IRL: California: Fast Facts

Yamaha Indy 400 Fast Facts WHAT: Yamaha Indy 400; third race in 15-race 2002 Indy Racing League season WHERE: California Speedway, 2-mile paved oval WHEN: 12:30 p.m. (PST) Sunday, March 24 DISTANCE: 400 miles/200 laps POSTED AWARDS: More...

Yamaha Indy 400 Fast Facts

WHAT: Yamaha Indy 400; third race in 15-race 2002 Indy Racing League season

WHERE: California Speedway, 2-mile paved oval

WHEN: 12:30 p.m. (PST) Sunday, March 24

DISTANCE: 400 miles/200 laps

POSTED AWARDS: More than $1 million

CARS: Dallara and G Force chassis; Chevy Indy V8 and Infiniti Indy V8 3.5-liter engines; Firestone tires

2001 RACE WINNER: This is the inaugural Indy Racing event at California Speedway

2001 INDY RACING LEAGUE CHAMPION: Sam Hornish Jr.

2002 POINTS LEADER: Sam Hornish Jr.

TV:
(Pre-Race)
"Indy Racing 2Day"
ESPN2 (live), 2:30 p.m. (EST), March 24

(Race)
ESPN (live), 3:30 p.m. (EST), March 24
Host: Bob Jenkins
Announcers: Paul Page, Scott Goodyear
Pit reporters: Jack Arute, Gary Gerould

RADIO:
(MBNA Pole Qualifying)
IMS Radio Network, 6:30 p.m. (EST), March 23

(Race)
IMS Radio Network (live), 3:30 p.m. (EST), March 24
Pre-race show starts at 3 p.m. (EST)
Host: Mike King; Analyst: Johnny Parsons Jr.
Turn reporter: Mark Jaynes; Pit reporters: Kim Morris, Jim Murphy
Area affiliate: KSPN-AM 1110, Los Angeles

SCHEDULE (all times local):

(Friday, March 22)
7 a.m.: Indy Racing League garage opens
9-11 a.m.: Practice (Two groups)
11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Practice (Two groups)

(Saturday, March 23)
7 a.m.: Indy Racing League garage opens
9-10 a.m.: Practice (Two groups)
11 a.m.: MBNA Pole Qualifying
4:30 p.m.: Final practice (All cars)

(Sunday, March 24)
8 a.m.: Indy Racing League garage opens
11:30 p.m.: Cars to grid
12:30 p.m.: Yamaha Indy 400 (400 miles/200 laps)

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 Indy Racing, the speedway also plays host to NASCAR, CART, IROC and AMA events.

THE RACE:

The Yamaha Indy 400 marks the first time that the Indy Racing League has visited California Speedway. It also marks the first Indy Racing League event in the state of California. Indy-style oval racing has a rich history in Southern California at the now-closed Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, Calif. Indy-style races took place at the 2.5-mile oval from 1970-1980. Indianapolis 500 champions Al Unser, Bobby Unser and A.J. Foyt all captured victories at Ontario.

Several Indianapolis 500 winners are California natives. 1922 winner Jimmy Murphy hailed from San Francisco, 1953 and 1954 winner Bill Vukovich Sr. was born in Alameda, and 1956 winner Pat Flaherty was born in Glendale. Three Los Angeles natives have won the "500," including: Johnnie Parsons (1950), Bob Sweikert (1955) and Jim Rathmann (1960). Interestingly, with the exception of Murphy, every "500" winner from California won between 1950-1960. California natives captured six of the 11 races in that time.

RACE NOTES:

The Yamaha Indy 400 is the first Indy Racing event to take place on a 2-mile track. It also marks the first 400-mile event to take place in the seven-year history of the Indy Racing League. It will be the second-longest event in league history, second only to the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.

Four Indianapolis 500 champions are entered for this event: Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994), Buddy Lazier (1996), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998) and Helio Castroneves (2001).

Marlboro Team Penske will make its first appearance at California Speedway as full-time competitors in the Indy Racing League. The team competed at California from 1997-2001 in the CART series.

2001 Chevy Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone is no stranger to California Speedway. The Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing driver finished second in the 1998 Indy Lights race at California.

There is a strong Southern California connection in the field for this event. 1997 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year Jeff Ward, a San Juan Capistrano resident, drives the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone. Alex Barron, a Menifee resident, drives the No. 44 Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Jaques Lazier, an Alta Loma resident, won't need to travel far to race his No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone at Fontana. Rookie George Mack, an Inglewood resident, is only the second African-American to drive in an Indy Racing event. He drives the No. 31 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone for 310 Racing, an African-American-owned team based in Los Angeles. John de Vries, the rookie driver of the No. 37 Pit Bull Energy Drink/Rhino Cleaning Products Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, grew up in Newport Beach. Jimmy Vasser, a native of Canoga Park, is competing in this race for Team Rahal in advance of that team's participation in the Indianapolis 500.

SERIES NOTES:

The Indy Racing League consists of a record 15 races this year between early-March and mid-September. In addition to California Speedway, two new speedways will play host to Indy Racing events in 2002: Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway on April 21 and Michigan International Speedway on July 28.

Through two races this season, Sam Hornish Jr. and Pennzoil Panther Racing have continued one of the most incredible streaks of consistency in motorsports history. From a personal standpoint, Hornish has now completed all but seven of the 3,050 laps he has run in his 15-race tenure with Panther Racing, and he has won four of those races and finished all of them. From a team standpoint, Pennzoil Panther Racing, with Hornish and former driver Scott Goodyear, have been running at the finish in 21 consecutive races and have failed to finish only once since the start of the 2000 season, in April 2000 at Las Vegas. Since the start of the 2000 season, Panther Racing has completed 99.3 percent of laps run, or 4,840 laps of a possible 4,874.

Sam Hornish Jr.'s victory March 2 at Homestead-Miami was the fourth of his career, tying him with Arie Luyendyk and Kenny Brack for fourth on the all-time Indy Racing career wins list.

The last time a defending series champion opened the season with a win before Hornish triumphed March 2 at Homestead-Miami was January 1998, when 1996-97 champion Tony Stewart won from the pole at Walt Disney World Speedway.

Veteran driver Jeff Ward led 29 laps at Homestead-Miami, the first time he has led a race since April 2000 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Ward is driving for a full-time Indy Racing League team fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2002 season.

Red Bull Cheever Racing rookie Tomas Scheckter finished sixth in his first race on an oval on March 2 at Homestead-Miami. Scheckter was the fastest driver during the Indy Racing League Test in the West on Feb. 6 at California Speedway, with a top speed of 221.952 mph in the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.

Helio Castroneves earned his second career Indy Racing League win on March 17 at Phoenix International Raceway. His first came at the 2001 Indianapolis 500. Castroneves has earned two victories in just four starts, a league record. Arie Luyendyk earned his second victory in his eighth start.

During the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 on March 17 at Phoenix, Sam Hornish Jr. became the fourth Indy Racing driver to surpass 1,000 laps led in Indy Racing competition. He is third on the list with 1,036 laps led. He joins Tony Stewart (1,515), Greg Ray (1,149) and Buddy Lazier (1,020).

Sam Hornish Jr. extended his Indy Racing League record of consecutive times running at the finish with his third-place finish in the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 on March 17 at Phoenix. He has been running at the finish in 15 consecutive races.

STATISTICS:

2002 points leaders
1. Sam Hornish Jr. 89
2. Helio Castroneves 85
3. Gil de Ferran 80
4. Eliseo Salazar 62
5. Jeff Ward 44
6. Al Unser Jr. 41
7. Jaques Lazier 40
8. Airton Dare 38
Billy Boat 38
10. Felipe Giaffone 37

2002 money leaders
1. Sam Hornish Jr. $205,550
2. Helio Castroneves $185,550
3. Gil de Ferran $159,500
4. Eliseo Salazar $110,800
Jeff Ward $110,800

2002 wins
1. Helio Castroneves 1
Sam Hornish Jr. 1

2002 rookie points
1. Anthony Lazzaro 35
2. Tomas Scheckter 34
3. Laurent Redon 31
4. Rick Treadway 28
5. George Mack 27
Hideki Noda 27

2002 laps led
1. Sam Hornish Jr. 233
2. Helio Castroneves 64
3. Al Unser Jr. 39
4. Jeff Ward 29
5. Gil de Ferran 18

2002 MBNA Poles
1. Helio Castroneves 1
Sam Hornish Jr. 1

2002 wins by chassis
1. Dallara 2

2002 wins by engine
1. Chevrolet 2

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Tomas Scheckter , Greg Ray , Felipe Giaffone , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Jeff Ward , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Airton Daré , Scott Goodyear , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Jaques Lazier  , Kenny Brack , Rick Treadway , Alex Barron , Anthony Lazzaro , Laurent Redon , Al Unser Sr. , Bobby Unser , Jimmy Murphy , George Mack , John de Vries , Hideki Noda , Pat Flaherty , Chip Ganassi , Johnny Parsons , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing