FORT WORTH, Texas, Friday, June 8, 2001 - Just 13 days after spinning out of the Indianapolis 500 while leading on the first lap, Scott Sharp found the best way to forget that disappointing day. Winning. Sharp, from Carmel, Ind., won the...
FORT WORTH, Texas, Friday, June 8, 2001 - Just 13 days after spinning out of the Indianapolis 500 while leading on the first lap, Scott Sharp found the best way to forget that disappointing day.
Sharp, from Carmel, Ind., won the Casino Magic 500 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway in the No. 8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. It was his sixth career Indy Racing League victory, a record, and his second consecutive victory in this race. "Everybody's been so supportive after what happened in Turn 1 at Indianapolis," Sharp said. "I couldn't ask for a better group to be a part of. I just kept my faith in the man upstairs. "I didn't quite know why that had to happen at Indy, but I kept my trust in him, and he delivered to me today."
Sam Hornish Jr. finished second in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone to keep the Indy Racing Northern Light Series points lead. Rookie Felipe Giaffone finished third in the No. 21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone and has finished in the top 10 in all five races this season.
"We just stayed patient all night," Hornish said. "I was along for the ride. I wasn't fast enough to really be in it (the side-by-side battle). We're real happy, and we'll move on to the next race at Pikes Peak. Championship teams are made from being out there and staying patient."
Sharp won under caution as a three-way battle for the win between Greg Ray, Sharp and Eddie Cheever Jr. ended when Ray and Cheever were involved in a crash on Lap 196 of the 200-lap race.
Ray led on Lap 196, with Sharp second and Cheever third, when the crash occurred. Ray passed the lapped car of Robby McGehee, but the rear of his No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone clipped the front of McGehee's No. 10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone when Ray attempted to return to the racing line. Both cars headed toward the outside retaining wall, with McGehee's car collecting the onrushing #51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone
Sharp squirted through the chaos and cruised to the victory behind the Oldsmobile Pace Car in an ironic finish to a thrilling race. 1996 Indy Racing co-champion Sharp, 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Cheever and 1999 Indy Racing champion Ray dueled for the lead side by side at 215 mph for the last 39 laps of the race. Ray and Sharp swapped the lead six times in the last 37 laps. Cheever, meanwhile, had put himself into position to win after rallying from a lap down after making an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 101.
Sharp took the lead from Ray on Lap 171. But Ray rallied and regained the top spot on Lap 190, just two laps after a restart. Ray kept the lead - under intense pressure from Sharp and Cheever - until the accident on Lap 196. Ray led 86 laps overall during the race.
"I thought I'd thrown it all away," Sharp said. "Great move by Greg. I got busy looking in my mirrors watching Eddie.
"Then all of a sudden, I saw this blue dart (Ray) swoop underneath me. I just didn't have enough room to run him down. He had the inside line. I thought, 'Oh, man, it's over with.'
"The next thing I know, Greg tried to get underneath - which I probably would have done, you want to get underneath guys - a slower car coming off Turn 2, but that guy was already committed. Greg got in there, and I dodged it all."
McGehee suffered a fractured left lower leg and a concussion and was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. He was awake and alert. Cheever and Ray were unhurt.
There were six caution periods, with one other accident besides the incident that forced the final caution period. Jeret Schroeder and Davey Hamilton collided on Lap 73, with both hitting the outside retaining wall.
Hamilton suffered fractures to his lower extremities and was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Schroeder was unhurt.
The next Indy Racing Northern Light Series event is the Radisson Indy 200 on June 17 at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo.