sequence with the leaders. Despite the high temperatures and humidity, the track was fast and the competition tough. The Corteco team tried this strategy in an attempt to get Unser Jr. back on the lead lap and it worked for a short time. But despite their strategy, Unser Jr. eventually lost another two laps to the leaders but still ended the race in 13th position.

Scott Dixon took today's checkered flag while Gil deFerran finished second and Helio Castroneves third. The Kelley Racing team will now return to Indianapolis to prepare for a test in Phoenix on March 6 & 7. The test is in preparation for the team's next race event which will be held in Phoenix on March 23.

Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone

"I was really happy today with the Corteco team, they did a good job right off the bat. The level of competition in the IndyCar Series has definitely been raised. But I'm very happy with the performance of the Corteco team although I'm not happy with our finish, the team operated well together. We have a lot of new faces on the team and they did their jobs as best they could. I'm really proud of my guys, I just wish we could have had a better finish for Corteco, Bryant and Kruse. This is a good beginning though, we finished the race and that's what counts at the end of the day."

Start: 11th
Finish: 13th
Status: Running
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 199 of 200
Points Earned: 18
* Today was Al's 309th start of his career and his 15th IRL start

Scott Sharp -- #8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone

"I'm really pleased with the Delphi team. They hung in there all day and it was tough because most of the cars out there were really equal. We had to make the best of it and on our second to last pit stop we put on an excellent set of Firestone tires. I was catching the leaders and could run anywhere on the track and I think I took that a little bit for granted on our last run. It was pretty tight competition near the end of the race and I just couldn't capitalize on it. This was a great rebound for the Delphi team today after our incident yesterday. This was the first race together for most of the team and they did a great job. It's nice to get fifth place points under our belt and roll on to Phoenix."

Start: 6th
Finish: 5th
Status: Running
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 200 of 200
Points Earned: 30
* Today was Scott's 67th start of his career.

-www.kelleyracing.com-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon