IRL: St. Pete: Scott Sharp preview

Sharp Eager to Build on Results at Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg The IndyCar Series heads to the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., this weekend for the second round of competition on the 2006 calendar -- the Honda Grand Prix of St....

Sharp Eager to Build on Results at Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

The IndyCar Series heads to the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., this weekend for the second round of competition on the 2006 calendar -- the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Prior to last season, it had been 10 years since Scott Sharp had turned an open-wheel lap on a road/street course circuit, but the former Trans-Am and SCCA National champion quickly returned to form. Sharp overcame a last row starting position due to a qualifying penalty to move up to sixth place at St. Petersburg last year before becoming the victim of an on-track incident which ended his race early.

He returns to the challenging 14-turn, 1.8-mile circuit looking to pick up where he left off last April. Sharp has been strong in pre-season road course testing held at Homestead-Miami Speedway, logging the fourth-quickest time overall in a series' Open Test the beginning of March.

Last Sunday, Sharp opened the season with a seventh-place finish on the Homestead oval aboard the #8 Delphi Dallara/Honda/Firestone. He will switch to the Panoz chassis for this weekend's event.

Scott Sharp -- St. Petersburg Statistics:

* Will be making his second IndyCar Series career start at St. Petersburg

* Started 20th last year after incurring a penalty during qualifying, forfeiting his qualifying attempt

* Finished 18th after being knocked out of the race by another car while running in sixth position

* Currently sits seventh in the point standings

* Will be competing in the team's Panoz/Honda/Firestone combination this weekend

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

"Everyone on the Delphi Fernandez Racing team is excited to go back to St. Petersburg. It was such a great event last year. The track layout is very challenging, and it's exciting to try to put a great lap together. Certainly I think we would have been destined for a pretty decent finish last year, but I had contact issues with another driver. I think we, as a team, and certainly me on my own have progressed a lot from that point on the road courses. I feel we are going to be much more of a contender and run much stronger. It is a track I have been thinking a lot about. I am excited to go back and I'm hopeful for a great weekend there."

SCOTT SHARP FAST FACTS: Will be making his 117 th IndyCar Series career start this weekend ... is in his 11th season of competition, and is the only driver to have contested 10 full seasons since the inception of the IRL... career record includes nine wins, five pole positions and 33 top-five finishes... finished fifth in the 2005 IndyCar Series championship... was the 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion... is a former two-time SCCA Trans-Am Champion and three-time SCCA National Champion... 38 years old from Norwalk, Connecticut... currently resides in Jupiter, Florida.

-dfr

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp