Nazareth, PA (August 22, 2003) ---Today was the opening day of practice for the Firestone Indy 225 at the Nazareth Speedway. In a deviation from recent events this weekends calendar consists of three days; practice day, qualifying day and race...
Nazareth, PA (August 22, 2003) ---Today was the opening day of practice for the Firestone Indy 225 at the Nazareth Speedway. In a deviation from recent events this weekends calendar consists of three days; practice day, qualifying day and race day, rather than two days. The Kelley Racing team, who were able to spend the day working on new and alternate set-ups at the 1-mile oval, welcomed the changed format. Tomorrow, the team will return to the track to run a final practice in preparation for the afternoon qualifying session. The green flag for the Firestone Indy 225 will fall Sunday at 3:00 p.m. and be shown live on ESPN.
Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"We're learning a lot today about the Corteco car. We didn't test here so we're throwing a lot of big changes at the car. We're making it better but we've got a long way to go to keep up with the pace the quick boys have set out there today. We'll just keep working hard at it and I'm just thankful that we've had today's practice to get things figured out. So that is helping us."
Friday Combined Practice
Speed: 159.640 mph
Time: 21.0850 seconds
* 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
"Interesting day for the Delphi team. We've spent today trying some things that worked, and some that didn't work but that is what a practice day is for so I'm glad we had today. We're learning stuff and hopefully we can put all of our heads together and learn some things that will work for us tomorrow. Al (Unser Jr.) is doing the same thing so hopefully we'll all get it going in the right direction. This year is a lot different for us at this track for one the temperature is about 40 degrees hotter and that is definitely making the car handle much differently than in the spring. But it's always good to come back to a track where we've won in the past so I'm sure we'll get things worked out."
Friday Combined Practice
Speed: 160.589 mph
Time: 20.9603 seconds
*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.