IRL: Richmond: Scott Sharp preview

Sharp Looking to Shine in Second Night Race The IndyCar Series heads to the second of three night races on the 2005 schedule this weekend with the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway. Scott Sharp will be preparing for his...

Sharp Looking to Shine in Second Night Race

The IndyCar Series heads to the second of three night races on the 2005 schedule this weekend with the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway. Scott Sharp will be preparing for his fifth start on the fast .75-mile oval, the shortest circuit on the 17-race tour. He comes to Virginia's capital city on the heels of three consecutive top-seven finishes. Adding to his confidence is a strong run from 16th to a fourth-place finish at Texas just over a week ago. Sharp, who sits two points shy of fourth place in the championship standings, is embroiled in a tight points battle and will be looking to leave Richmond's bullring with maximum points after Saturday night's 250-lap sprint to the checkered flag.

* Will be making his fifth IndyCar Series career start at Richmond

* Recorded best result at Richmond in 2001, finishing fifth

* Claimed best starting position of sixth at Richmond in 2002

* Qualified 17th and finished ninth at Richmond last year

* Currently sits sixth in the championship standings, only two points out of fourth

* Posted three top-five results to date this season with a best finish of second in Japan

* Best qualifying effort to date this season was third at Japan and Indianapolis

* Will be preparing for his 105th IndyCar Series start and record 97th consecutive start

Scott Sharp, #8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone:

"I think I speak for all the IRL drivers when I say how excited we are to come to the Richmond three-quarter-mile track. Every year, it amazes us that we can just about run that track wide open. Every lap is exciting there as it blurs by in 15 or 16 seconds, but nothing is as exciting as the race itself. It is non-stop action, side-by-side. I am excited to go there with the Delphi Fernandez team and have a really strong chance to win the race.

"A real challenge for all the drivers and teams is the change in conditions. As the day goes into night during the race, you have to stay on top of your car to really make appropriate changes so that your car is strong for the finish. Invariably there is a late caution with 10 or 20 [laps] to go, and it is always a complete sprint race from there."

SCOTT SHARP FAST FACTS: Enters his 10th season of IndyCar Series competition-- is the series' most experienced driver with 104 career starts and a record 96 consecutive starts-- ranked second in IndyCar Series career wins-- career record includes eight wins, five pole positions and 30 top-five finishes-- was the 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion and the 2001 Indianapolis 500 MBNA Pole winner-- is a former two-time SCCA Trans-Am Champion and three-time SCCA National Champion-- 37 years old from Norwalk, Connecticut-- currently resides in Jupiter, Florida.

-dfr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp