IPS: IRL: Phoenix notes of interest, schedule

IndyCar Series: Purex Dial Indy 200, second race in 16-race 2003 season Infiniti Pro Series: Phoenix 100, second race in 12-race 2003 season IndyCar Series: 1:30 p.m. (MST), Sunday, March 23 Infiniti Pro Series: 2:45 p.m. (MST), Saturday, ...

IndyCar Series:
Purex Dial Indy 200, second race in 16-race 2003 season

Infiniti Pro Series:
Phoenix 100, second race in 12-race 2003 season

IndyCar Series:
1:30 p.m. (MST), Sunday, March 23

Infiniti Pro Series:
2:45 p.m. (MST), Saturday, March 22

IndyCar Series:
200 laps/200 miles

Infiniti Pro Series:
100 laps/100 miles

TV:

IndyCar Series:
Pre-race: ESPN2 (live), "Indy Racing 2Day," 2:30 p.m. (EST), March 23
Race: ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EST), March 23

Infiniti Pro Series:
Highlights: ESPN2, 1 p.m. (EST), March 28

RADIO:

IndyCar Series:
Qualifying wrap-up show: IMS Radio Network, 5:30 p.m. (EST), March 22
Pre-race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3 p.m. (EST), March 23
Race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3:30 p.m. (EST), March 23

SCHEDULE (all times local; subject to change):

Friday, March 21
9:15-10 a.m. Infiniti Pro Series practice
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
1:55-2:25 p.m. Infiniti Pro Series practice
3:40 p.m. Infiniti Pro Series qualifying

Saturday, March 22
8:40-8:55 a.m. Final Infiniti Pro Series practice
9-10:30 a.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
Noon-1:15 p.m. IndyCar Series MBNA Pole Qualifying
2:15 p.m. Infiniti Pro Series pre-race
2:45 p.m. Phoenix 100 IRL Infiniti Pro Series race (100 laps/100 miles)

Sunday, March 23
7 a.m. IndyCar Series garage opens
10-10:30 a.m. Final IndyCar Series practice session
12:30 p.m. Grid IndyCar Series cars
1:30 p.m. Purex Dial Indy 200 (200 laps/200 miles), ABC & IMS Radio Network (live)

RACE NOTES:

IndyCar Series:

-- Four Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the Toyota Indy 300: Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994), Buddy Lazier (1996), Kenny Brack (1999) and Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002).

-- Five IRL IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Toyota Indy 300: 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 300.

-- Five IndyCar Series drivers who have won at Phoenix International Raceway are expected to race in the Purex Dial Indy 200: Michael Andretti (CART, 1986), Scott Sharp (1998), Buddy Lazier (2000), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001) and Helio Castroneves (2002).

-- Legends Michael Andretti and Al Unser Jr. have competed in 31 races at Phoenix in either CART or the IndyCar Series. But they share only one win between them - Andretti's 1986 CART victory. Each driver has finished second three times at PIR.

-- Helio Castroneves has a chance to become the first driver to win two consecutive IRL IndyCar Series events at PIR. Only four drivers in the 58 Indy-style races at PIR have won two consecutive events: Al Unser (fall 1969 and spring 1970), Bobby Unser (spring 1972 and fall 1972), Gordon Johncock (fall 1977 and spring 1978), Rick Mears (spring 1989 and spring 1990). Unser now is a driving coach for the IndyCar Series, and Mears serves in the same role for the Infiniti Pro Series.

Infiniti Pro Series:

-- The Phoenix 100 is the inaugural Infiniti Pro Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.

-- Aaron Fike and Cory Witherill, who won Infiniti Pro Series races at Chicagoland Speedway and Nashville Superspeedway, respectively, are expected to compete in the Phoenix 100 as teammates with Hemelgarn 91/Johnson Motorsports. Arie Luyendyk Jr., who finished second in the 2002 championship, and Ed Carpenter, who finished third, are also expected to race.

-- Mark Taylor, who won the season-opening Western Union 100 on March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, drove for an oval for the first time during a test Dec. 9, 2002, at PIR.

SERIES NOTES:

IndyCar Series:

-- Sam Hornish Jr. defeated Helio Castroneves, 531-511, in the 2002 points standings to claim his second consecutive IndyCar Series championship and become the first driver to win two IndyCar Series titles. In 2003, Hornish will look to become only the second driver in history to win three Indy-style championships in a row. Ted Horn won three consecutive titles from 1946-48.

-- Kenny Brack, who won the 1998 IndyCar Series title and the 1999 Indianapolis 500, has returned to the IndyCar Series full time for the first time since 1999. He will drive the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Team Rahal in the team's first full season of IndyCar Series competition.

-- At season-opening Toyota Indy 300 on March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Scott Dixon defeated Gil de Ferran by .5752 of a second for victory. The Homestead-Miami race was the 28th time an IndyCar Series event had a margin of victory of less than a second.

-- Andretti Green Racing will compete exclusively in the IndyCar Series for the first time in 2003, fielding cars for Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and co-owner Michael Andretti. Kanaan and Andretti started 1-2 in the season-opener at Homestead-Miami, respectively.

-- Scott Dixon won the Toyota Indy 300 on March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in his first IRL IndyCar Series event. The only other times a driver has won the race in his first start was when Juan Montoya won the 84th Indianapolis 500 in 2000 and when Buzz Calkins won the inaugural series event in January 1996 at Orlando, Fla. Montoya drove for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, as does Dixon.

Infiniti Pro Series:

-- The second season of Infiniti Pro Series competition will consist of 12 races that will take place at the same track and on the same weekend as IRL IndyCar Series events except for the Indianapolis race, which is tentatively scheduled to take place May 24 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the night before the 87th Indianapolis 500 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

-- Ed Carpenter, who finished third in the 2002 points standings, has taken over Foyt's ride with A.J. Foyt Racing.

-- Arie Luyendyk Jr., who finished second in the 2002 point standings, has moved to Sinden Racing Service for 2003. Luyendyk is the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk and lives in nearby Scottsdale, Ariz.

-- Rookie Mark Taylor won the season-opening Western Union 100 on March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while another rookie, Thiago Medeiros, won the pole.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Mark Taylor , Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Cory Witherill , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , A.J. Foyt IV , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Kenny Brack , Al Unser Sr. , Rick Mears , Bobby Unser , Aaron Fike , Chip Ganassi , Gordon Johncock , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ed Carpenter , Thiago Medeiros , Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing