Emerson Indy 250 Day 3 Notebook
Castroneves wins from MBNA Pole; Kelley crew member in fair condition
MADISON, Ill., Sunday, Aug. 10, 2003 -- Helio Castroneves won the Emerson Indy 250 Aug. 10 after starting on the MBNA Pole at Gateway International Raceway.
Castroneves won by .8466 of a second over second-place finisher Tony Kanaan.
Mike Shannon, longtime 'Voice of the St. Louis Cardinals,' served as grand marshal for the Emerson Indy 250. Wayne Haggin, the color commentator for the Cardinals, served as honorary starter.
Shannon gave the command, "Sarah (Fisher), start your engine. Gentlemen, do the same and see if you can catch her."
While the race was under caution and the field made the first round of pit stops on Lap 40, Bryan Herta and Buddy Lazier made contact as they were exiting their pit boxes. Herta's car was forced into the pit box of Al Unser Jr. Unser's crew was working on his car when Herta's car made contact with Unser's car.
Anton Julian, from Auckland, New Zealand and the left-rear tire changer for the No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, was transferred by air to St. Louis University Hospital. According to SLU Hospital officials, preliminary x-rays were negative. He is in fair condition and will be admitted overnight. Further updates will be made when they become available.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Co-owner, Andretti Green Racing): "Bryan (Herta) was coming down pit lane, and he made contact with someone, and he had nowhere to go. He went into another team's pit box, and he's very shaken up by everything right now. It's a bad deal. The accident was nobody's fault. It's just something that happens."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "As far as my race, it was going well. We were moving up, the Corteco/Bryant Special was running good. We came in for our stop, and our guys did a great job. I was preparing to leave, and then I got rear-ended. One of my crew members, Anton Julian, was injured. That was the end of my day. The car that hit me I believe was Bryan Herta, and it damaged my suspension bad enough that I couldn't return to the race. Right now, my thoughts are with Anton, and we're looking forward to a good report from the hospital on his condition."
GATEWAY INDY 250 POST-RACE NOTES:
*Helio Castroneves scored his fourth career IRL IndyCar Series victory. His other victories came at Indianapolis (2001, 2002) and Phoenix (2002).
*Between winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2002 and winning the Emerson Indy 250, Helio Castroneves had started 20 races without a victory.
*Castroneves won the Emerson Indy 250 from the MBNA Pole. He also won from the MBNA Pole at Phoenix in 2002. His teammate, Gil de Ferran, won from the MBNA Pole at Gateway last year.
*Scott Sharp started his 69th consecutive race today, tying the record held by Eddie Cheever Jr. and Buddy Lazier. Sharp has started every IRL IndyCar Series event since Walt Disney World in 1998.
*Helio Castroneves won the Emerson Indy 250 using a Toyota engine. The victory is the ninth win for Toyota in 2003 and the eighth in the last nine IndyCar Series events.
GATEWAY INDY 250 POST-RACE QUOTES:
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): (About driving without the dashboard working): "It's like flying an airplane without any instruments, just by radios. The team did a phenomenal job."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The car was pretty good. We struggled a little bit all weekend with the setup. It seemed like we had a good balance in the race. It seemed like it wasn't quite as quick as the leaders, but I could certainly run with them. It's a great finish for the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car. We've had some bad luck, but whenever we finish, we seem to finish in the top five. If we keep that up and be around the top five the rest of the season, I think we can get a result the other guys got today."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "It was an up-and-down race. I made a mistake coming into the pits. I couldn't get in my box, and they had to pull me back. I went to the back. I had to fight through it, but we had some good restarts. I had a good car, but fourth is really where the Target car doesn't belong. It belongs up front. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it, but I brought home some points."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's really fun to be out there when the car is handling good. We gained some positions early on. We are running the Gen III (Chevy Indy V-8) engine, and all we wanted was to get in the top five."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was a good run for us. I gave everything I had, but it wasn't enough for Helio (Castroneves). But hey, the championship lead is back on us. Let's keep working on it. That's what we're here for. We're fighting for the championship. I gave 100 percent to win, but I couldn't do it, so I'll take second."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "It's so hard to have a race like this end the way it did. We had a dominant race car out there. After the last pit stop, I was just saving fuel and waiting for the end to really push it. We had a comfortable lead, and then the gearbox went. The guys tried to change it in the pits, but it was damaged too badly. This really hurts us in the championship race. We had an opportunity to extend our lead, and now we're going to fall a few spots. Luckily, we have Kentucky coming up this week, and hopefully, we can get back on track."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We didn't get the result today that we were looking for. Chevy gave us a great engine to work with all weekend, and we were very impressed with its performance. It proved to us to be a reliable engine that has the capacity to be very competitive. Unfortunately for the Red Bull Cheever Racing Team, it was a disappointing day. We didn't get the car set up like we wanted to, and it showed in our performance. We really struggled to make changes during the race and couldn't get things right. We hope that next weekend in Kentucky will prove to be a better race for us and give us the chance to show what the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 can do."
GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Traffic is always an issue on a short oval, but I like it because it's something you have to learn how to deal with. It was a good result for us. We're right in the (championship) hunt. Really, the top four guys in the points are right on top of each other. Somehow, I don't think it's going to get resolved until the end of the year."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Seventh place today is a pretty good result for our first time running the Dallara. The new Pioneer car felt good to me (ever) since we ran it here in the test right after the Michigan race. It's still very early, and we have a lot to learn, but we all seem to be learning very quickly. The car wasn't handling as well as we would have liked in the beginning of the race. We made some adjustments on the first two pit stops, and the car was great for the second half of the race. We were running lap times consistent with the leaders, so it was a good job by the engineers and the crew. This is a good starting point. I think we will come back with the Dallara next week at Kentucky."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I started out with the handling not being very good. Then we had a gearbox problem, and then, to top it off, the motor went. It was a very frustrating day."
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I don't know what happened with the engine. I think it was electrical because the engine just stopped pulling off the corner. It was like we were running on six or seven cylinders. The crew changed a lot of the things, but I think the damage was already done. We jumped out to the lead early, but the car wasn't too good. It was pushing in the corners. We improved the car on the first pit stop, and it felt better. We picked up some grip, and I think we were gaining on the leaders but then the engine trouble. It's too bad because we had a good qualifying run, and the weekend was looking good until then. This DNF will hurt us in the points. We'll have to regroup and be ready for Kentucky. We had a good test there, too."
ALEX BARRON (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Something let go pretty quick in the back. It felt like a shaft or something. It's unfortunate. We had a really good car." (About pit-lane incident on lap 40): "The guys were getting real aggressive on the way in. (Bryan) Herta and a couple of other guys got together. I just slowed up, and it looked like Roger (Yasukawa) didn't brake and just ran right into the back of me. Things got shaken up pretty quick there in the pit stops."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic/ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The car was running good. I think we were on for a top-10 finish. I thought I saw an opportunity to pass Greg Ray. Unfortunately, when I got into dirty air, my car went loose on me, and I spun and hit the wall. It's an unfortunate day for the Panasonic/ARTA car, but we have a lot more races to go, and hopefully, I'll keep finishing in the top 10."
The next IRL IndyCar Series event is the Belterra Casino Indy 300 Aug. 17 at Kentucky Speedway. The next Infiniti Pro Series event is the Kentucky 100 Aug. 16 at Kentucky.