IRL: Texas II: Chevy bowtie bullet points

* Texas Shootout Sunday's Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway promises to be another Texas-style shootout as five drivers vie for the 2003 IRL championship and the $1 million prize that accompanies it. Chevy's Sam Hornish Jr. is the hottest ...

* Texas Shootout

Sunday's Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway promises to be another Texas-style shootout as five drivers vie for the 2003 IRL championship and the $1 million prize that accompanies it. Chevy's Sam Hornish Jr. is the hottest driver on the IRL circuit, having scored three victories and two runner-up finishes since he debuted the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 on July 27 at Michigan International Speedway. Hornish and the Pennzoil Panther Racing team have climbed from eighth to fourth in the championship standings, and come into the season finale just 19 points behind the leaders.

* Manufacturer Race

Chevy can overtake Honda for second place in the IRL Engine Manufacturer's Championship with a victory in the Chevy 500. Chevy trails Honda 99 to 96 in the standings coming into the season finale. If a Chevrolet driver wins and a Honda driver finishes second, the two manufacturers will be tied with 106 points. Chevy would claim the second spot on the tiebreaker with four victories to Honda's two wins.

Since the Gen IV Chevy Indy was approved for use by all Chevrolet teams at Kentucky Speedway in August, Chevrolet has scored 37 points in the Manufacturer's Championship to 31 for Toyota and 20 for Honda.

* May the Fours Be with You

Students of numerology may find significance in Hornish's links to the number 4: Hornish drives the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara, powered by the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8. Currently fourth in the point standings, this race will be Hornish's 44th start in the No. 4 Chevrolet Dallara. Panther Racing has won four IRL races at Texas Motor Speedway, and a win on Sunday would be the team's fourth straight victory in the fall event at Texas.

* The View from the Top

"Texas Motor Speedway is a track that rewards horsepower, and the record shows that the Chevy Indy V8 has been performing very well in that department," said Joe Negri, GM Racing IRL program manager. "Chevy engines again had a perfect reliability record in the 400-mile race in Fontana, and we hope to finish the season with another strong performance. We have been working hard on improving power, reliability and fuel economy for every event, and the Chevy 500 is no exception. If this race follows the pattern of previous IRL races at Texas Motor Speedway, it will come down to which driver and team does the best job in the final laps."

* Bank Shot

Texas Motor Speedway is one of six 1.5-mile ovals on the IRL schedule, but each of these tracks has its own personality. According to GM Racing chassis and aerodynamics specialist Kevin Bayless, TMS's towering 24-degree banked turns - the steepest on the IRL circuit - require a special setup for maximum speed.

"You must minimize drag to run fast at Texas Motor Speedway," Bayless explained. "The banking allows the chassis to have less downforce and consequently less drag. The Texas track is smooth and wide, so teams can focus on making the car as aerodynamically efficient as possible.

"The IRL mandates a minimum 10-degree rear wing angle, a 1-inch wicker (spoiler) on the rear of the wing and 1/2-inch wickers on the end plates at Texas," Bayless noted. "All of the teams with Chevy engines use Dallara chassis, and I anticipate they will have around 2,000 pounds of downforce for qualifying and approximately 2,100 pounds of downforce for the race - depending on the weather and track conditions."

* Race, Ride and Win

Chevy will host 50 finalists in the Chevrolet-sponsored "Race, Ride and Win" contest at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday. One lucky finalist will have a chance to win the grand prize: a 2003 Chevrolet Corvette. Race fans were given the opportunity to participate in the contest by visiting participating Chevrolet dealers across Texas (Abilene, Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock, McAllen, Tyler and Wichita Falls) and Oklahoma (Oklahoma City and Tulsa) to obtain a game card. The contest gave fans the chance to win one of over 8,000 prizes, including 2004 season passes to Texas Motor Speedway, tickets to the Chevy 500 IndyCar Series and Silverado 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck races, and Chevy racing gear.

* Racing Around

If Chevrolet finishes ahead of Ford in Saturday night's UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Chevrolet will clinch its 23rd Manufacturer's Championship in NASCAR's "modern era" (since 1972). Chevy leads the NASCAR Manufacturer's Championship with 213 points and 14 victories.

Corvette C5-R racers Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell clinched the drivers' championship in the GTS class at the American Le Mans Series street race in downtown Miami.

Chevrolet is the only manufacturer currently competing in the IRL, NASCAR Winston Cup, NHRA and American Le Mans Series.

* About GM

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, employs 342,000 people globally in its core automotive business and subsidiaries. Founded in 1908, GM has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in more than 190 countries. In 2002, GM sold more than 8.6 million cars and trucks, nearly 15 percent of the global vehicle market. GM's global headquarters is at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM and its products can be found on the company's consumer website at www.gm.com.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell
Teams Panther Racing