IPS: IRL: Fontana: Pre-race notes, schedule

WHAT: IndyCarTM Series: Toyota Indy 400, 15th race in 16-race 2003 season Menards Infiniti Pro Series: California 100, 11th race in 12-race 2003 season WHERE: California Speedway, 2-mile asphalt D-shaped oval WHEN: IndyCar Series: 12:30...

WHAT:

IndyCarTM Series:
Toyota Indy 400, 15th race in 16-race 2003 season

Menards Infiniti Pro Series:
California 100, 11th race in 12-race 2003 season

WHERE:
California Speedway, 2-mile asphalt D-shaped oval

WHEN:

IndyCar Series:
12:30 p.m. (PDT), Sunday, Sept. 21

Menards Infiniti Pro Series:
3:30 p.m. (PDT), Saturday, Sept. 20

DISTANCE:

IndyCar Series:
200 laps/400 miles

Menards Infiniti Pro Series:
50 laps/100 miles

TV:

IndyCar Series:
Pre-race: ESPN2 (live), "Indy Racing 2Day," noon (EDT), Sept. 21
Race: ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 21

Menards Infiniti Pro Series:
Highlights: ESPN2, 2:30 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 25

RADIO:

IndyCar Series:
Qualifying wrap-up show: IMS Radio Network, 7:30 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 20
Pre-race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 21
Race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 21

Live coverage of MBNA Pole Qualifying (2 p.m. EDT, Sept. 20) and the race also will be available at www.indyracing.com

SCHEDULE (all times local; subject to change):

Friday, Sept. 19
8:15-8:45 a.m. - Menards Infiniti Pro Series practice
9-10:30 a.m. - IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
12:45-1:15 p.m. - Menards Infiniti Pro Series practice
1:30-3 p.m. - IndyCar Series practice
4:30 p.m. - Menards Infiniti Pro Series qualifying

Saturday, Sept. 20
9-10 a.m. - IndyCar Series practice
10:20-10:35 p.m. - Final Menards Infiniti Pro Series practice
11 a.m. - IndyCar Series MBNA Pole Qualifying
3:30 p.m. - California 100 (50 laps/100 miles), ESPN2, 2:30 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 25
4:45-5:15 p.m. - Final IndyCar Series practice
5:30 p.m. - Autograph session

Sunday, Sept. 21
12:30 p.m. - Toyota Indy 400 (200 laps/400 miles), ABC-TV & IMS Radio Network (live)

THE TRACK:
2-mile paved oval
Front straightaway: 3,100 feet
Back straightaway: 2,500 feet
Width: 75 feet

Banking:
Frontstraight: 11 degrees
Backstraight: 3 degrees
Turns: 14 degrees

* California Speedway opened in 1997 and has a seating capacity of 92,109. One of the most modern tracks in the country, the Speedway has on-site Metrolink train service during race weekends. The facility also includes 28 skyboxes and 71 pit lane deluxe corporate suites. Along the main straightaway, there is a four-sided, 146-foot scoring pylon. Thirteen message boards are also located throughout the grounds. The track also includes a 1.3-mile infield road course. In addition to the Indy Racing League, the speedway also plays host to NASCAR, CART and AMA events.

INDYCAR SERIES NOTES:

* Five Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the Toyota Indy 400: Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994), Buddy Lazier (1996), Kenny Brack (1999), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002) and Gil de Ferran (2003).

* Drivers entered in the Toyota Indy 400 have combined for 113 IRL or CART victories, 94 pole positions and 1,654 starts.

* Five IRL IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Toyota Indy 400: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Kenny Brack (1998), Greg Ray (1999), Buddy Lazier (2000) and Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002). A.J. Foyt IV, the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series champion and grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, also will participate in the Toyota Indy 400.

* The Toyota Indy 400 will be the second event in 2003 contested on a 2-mile track. Alex Barron won the Michigan Indy 400 in July at the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway. He defeated Sam Hornish Jr. at Michigan by .0121 of a second, the fifth-closest finish in IRL IndyCar Series history.

* Eight of the 10 events in the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series season that have finished under green have featured a margin of victory of less than one second, including the Delphi Indy 300 on Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway. Sam Hornish Jr. defeated Scott Dixon by just .0099 of a second in the third closest IndyCar Series race in history. Bryan Herta finished third, just .0100 of a second behind Hornish and .0001 behind second-place Dixon. The .0100 margin from first to third was the closest 1-2-3 finish in the series history. A total of 35 IndyCar Series events have had a margin of victory of less than a second.

* In 14 races thus far in 2003, there have been nine different winners, tying the record set in 1996-97 and 2002. Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran and Sam Hornish Jr. are the only multiple winners. Dixon won at Homestead-Miami, Pikes Peak and Richmond, de Ferran won at Indianapolis and Nashville, Castroneves won at Gateway and Nazareth and Hornish won at Kentucky and Chicagoland. In those 14 races, 16 different drivers have finished in the top five in at least one event.

* Scott Dixon became the first driver in IRL IndyCar Series history to lead consecutive laps throughout three consecutive races. He led the last 84 laps June 15 en route to a victory at Pikes Peak and led all 206 laps of the rain-shortened SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 28 at Richmond. He then led the first 53 laps on July 7 at Kansas for a total of 343 consecutive laps led.

* Scott Dixon earned his third career IRL IndyCar Series victory June 28 at Richmond in only his seventh series start, tying the record set by Helio Castroneves at the 2002 Indianapolis 500.

* The average speed for the Belterra Casino Indy 300 Aug. 17 at Kentucky was 197.897 mph, the fastest average speed in the history of the IRL IndyCar Series. The second fastest race was Sept. 7 at Chicagoland when winner Sam Hornish Jr. averaged 184.294 mph. Alex Barron won the July 27 race at Michigan International Speedway and averaged 180.917, the third fastest race in series history.

* Sam Hornish Jr. extended his IndyCar Series record for career victories with a victory at Chicagoland He has won 10 IndyCar Series events.

* Scott Dixon won his fifth MBNA Pole of the season at Nazareth and joined Billy Boat and Greg Ray as the only drivers to win five poles in a season. Boat won six poles in 1998, and Ray won five poles in 2000. Dixon has won five MBNA Poles in just 13 races. He ties Boat for least number of races to obtain five poles.

* The top five drivers in the IndyCar Series point standings are still eligible for the championship. Two races remain: California Speedway (Sept. 21), Texas Motor Speedway (Oct. 12).

* In the last three IndyCar Series races (Kentucky, Nazareth and Chicagoland), no car has dropped out of the race before the 100-lap mark, and an average of 16 cars have been still running at the finish, including 18 at Kentucky and 19 at Chicagoland.

* The 20-car IndyCar Series field for the August Kentucky event was separated by .5367 of a second, the closest field in IndyCar Series history. The margin at Chicagoland was .6218 of a second, the third-closest field in history.

MENARDS INFINITI PRO SERIES NOTES:

* The second season of Menards Infiniti Pro Series competition consists of 12 races that take place in conjunction with IRL IndyCar Series events.

* Ed Carpenter won the historic Freedom 100 on May 18 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway driving for A.J. Foyt Racing. The race marked the first time that an automobile race in addition to the Indianapolis 500 had been conducted on the 2.5-mile oval during the month of May.

* Rookie Mark Taylor has won six events in 2003, setting the record for most victories in a season and most career victories. He drives for Panther Racing, the team that won the IndyCar Series championship in 2001 and 2002 with Sam Hornish Jr.

* Mark Taylor defeated Ed Carpenter by .0170 of second to win the Sept. 6 Chicagoland 100. The margin was the closest in Menards Infiniti Pro Series history. The previous closest finish was .0379 in 2002 at Texas Motor Speedway.

* Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver Ed Carpenter made his IndyCar Series debut at Chicagoland. He finished 13th and became the first driver to compete in a Menards Infiniti Pro Series and IndyCar Series event in the same weekend.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Mark Taylor , Greg Ray , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Billy Boat , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , A.J. Foyt IV , Scott Dixon , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Alex Barron , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ed Carpenter
Teams Panther Racing