Nazareth, PA (August 23,2003)---Qualifying is now complete for tomorrow's Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway. Today's qualifying became a chess game as numerous teams pulled their cars out of qualifying order anticipating drastic...
Nazareth, PA (August 23,2003)---Qualifying is now complete for tomorrow's Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway. Today's qualifying became a chess game as numerous teams pulled their cars out of qualifying order anticipating drastic improvements in track conditions as the qualifying session progressed. Kelley Racing opted to send their drivers Al Unser Jr. and Scott Sharp out in their drawn positions of 11th and 14th respectively. Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, posted a qualifying effort of 13th overall with a speed of 165.393 mph and Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry, posted speed of 164.509 mph good for 16th overall. Scott Dixon captured the pole today with a speed of 171.182 mph, Helio Castroneves was second with a speed of 170.849 mph and Tony Kanaan was third with a speed of 170.259 mph. The green flag for tomorrow's Firestone Indy 225 will drop at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"The guys really worked hard on the car last night. We came out this morning and ran almost a full second quicker than we did yesterday. But so did everyone else so we still ended up qualifying out of the top-ten. Tomorrow is going to be a long day. We've got the crew and we've got the car to go out there and win but the key to tomorrow's race is patience. You can come up on somebody who is slower than you and not be able to pass them so the whole key here is patience and to let your guys do the passing in the pits."
Speed: 165.393 mph
Time: 20.3515 seconds
Al Unser Jr., No. 31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone--Fast Facts and Quote
* This will be Unser Jr.'s 321st career start and his 48th IRL start.
* Unser Jr. is currently sixth in the IndyCar Series points standings with 291 points.
* Nazareth Record--In 2002 Unser Jr. started 21st and finished 12th. Unser Jr. has 13 previous starts at Nazareth as a Champ Car driver. Of those starts he has five top-five finishes and seven top-ten finishes.
* 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
"We made some good changes overnight and I was really pleased with the Delphi car in this mornings practice. We had a lot of ground to make up yesterday and we learned a lot. I don't know what happened in qualifying. We were faster in practice and I expected to be a bit faster than that in qualifying. We lost a few tenths somewhere and to be honest, I don't know where. I went through the corners faster in qualifying than I did in practice yet our overall lap time was slower. We'll have to figure that one out. This track is tough to pass on because it's basically a one-groove track. You pretty much have to ride and hope you have good pit stops and good pit strategy to get a win here at Nazareth."
Speed: 164.509 mph
Time: 20.4609 seconds
Scott Sharp, No. 8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone---Fast Facts and Quote
* This will be Sharp's 79th career start, his 71st consecutive IndyCar start--an IRL record-- and his sixth season with Kelley Racing.
* Nazareth Record--In 2002, Sharp scored a victory at the inaugural event after starting 11th.
* Sharp is currently in ninth place in the IndyCar Series with 262 points.
* Sharp's victory in April at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan was his eighth career victory.