Friday driver quotes

Kurt Busch - "I put a lot of emphasis on Chicago to get points, which I think will pay off; by finishing third there, I think I'm in the best position for the championship.  Obviously, when you go to Indy, you've got to keep an eye on Mark...

Kurt Busch - "I put a lot of emphasis on Chicago to get points, which I think will pay off; by finishing third there, I think I'm in the best position for the championship.  Obviously, when you go to Indy, you've got to keep an eye on Mark Martin, and my plan all year has been to associate with Mark on the racetrack and run there, so that's my priority...while keeping a watchful eye in Bliss."

Mike Bliss - "Coming into this, I was just really excited just about getting an invite to run IROC, I never even thought about winning a race, or for that matter, the championship and now, here I am.  I'm just kicking myself in the pants for doing stupid things at Daytona (finishing ninth) because a better finish there would have put me a lot closer to the championship coming into Indy. Being this close can be a lot of pressure, but you've just got to have fun and go run the wheels off it.  Mark (Martin) and Kurt (Busch) are going to be tough, but you know, actually, I couldn't put my finger on any one driver in this series and say 'he's the guy to beat,' because they're all very good, but the key is going to be getting a good start, working up through the field and getting out front in the clean air." 

"I feel fortunate to be in this position in only my first season.  I've been dealt good cards, and if I can carry this thing off, it'll be an honor to have won that trophy."

Mark Martin- "I'm looking forward to the IROC race at the brickyard. We have had success there in the past IROC races and hopefully we can keep that going. Starting towards the back means all we have to do is go forward and try to move to the front. Hopefully, we can lead the most laps, earn the bonus points and win the race. However, I'm pretty sure that's Kurt Busch and Mike Bliss' plan as well. We'll just have to play it all out and see what happens."

Ryan Newman - "I was the closest I've been to actually winning an IROC race at Chicago, I've enjoyed all the IROC races this year, but Chicago was the best race I've run. I'm just really excited that I had the opportunity to compete in these four races and hope my Winston Cup career goes well enough that I'm given this chance again."

"Indy is where I got my first chance at driving an IROC car.  I did a bit of testing for Jay (Signore) a couple of years ago and I was hooked.  Everyone wants to win any type of race they can at Indy.  The history alone is what makes it special.  I don't have many laps around Indy, but I grew up only a few hours from there and it would be a big feather in my cap to win a race close to where I grew up.  I may not ever get invited back to race IROC, so I'm thinking that Saturday may be my last chance at winning and I'm going to do everything - and I mean everything I can to kick some butt and win that race."

Greg Biffle- "I've really enjoyed running in the IROC Series this year and it's been great competing against the champions and top drivers of the different series'.  I've had some solid runs this season but I'd really like to win one before it's all said and done.  Indy is my last shot this year and an IROC win at one of the most famous tracks in racing would definitely be a highlight of my career.  I appreciate being given the opportunity to compete in the series and I hope to get more invitations in the future."

Sam Hornish - "This will be the last race of the year for the True Value IROC series," Hornish said. "Hopefully I'll run good and improve my points position a little bit."

Danny Lasoski- "Last year when I came here injured to watch the race I was here in body, but I can't say that I remember much. But, this year I get to live out my life-long dream of coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and participating. I'm double proud to be doing it as a competitor in the IROC Series, which I want to continue to compete in year after year, I just love this series. I grew up in the Midwest and it's all about being a part of this great heritage and all the history."

Steve Kinser - "Anytime I get an opportunity to come up to the Speedway and run is special, especially being this close to home. I did it in 1997 in the Indy 500 and the IROC race will be my first time here in a stock car. It's kind of neat to think that you've been in both Indy car and stock cars at the Brickyard. It's a very special place for any kind of a driver. To me, Indianapolis is the greatest racing circuit there is, but for me in a stock car, these flat track races take a whole lot of work. I have to get used to the on and off the gas and braking. It's quite a challenge to get up to speed in only a few days, but we'll just have to see how it all turns out on race day."

Scott Sharp - (Substituting for the injured Felipe Giaffone) -  "I'm excited to be back at the Brickyard and representing the IndyCar(TM) Series in IROC. This is my favorite track and I'm glad to help out Felipe. I hope to do well for him, but I do wish I was starting on the inside pole instead of the outside pole, but I'll do the best I can. The IROC races are a lot of fun and I'm sure I'll have a good time."

Helio Castroneves -"I just hope I finish better than what my previous IROC finishes have been." Castroneves said. "IROC is a series that I've really fallen in love with. It's very different from what I'm used to, but I enjoy it so much with the friends and the people involved with the series.

"Obviously, I want to win, it's just such close competition. Indy is a difficult place to pass, but for those NASCAR guys, it's never impossible to pass, especially if you have fenders and those bumpers in front and behind. Last year, I finished second in the IROC event, so it looks like I know my way around the track."

True Value IROC Notes Race Facts · The August 2, 2003 True Value IROC at Indy will be the sixth consecutive year the series has been hosted by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

· IndyCar Series driver, Scott Sharp will substitute drive for fellow IndyCar Series driver, Felipe Giaffone who was injured in a racing accident on July 5th at Kansas Speedway. Sharp placed ninth for Giaffone at Chicagoland Speedway in race three. Championship Notes

· Thee drivers have a chance at the 2003 True Value IROC Series championship, NASCAR Winston Cup driver, Kurt Busch, NASCAR Craftsman Truck champion, Mike Bliss and NASCAR Winston Cup driver Mark Martin.

· A fifth series championship would break the four-time championship tie Mark Martin currently holds with the late Dale Earnhardt.

· The last rookie to win the championship was Kevin Harvick in 2002. Harvick became the 6th rookie champion in IROC history:

Rookie Champions: (1) 1974 Mark Donohue, (2) 1985 Harry Gant, (3) 1986 Al Unser Jr., (4) 1987 Geoff Bodine, (5) 1992 Ricky Rudd, (6) 2002 Kevin Harvick.

There are six rookie drivers competing in this year's True Value IROC Series. The current point standing of each rookie driver is:
Kurt Busch - 57
Mike Bliss - 49
Ryan Newman - 34
Greg Biffle - 33
Jimmie Johnson - 30
Felipe Giaffone - 15

· Bliss could become the first True Value IROC champion representing the NASCAR Truck Series.

Race Win Notes

· A race win for Mark Martin would put him at 12 IROC race wins giving him the record. He is currently tied for all-time wins with Al Unser Jr. and the late Dale Earnhardt at 11.

· Helio Castroneves could become the first driver to win in both Indy style and stock cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

· Helio Castroneves and Mark Martin are the only two with victories at Indy; Castroneves, 2001 and 2002 Indy 500; Mark Martin 1998, 1999 and 2000 True Value IROC finales.

· Buddy Lazier was the last representative of Indy style racing to win a True Value IROC race. Lazier won race three at Chicagoland Speedway on July 13, 2002.

-iroc-

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Series IROC
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Jimmie Johnson , Danny Lasoski , Steve Kinser , Mike Bliss , Harry Gant , Mark Donohue , Mark Martin , Sam Hornis