IRL: Toyota powers top three at Indy 500 opening day

IRL: Toyota powers top three at Indy 500 opening day

INDIANAPOLIS (May 4, 2003) -- Scott Sharp set the fastest lap of the day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway averaging 228.764 mph around the 2.5-mile track in a Toyota-powered Dallara. Tora Takagi. Photo by indyracing.com/Ron ...

INDIANAPOLIS (May 4, 2003) -- Scott Sharp set the fastest lap of the day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway averaging 228.764 mph around the 2.5-mile track in a Toyota-powered Dallara.

Tora Takagi.
Photo by indyracing.com/Ron McQueeney.
In their first day at the 94-year-old speedway, the Japanese manufacturer captured the top three spots on the speed chart with Helio Castroneves second and rookie driver Tora Takagi third.

"I can not complain about being third fastest at Indy," said Takagi. "I know the guys ahead of me had some help on their fast laps. I ran my fast lap almost all on my own. And when I was running alone, I was running very consistent."

In addition to the top three spots, drivers with Toyota-powered cars took seven of the top ten positions. Drivers from all five Toyota teams, Kelley, Penske, Mo Nunn, Foyt and Ganassi were represented in the top ten.

Sharp started the day in his backup car, setting his fastest lap after turning just nine laps. He then went to his primary and recorded another 13 laps before calling it a day. Sharp's teammate, Al Unser Jr. said they were trying to check each car and "make sure everything was working OK."

Mo Nunn Racing had all three of their drivers in the top ten. Takagi was third with Felipe Giaffone and Arie Luyendyk seventh and eighth, respectively.

Giaffone credited his fast car to the work of his teammates, who had performed the team's testing duties. "I didn't come here with Tora and Arie a couple of weeks ago. But the team learned a lot from that test and that helped me a lot today."

Ganassi Racing's Tomas Scheckter was sixth in his Toyota-powered Panoz G Force with a lap at 227.210 mph. Shigeaki Hattori put A. J. Foyt Racing's Toyota- powered Dallara in the top ten with a speed of 226.051.

Honda powered two drivers to the top ten, both from Andretti Green Racing. Dan Wheldon was fifth fastest while his team co-owner Michael Andretti was 0.0442 seconds slower in sixth. Sam Hornish managed to record a lap at 225.949 mph, to record the tenth fastest lap for Chevrolet.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Shigeaki Hattori , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Tora Takagi , Mo Nunn , Sam Hornis
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing