Toyota Indy 300 to kick off IRL season: February 28 - March 2, 2003
MIAMI, FL (December 15, 2002) - Toyota will be the official title sponsor for the Indy Car season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the next three years, announced today by Curtis Gray, President of the Speedway, Les Unger, National Motorsports Manager of Toyota Motor Sales USA, and Ken Czubay, Executive Vice-President, General Manager of Southeast Toyota.
Now known as the Toyota Indy 300, this season's event will be held Friday, February 28 through Sunday, March 2, 2003 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"We're excited to be partnering with an outstanding company such as Toyota for the next three years," said Gray. "The Toyota Indy 300 will kick off the 2003 season of the Indy Racing League, the premier open wheel series in the country. With many of the biggest names in all of motorsports reaching speeds of over 200 miles per hour at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the action on the track will be incredible at the Toyota Indy 300."
Toyota, in addition to sponsoring the season-opener for the Indy Racing League, also acquires Official Car and Truck status for the Toyota Indy 300.
"Sponsoring an event like the IRL season-opening Toyota Indy 300 is a great way for us to begin our overall involvement in the Indy Racing League," Unger said. "This provides our South Florida Toyota dealers a terrific platform to market our products in an area where we have sponsored race events in the past."
Southeast Toyota and all its dealers will also have an active role in promoting the Toyota Indy 300 in the South Florida area.
"We're very excited that our South Florida Toyota Dealers have the opportunity to showcase their entire line of Toyota vehicles at this world-class event," said Czubay. "There isn't a better place to kick off the Toyota/IRL relationship than right here in our back yard."
The Toyota Indy 300, to be nationally televised on ABC at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, will feature the same cars and drivers that compete annually at the Indianapolis 500. Two-time
Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske; Michael Andretti, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan of Andretti-Green Racing; defending Indy Racing League Champion Sam Hornish Jr.; and IRL veteran Al Unser Jr. highlight the drivers who will compete in the Toyota Indy 300. The Indy Racing League is coming off one of the most exciting seasons in its history as four of the series' five closest all-time finishes came in 2002 with the total margin of victory in those four closest finishes being five-hundredths of a second.
In 2003, fans should expect even further excitement as Toyota begins its participation as an engine supplier in the IRL. Among the Toyota-powered teams will be two-time defending Indianapolis 500 champions Marlboro Team Penske, as well as 2002 race winners Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Kelly Racing and Mo Nunn Racing. The manufacturer will also be the title sponsor of the Toyota Indy 400 in September at California Speedway in Fontana, California.
Along with the Toyota Indy 300, race fans will have the opportunity to see two additional races during the Toyota Indy 300 weekend. On Saturday, March 1, the Nextel Grand Prix of Miami featuring the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series will run on the Speedway's 2.21-mile road course. Then on Sunday, March 2 prior to the running of the Toyota Indy 300, the up and coming Infiniti Pro Series will hold its 2003 season-opener.
Tickets to the Toyota Indy 300 weekend are available to the public by calling the Homestead-Miami Speedway ticket office at (305) 230-RACE or logging on homesteadmiamispeedway.com.
TOYOTA INDY 300 - Friday, February 28 - Sunday, March 2:
Friday, February 28 - Indy Racing Practice
Rolex Sports Car Series Qualifying
Infiniti Pro Series Practice
Saturday, March 1 - Indy Racing Qualifying;
Nextel Grand Prix of Miami - Rolex Sports Car Series
Infiniti Pro Series Qualifying
Sunday, March 2 - Infiniti Pro Series Season-Opener
Toyota Indy 300 - Indy Racing Season-Opener; 1 pm; ABC
Schedule Subject to Change; Times to be released at later date