Sparta, KY (August 16,2003)----Al Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, led the charge for Kelley Racing today in qualifying at the 1.5-mile oval at Kentucky Speedway. Unser Jr. put forth an effort of 217.940 mph, which was good for the...
Sparta, KY (August 16,2003)----Al Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, led the charge for Kelley Racing today in qualifying at the 1.5-mile oval at Kentucky Speedway. Unser Jr. put forth an effort of 217.940 mph, which was good for the eighth on tomorrow's grid. Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry, didn't fare as well. The Delphi team had some changes to the car that had it handling better but other issues kept them from posting a faster time. Sharp will line up 18th for tomorrow's Belterra Casino Indy 300. Sam Hornish Jr. captured the pole for tomorrow's race with a speed of 219.614 mph, while Scott Dixon was second at 219.358 mph and Helio Castroneves rounded out the top three at 219.358 mph. The green flag for tomorrow's 200 lap event will fall at 2:00 p.m. CT and shown be live on ABC.
Anton Julian, left rear tire changer for Al Unser Jr. who was injured in a pit incident last Sunday at Gateway International Raceway, underwent surgery to repair his injured right knee yesterday at Methodist Hospital. Julian is expected to be released from Methodist tomorrow.
Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"That run was okay. We've been trying to get the Corteco Bryant special running through the corners a little better. We had some problems this morning getting through the corners but right at the end of the session we did help it quite a bit, just not enough. We have come quite a long way since this morning. All in all, I think we have a pretty good race car. It's going to be a big drafting game tomorrow so if we can be running with the lead pack at the end of the race, I think that will do the job."
Al Unser Jr. Fast Facts
This will be Unser Jr.'s 320th career start and his 47th IRL start.
Unser Jr. is currently sixth in the IndyCar Series points standings with 259 points.
In 2002 Unser Jr. started 14th and finished sixth. In 2001, he started ninth and finished fourth while in 2000 he started 14th and finished 27th after an accident on lap 2.
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
"Well today we spent the day trying some things that worked and some things that didn't work. We've missed it a little bit today and I'm not quite sure what happened. We made a few changes for qualifying and we were able to run it wide open but we had missed the gearing. I downshifted to fourth on the last lap and that brought us from the 214's to the 215's but it wasn't enough. It was frustrating. I can only hope for the best tomorrow."
Scott Sharp Fast Facts
This will be Sharp's 78th career start, his 70th consecutive IndyCar start and his sixth season with Kelley Racing.
In 2002, Sharp started 21st and finished fourth. In 2001, he started from the pole and led 105 laps en-route to a second place finish while in 2000, he started 18th and finished 24th due to an engine problem on lap 16.
Sharp is currently in ninth place in the IndyCar Series with 245 points.
Sharp's victory in April at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan was his eighth career victory.