IRL: Indy Racing goes the distance for exciting finishes

INDIANAPOLIS -- When it comes to close racing and exciting finishes, the Indy Racing League finishes second to none. The statistics show that's more than just a slogan. Twenty-one of the 60 IRL races -- 35 percent -- conducted since the series...

INDIANAPOLIS -- When it comes to close racing and exciting finishes, the Indy Racing League finishes second to none.

The statistics show that's more than just a slogan. Twenty-one of the 60 IRL races -- 35 percent -- conducted since the series debut in January 1996 have included finishing margins of one second or less. Another 11 races -- 18 percent -- have seen finishing margins between one and two seconds.

In total, 32 of the 60 IRL races -- 53 percent -- have included finishes closer than two seconds.

Reigning Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. is the king of close finishes. Hornish has won the two closest finishes in league history, capturing the Chevy 500 in October 2001 at Texas Motor Speedway by .0188 of a second and the Yamaha Indy 400 in March 2002 at California Speedway by .0281 of a second.

Indy Racing events almost always finish at top speed, too. Fifty-four of the 60 races (90 percent) have ended under the green flag. In fact, there was only one yellow-flag finish in each of the 1999, 2000 and 2001 seasons. <pre> 21 Finishing Margins Of Less Than One Second in Indy Racing League History.

        Margin  Date    Track (winner, runner-up)
1.      .0188 of a second       Oct. 6, 2001    Texas (Sam Hornish Jr., Scott Sharp)
2.      .0281   March 24, 2002  California (Sam Hornish Jr., Jaques Lazier)
3.      .059    June 11, 2000   Texas (Scott Sharp, Robby McGehee)
4.      .064    Aug. 17, 1997   New Hampshire (Robbie Buhl, Vincenzo Sospiri)
5.      .120    June 27, 1999   Pikes Peak (Greg Ray, Sam Schmidt)
6.      .140    Oct. 15, 2000   Texas (Scott Goodyear, Eddie Cheever Jr.)
7.      .1976   July 8, 2001    Kansas (Eddie Cheever Jr., Sam Hornish Jr.)
8.      .222    June 29, 1997   Pikes Peak (Tony Stewart, Stephan Gregoire)
9.      .445    Aug. 29, 1999   Pikes Peak (Greg Ray, Davey Hamilton)
10.     .4969   April 21, 2001  Nazareth (Scott Sharp, Felipe Giaffone)
11.     .570    May 29, 1997    Indianapolis (Arie Luyendyk, Scott Goodyear)
12.     .617    Sept. 26, 1999  Las Vegas (Sam Schmidt, Kenny Brack)
13.     .689    July 19, 1998   Dover (Scott Sharp, Buddy Lazier)
14.     .695    May 26, 1996    Indianapolis (Buddy Lazier, Davy Jones)
15.     .731    Aug. 1, 1999    Dover (Greg Ray, Buddy Lazier)
16.     .854    March 23, 1997  Phoenix (Jim Guthrie, Tony Stewart)
17.     .866    Jan. 27, 1996   Walt Disney World (Buzz Calkins, Tony Stewart)
18.     .888    June 12, 1999   Texas (Scott Goodyear, Greg Ray)
19.     .926    Oct. 11, 1998   Las Vegas (Arie Luyendyk, Sam Schmidt)
20.     .928    June 6, 1998    Texas (Billy Boat, Greg Ray)
21.     .944    Aug. 29, 1998   Atlanta (Kenny Brack, Davey Hamilton)

Indy Racing League Finishing Statistics

Season  Races   CautionFinish   GreenFinish     Less ThanOne Second
1996    3       0               3               2
1996-97 10      2               8               4
1998    11      0               11              4
1999    10      1               9               5
2000    9       1               8               2
2001    13      1               12              2
2002    4       1               3               2
Totals  60      6 (10%)         54 (90%)        21 (35%)

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Robby McGehee , Greg Ray , Felipe Giaffone , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Jim Guthrie , Scott Goodyear , Kenny Brack , Sam Schmidt , Davy Jones , Vincenzo Sospiri , Sam Hornish Jr. , Jaques Lazier