IRL: 2002 Season featured fantastic finishes

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2002 - When it came to close racing and exciting finishes, the 2002 Indy Racing League season was second to none. The recently completed season was the most exciting in the seven-year history of the IRL. Just...

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2002 - When it came to close racing and exciting finishes, the 2002 Indy Racing League season was second to none.

The recently completed season was the most exciting in the seven-year history of the IRL. Just look at the statistics: Five of the 10 closest finishes in series history took place this season, including four of the top five.

The total margin of victory in those four close finishes was .0512 of a second. That's five-hundredths of a second - combined.

Eight of the 15 IRL races this season - 53 percent - featured finishing margins of one second or less, the most in one season in league history. The prior record for number and percentage was five of 10 races - 50 percent - in 1999.

Twenty-seven of the 71 IRL races conducted since the series debut in January 1996 have included finishing margins of one second or less. Another 14 races have seen finishing margins between one and two seconds.

In total, 41 of the 71 IRL races have included finishes closer than two seconds.

Two-time Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. is the king of close finishes. Hornish has won four of the five closest finishes in league history, including the Delphi Indy 300 in September 2002 at Chicagoland Speedway by .0024 of a second in the closest finish in IRL history.

Indy Racing events almost always finish at top speed, too. Sixty-four of the 71 races have ended under the green flag.

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27 Finishing Margins Of Less Than One Second in Indy Racing League History:

        Margin  Date            Track                   Winner, Runner-up
1.      .0024   Sept. 8, 2002   Chicagoland             Sam Hornish Jr., Al Unser Jr.
2.      .0096   Sept. 15, 2002  Texas                   Sam Hornish Jr., Helio Castroneves
3.      .0111   June 8, 2002    Texas                   Jeff Ward, Al Unser Jr.
4.      .0188   Oct. 6, 2001    Texas                   Sam Hornish Jr., Scott Sharp
5.      .0281   March 24, 2002  California              Sam Hornish Jr., Jaques Lazier
6.      .059    June 11, 2000   Texas                   Scott Sharp, Robby McGehee
7.      .064    Aug. 17, 1997   New Hampshire           Robbie Buhl, Vincenzo Sospiri
8.      .093    Aug. 11, 2002   Kentucky                Felipe Giaffone, Sam Hornish Jr.
9.      .120    June 27, 1999   Pikes Peak              Greg Ray, Sam Schmidt
10.     .140    Oct. 15, 2000   Texas                   Scott Goodyear, Eddie Cheever Jr.
11.     .1741   July 7, 2002    Kansas                  Airton Daré, Sam Hornish Jr.
12.     .1976   July 8, 2001    Kansas                  Eddie Cheever Jr., Sam Hornish Jr.
13.     .222    June 29, 1997   Pikes Peak              Tony Stewart, Stephan Gregoire
14.     .4243   July 20, 2002   Nashville               Alex Barron, Gil de Ferran
15.     .445    Aug. 29, 1999   Pikes Peak              Greg Ray, Davey Hamilton
16.     .4969   April 21, 2002  Nazareth                Scott Sharp, Felipe Giaffone
17.     .570    May 29, 1997    Indianapolis            Arie Luyendyk, Scott Goodyear
18.     .617    Sept. 26, 1999  Las Vegas               Sam Schmidt, Kenny Brack
19.     .689    July 19, 1998   Dover                   Scott Sharp, Buddy Lazier
20.     .695    May 26, 1996    Indianapolis            Buddy Lazier, Davy Jones
21.     .731    Aug. 1, 1999    Dover                   Greg Ray, Buddy Lazier
22.     .854    March 23, 1997  Phoenix                 Jim Guthrie, Tony Stewart
23.     .866    Jan. 27, 1996   Walt Disney World       Buzz Calkins, Tony Stewart
24.     .888    June 12, 1999   Texas                   Scott Goodyear, Greg Ray
25.     .926    Oct. 11, 1998   Las Vegas               Arie Luyendyk, Sam Schmidt
26.     .928    June 6, 1998    Texas                   Billy Boat, Greg Ray
27.     .944    Aug. 29, 1998   Atlanta                 Kenny Brack, Davey Hamilton

Indy Racing League Finishing Statistics Season Races Caution Finish Green Finish Less Than One Second 1996 3 0 3 2 1996-97 10 2 8 4 1998 11 0 11 4 1999 10 1 9 5 2000 9 1 8 2 2001 13 1 12 2 2002 15 2 13 8 Totals 71 7 64 27

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Robby McGehee , Greg Ray , Felipe Giaffone , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Airton Daré , Jim Guthrie , Scott Goodyear , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Jaques Lazier  , Kenny Brack , Alex Barron , Sam Schmidt , Davy Jones , Vincenzo Sospiri , Sam Hornish Jr.