IPS: IRL: Michigan: Kelley Racing race notes

Renna scores impressive fourth place finish; Sharp climbs to seventh in season point standings; priestley continues learning laps. BROOKLYN, MI ~ Tony Renna brought the ...

Renna scores impressive fourth place finish; Sharp climbs to seventh in season point standings; priestley continues learning laps.

BROOKLYN, MI ~ Tony Renna brought the #7 Corteco/Bryant car to the checkered flag in fourth place in the Michigan Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway. As the pack of the second to fourth place finishers took the checkered flag side-by-side and nose to tail, it was a photo finish to determine the order. Tomas Scheckter captured his first Indy Racing League win as 11 cars finished on the lead lap of the inaugural event at the 2.0 mile track in the Irish Hills of Michigan with 21 of the 25 starters still running at the end.

"The Corteco/Bryant team gave me an awesome race car today," said Renna. "I felt we could be competitive at the end if we drove a smart race. The previous experience I had at this track in Indy Lights certainly helped me this weekend. Ilmor gave us great power in the engine.

"The last 25 laps was probably some of the closest racing I have ever done. It was exciting and great fun to run at these speeds with the caliber of drivers in the IRL. I think the fans saw a tremendous race today with the drafting and the passing.

"I can't say enough about everyone at Kelley Racing, Corteco and Bryant for giving me this opportunity to keep the seat warm for Al, Jr. It is such a great organization and I am certainly grateful for this chance."

Scott Sharp moved to seventh the IRL season championship standings with a ninth place finish. Starting 16th today, Sharp moved the #8 Delphi car up through the field to lead five laps as the car continued to improve as the race developed. But a gamble on the last pit stop and side-by-side racing that moved Sharp out of the racing grove relegated him from the top three to ninth at the finish.

"We made major changes to the car last night," said Robert Perez, crew chief for the #8 Delphi car. "Scott was very happy with the result of those changes throughout the race. We used drafting and pit stop strategy to get up to the front and gambled on the last pit stop under yellow with fuel only to gain track position. Our finishing position reflects the result of that strategy. All in all we are quite happy with the finish considering where we started. Everyone on the team thanks Delphi and Kelley Racing for their support of Scott and this team and giving us everything we need."

Today's Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series scheduled100 mile event was a learning experience for Jason Priestley, driver of the #7 HomeMed car. Priestley was working his way to the front utilizing the draft when the car spun in turn one, flat spotting the tires causing flat tires on the right front and rear. A.J. Foyt IV claimed his second victory of the inaugural season of the support series as the race finished at the conclusion of 30 laps, shortened 20 laps due to rain.

"I am not sure exactly what happened when I spun," said Priestley. "They were running two-wide in front of me, so I don't know if I got unstable air that planted the front end or I got into a pretty slick spot on the track because it was raining pretty hard. It is disappointing for the entire HomeMed team because we had a great car and were looking forward to a really good race. My guys work so hard to give me good cars, I just feel bad that we didn't get to run up front and dice with everyone. It is part of learning how these cars respond, but I always look positively at these types of situations as part of my education."

The next event for Kelley Racing is the Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway on August 11. The IRL event will start at 1:30 PM eastern with live television coverage by ABC.

-kr-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Scott Sharp , A.J. Foyt IV , Tony Renna , Jason Priestley