IPS: IRL: Michigan: Indy Racing League notebook - race day

Barron wins thriller over Hornish; Taylor sets record with Pro Series win BROOKLYN, Mich., Sunday, July 27, 2003 -- Alex Barron defeated Sam Hornish Jr. by .0121 to win the Firestone Indy 400. Barron passed Hornish on the outside in Turn 4 and...

Barron wins thriller over Hornish; Taylor sets record with Pro Series win

BROOKLYN, Mich., Sunday, July 27, 2003 -- Alex Barron defeated Sam Hornish Jr. by .0121 to win the Firestone Indy 400. Barron passed Hornish on the outside in Turn 4 and the cars crossed the finish line side by side, with Barron on the outside, inches ahead of Hornish.

Firestone Indy 400 Notes:

Barron's margin of victory over Sam Hornish Jr. was .0121 of a second, the fourth-closest finish in IRL IndyCar Series history.

The average speed for the Firestone Indy 400 was 180.917 mph, the fastest average speed in the history of the IRL IndyCar Series. The previous record was 179.345 mph when Sam Hornish Jr. won in 2002 at California Speedway.

Hornish has been involved in six of the top 10 closest finishes in IRL IndyCar Series history. He has won four of the races and finished second in two of them.

Hornish's second-place finish was the best of the season for him. His previous best finish this season was fourth at Richmond.

On Lap 164, Barron brought out a yellow when he spun in Turn 4 after making slight contact with Tomas Scheckter. It's not the first time a driver has brought out a yellow and gone on to win the race. In the 1998 Indianapolis 500, Eddie Cheever Jr. did a quarter-spin to the left in Turn 1 on Lap 1, trying to avoid J.J. Yeley, who had spun in front of him. Cheever went on to win the event. In 1985, Danny Sullivan spun on Lap 120 of the Indianapolis 500 but went onto win the race. In 1977, during the Norton Twin 200's Indy-style event at MIS, Danny Ongais spun in Turn 4 and went on to win the race.

Alex Barron won today using a Toyota engine. A car equipped with a Toyota engine has won eight of 10 races this year.

The only accident involving wall contact took place on Lap 65, when Kenny Brack made contact with the outside retaining wall in Turn 2. He was uninjured.

Firestone Indy 400 Quotes:

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

"It felt pretty good to be out front. It was a good test for our new engine. I'm real happy that the new Chevrolet did everything that it was supposed to do today. We just came up a little bit short. We won quite a few races like that, so we can't be too disappointed about the one we lost. I knew he had to go to the outside, because there wasn't any room on the inside. He just got it finally timed right. He kept working on it. That is the only disadvantage of being up front. You can only go as fast as you can go."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

"It was pretty crazy out there, especially at the end, but we had a little drag. Earlier, we were trying to save fuel. We wanted to be conservative and wait for the end. We stayed in there and collected some points. I'm very happy."

ALEX BARRON (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

"I think (Sam) used a lot of his power in the." last four to five laps. The last two laps, he seemed to slow up just a little bit, and I just got a good run off of (Turn) 4. I speeded up a little early, and we just kept pulling away from him. That is all we needed." (Are you surprised that you were able to continue after your spin?): "Part of that is luck when you are going that fast, and you spin around. You just guide it the best way that you can, and you are just fortunate if it goes back straight."

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

"We were struggling a little bit for speed throughout the race. We're not exactly sure why that was. We were slower than we expected to be, and those late yellows benefited us because it helped us to stay in the draft. That was the only way I could stay in the lead pack. I was running good with (Scott) Dixon there at the end. I had to get out of it with three laps to go, and (Tora) Tagaki got by me. It was a difficult race for us, so I guess coming home with seventh place was a good result. We were just very focused on bringing it home."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"We're not sure what happened. All of a sudden, we lost a lot of speed. It's a shame. But, hey -Honda did a great job of giving me a fast engine, the whole Team 7-Eleven gave me great pit stops, and we had a great race up until then. Days like this will happen. We knew it could happen to us, and today was the day. That's racing. It's better that this happened now instead of in the last race (of the year). We still have a chance to recover. We'll have a good car in St. Louis. Let's go from that one. Today is done, so let's not think about what we lost. Let's think about what we have to gain." (About picking up 10 positions on the opening lap): "I followed Michael Andretti's instructions, and it worked pretty well. It was a hell of a start."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

"We had a very good day. We conserved fuel all day. We cut a tire and got a lap down. I got out of the draft and lost more time. Then we got a couple breaks; one under the yellow and made up our lap, then another break on the Barron spin, and (we) had a good finish."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

"The Marlboro Team Penske car was handling great today, and I was having a lot of fun out there. We had a good start, and during the first two stints, we were able to run with the lead pack. Unfortunately, we had a problem during the third stint. There was a hole in the radiator, which was leaking water, and we think that caused us to lose the engine, ending our day early. In fact, we had a similar problem yesterday in the final practice. It's just one of those up and down days, and there wasn't anything we could do. There's a lot of racing to go this season, and the championship isn't over yet. We need to focus and execute each weekend to put as many points as possible on the board."

AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

"I just don't know what to say. It just seems like we go the wrong way on our strategy, and that hurts. After we stayed out on the last stop, we had to run the car lean to make it on fuel, and we just couldn't stay with the leaders. There's a lot of drafting at Michigan, but you have to be able to run hard to stay in the lead pack, and there at the end, we just couldn't do it. The Corteco team did a great job once again the pits, and I just can't say enough about what a great car they gave me today and this whole weekend. I'm just disappointed about how the day ended."

Mark Taylor led 31 laps en route to victory in the Michigan 100 Infiniti Pro Series race.


Mark Taylor won his fifth career IRL Infiniti Pro Series event today, setting a new record. His other victories came this year at Homestead-Miami, Phoenix, Kansas and Nashville. The victory is Taylor's fifth of the season, also a new record. The previous record was four victories in a season and in a career by A.J. Foyt IV in 2002.

Jeff Simmons finished second today, tying his career best finish. He also finished second at Pikes Peak.

Taylor won his third consecutive Infiniti Pro Series race today. He is the first Infiniti Pro Series driver to accomplish that feat.

There were two separate accidents during the Michigan 100. On Lap 7, Ross Fonferko, Brandon Erwin, Cory Witherill, Jonathan Urlin and Matt Beardsley were involved in an accident in Turn 4. On Lap 41, Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Paul Dana were involved in an accident in Turn 2. Brandon Erwin was transported via air to Foote Hospital in Jackson, Mich., for observation, but was release without injury later in the day. None of the other drivers were injured.


JONATHAN URLIN (No. 3 Budget Rent a Car of Canada Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"It was chaos. Everyone was just getting a good rhythm, getting a feel for the race. All of a sudden Ross (Fonferko) got out of control a little bit. Everything went up in smoke. I couldn't really see. I have no idea who hit me or who I hit. All I know is Ross went around, and there was smoke. We couldn't see at all."

ROSS FONFERKO (No. 6 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"The car wiggled, and the rear end came around. Something might have broken loose or broken or snapped. It's really unfortunate, because we had a good car. I think we could have finished up front, but something just broke. That's it."

ED CARPENTER (No. 14 Futaba/Delphi/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firesotne): (About why he dropped back on the final restart):

"The motor just didn't want to run on any of the restarts. It would take a good half a lap before it would come all the way up. We had a good car all day, and we wanted a good finish. But in this series, you get a sealed motor and there's nothing you can do about it. Hopefully, they'll give us a good motor for the next race."

TOM WOOD (No. 9 Trailblazer Drilling/Savanna Energy Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"We were OK, mostly just being patient. There was some crazy driving going on out there. They (his team) were keeping lap speeds, and they told me I was fast. I was quick when I could keep the car on the bottom of the track. This was my first time here (at Michigan), and I love the track."

JEFF SIMMONS (No. 20 Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"I was just following my plan the entire time just to stay in second place until the end and then try and get him in the end. Unfortunately, my engine loads up every time on the restarts, and our engine was completely dead. They get a huge run on me, and I can't stay with anyone. It has done this several times now. That is the way that the race went. We just didn't have a shot at it."

MARK TAYLOR (No. 4 Fulmar Panther Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"We only qualified in seventh. We were struggling a little bit today. It seems all the way through that we had to put it all in the race. Sometimes we are not the quickest car there. We had the luck on our side. I haven't had a problem all year, and hopefully we can keep it that way."

THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 36 Genoa Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"I just couldn't overtake him; we finished very close. I am still second in the points standings. It was really a great race. Now we have to keep working for the next one."

ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"My car was struggling all day with a push, but once I got out of the air, I went loose. It looks like that's what happened with Paul (Dana), because we were all behind the group. We were both flat going in there, and he got out of shape coming off the corner. He got really loose and tried to catch it, and tried to catch it again. I chose the high side because I thought he was going to go low, but he spun high and I went straight into him."

AARON FIKE (No. 91 RFMS Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"We started in the back because of mechanical problems during our qualifying run. The whole team did a great job correcting the problem, and we were able to run in the top three. Racing at a track like Michigan, you can get hung out to dry sometimes if you get out of the draft. It's just one of those things. Overall, we're pleased with our performance. I thought I could get around (Jeff) Simmons on the last lap but slipped back to fourth place."

PAUL DANA (No. 24 Ethanol/Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"I'm disappointed. Our car worked, and I was just trying to be patient. I'd made up a few spots and had figured out what would work on the high side. The car was real inconsistent. If you're behind somebody, you have a big push, and if someone is on your gearbox, you're wildly loose. Arie was all over my rear wing, and I started wig-waging halfway down the backstretch, and thought I'd saved it. But at the last minute I turned right and that was it."

The next IRL IndyCar Series event is the Emerson Indy 250 Aug. 10 at Gateway International Raceway. The next Infiniti Pro Series event is the Gateway 100 Aug. 9 at Gateway.


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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Mark Taylor , Eddie Cheever , Cory Witherill , Michael Andretti , A.J. Foyt IV , Brandon Erwin , Kenny Brack , Alex Barron , Sam Schmidt , Danny Sullivan , J.J. Yeley , Danny Ongais , Matt Beardsley , Jeff Simmons , Paul Dana , Jonathan Urlin , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing