INDIANAPOLIS---Today marked the final practice prior to the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500. All three Kelley drivers drove a minimal number of laps, basically only doing an installation check of all the on-board systems in preparation for...
INDIANAPOLIS---Today marked the final practice prior to the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500. All three Kelley drivers drove a minimal number of laps, basically only doing an installation check of all the on-board systems in preparation for Sunday's race. Following the final practice session the annual Pit Stop competition was held. Unser Jr. and Sharp participated for Kelley Racing. Sharp and his Delphi pit crew, who won the competition in 2001, went up against Kenny Brack in the first round and were beaten by fractions of a second. Unser Jr. and his Corteco crew went up against Scott Dixon in the first round and were victorious, and then they went on to beat Sam Hornish Jr. in round two. In the semi-final round, Unser Jr. and his Corteco crew were beaten by a split second by the crew of Buddy Rice.
There is no further on-track activity after today until the green flag drops on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. CT. Sunday will be Unser Jr.'s 16th start, Sharp's ninth start and Renna's inaugural start for the Indianapolis 500.
Scott Sharp No. 8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"We really didn't do much work on the car today because we know if we've got the car close today that conditions will most likely change for Sunday and we'll fine tune things on Sunday morning. We're really very pleased. The Delphi crew has done a great job all week and we seem to have speed, we're good in traffic, and now we need to execute on Sunday. Our goal on Sunday is to get to the end of the race and run the full 500 miles. Hopefully we've practiced enough in the different conditions that we have a good history and will be able to rely on some of our earlier data and set the car right where we need to be for race day conditions. I think this year is the best chance that I have ever had to win the "500" and the best chance that Kelley Racing has had to win."
Speed: 226.244 mph
Time: 39.7800 seconds
Al Unser Jr. No. 31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"At the beginning of the session the crew in the pit box in front of me had their tires out but the car was gone and when you are this close to the tires sitting flat on the ground, you can't see them from the cockpit. I didn't think anything was there and pulled away and hit their rear tire, flipping it up in the air. Thank goodness it didn't damage the Corteco car. We're ready to go racing. We came out here this morning and the car ran really well. The Toyota engine has been running very strong and I'm just very, very happy with the car all the way around. This year is the best chance as I've ever had here at Indy to win the race. I've been here with some really good teams and this team stacks up with the best."
Speed: 224.846 mph
Time: 40.0274 seconds
Tony Renna No. 32 Cure Autism Now/HomeMed Pharmacy/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"The Cure Autism Now/HomeMed guys have been doing a great job. They got the car back together this week so it's basically a brand new car again. Everything feels good, we did a couple of runs today to put a little lean on it to see how she would run and everything is great. We made some minor changes today for the race but I'm pretty happy with where we are right now. Every day is a potential simulation for race day and for gathering information so hopefully we're prepared for whatever the raceday conditions hold. I feel like we're well prepared and I'm ready for Sunday."
Al Unser Jr. Fast Facts
*The Kelley Racing drivers will start from the following positions: Renna in eighth, Sharp in ninth, and Unser Jr. in 17th.
* 2003 will be Unser Jr.'s 16th start at the Indianapolis 500, his 312th career start and his 39th IRL start. At Indianapolis in 2002, he started seventh and finished 12th.
*Unser Jr. has won two previous Indianapolis 500's, 1992 and 1994. In 1994, Unser Jr. started from the pole and led 48 laps en-route to his victory.
*Unser Jr. has seven top-five finishes, and nine top-ten finishes at Indianapolis and has led 110 laps.
*As a family, the Unser's (Jerry, Bobby, Al Sr., Al Jr., Johnny and Robby) have 69 starts in the Indianapolis 500 and nine wins, more than any other racing family.
Scott Sharp Fast Facts
*2003 will be Sharp's ninth start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his 70th career start and his sixth Indianapolis 500 with Kelley Racing. In 2002, he started eighth and finished 27th after a mechanical failure.
*Sharp is currently the points leader in the IndyCar Series with 106 points.
*Sharp's best start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was in 2001 when he started from the pole with a qualifying speed of 226.037 miles per hour. His best finish was tenth in 2000 and 1996. Sharp has led three laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
*Sharp's victory last month at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan was his eighth career victory and the second consecutive year that he has won the race prior to Indianapolis.
Tony Renna Fast Facts
*2003 will be Renna's first Indianapolis 500. He passed his Rookie Orientation Program on April 21, 2003.
*Renna previously competed for Kelley Racing in 2002. In his six IndyCar starts, he had a best finish of fourth at Michigan.