Rookie Buddy Rice Races to Top Finish for Chevy in Indianapolis 500 INDIANAPOLIS, May 25, 2003 - Two rookies were the highest finishing Chevy drivers in today's Indianapolis 500. Red Bull Cheever Racing's Buddy Rice brought his Chevrolet ...
Rookie Buddy Rice Races to Top Finish for Chevy in Indianapolis 500
INDIANAPOLIS, May 25, 2003 - Two rookies were the highest finishing Chevy drivers in today's Indianapolis 500. Red Bull Cheever Racing's Buddy Rice brought his Chevrolet Dallara home in 11th and Vitor Meira was 12th in Team Menard's Chevrolet Dallara in the pair's first Indy 500 appearances. The race was won by Gil de Ferran driving a Penske Racing Toyota G Force.
Ten Chevy-powered cars started the 500-mile race and three were running at the finish. In addition to Rice and Meira, Jimmy Kite placed 13th in PDM Racing's Chevrolet Dallara. Sam Hornish Jr., Buddy Lazier, Billy Boat, Robbie Buhl and Sarah Fisher encountered mechanical problems. Jaques Lazier crashed while trying to avoid Richie Hearn's spinning car, and Robby McGehee retired after his car's steering was damaged when he was clipped by another car.
GM Racing Executive Director led the 33-car field to the green flag in the Chevy SSR pace vehicle. The race was slowed by nine caution periods that accounted for 49 of the 200 laps around the 2.5-mile speedway.
"To be the top Chevrolet finisher is a good thing," said Rice. "Without that one little miss we would have had a top-10 finish, no problem. That one little electronic gremlin caught us out a little today, and we got behind at the midway point of the race."
"We finished the race today, which was our main goal," said Meira. "The guys on this team are winners. They deserve to finish first, but right now we are just working hard to do our best.
"The Indy 500 was longer and harder than I ever expected," he added. "I am really happy to be here at the finish. You see everything out there: You see slow parts, you see really scary parts. I am glad to be part of the Indianapolis 500. It is amazing, to be surrounded by all these fans and this excitement."
IRL teams will test later this weekend in Richmond, Va., and then race on the high banks of Texas Motor Speedway under the lights in the Bombardier 500K on June 7.
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after 4 of 16 events) Driver/Engine/Points (victories in parentheses)
1. Tony Kanaan/Honda, 137 (1) 2. Helio Castroneves/Toyota, 123 3. Scott Sharp/Toyota, 116 (1) 4. Gil de Ferran/Toyota, 108 (1) 5. Kenny Brack/Honda, 103
Manufacturer/Points (victories in parentheses) 1. Toyota, 37 (3) 2. Honda, 31 (1) 3. Chevrolet, 20