IRL: Chicagoland: AGR/Herta race report

Archipelago/Motorola driver Bryan Herta finishes third in photo finish at Chicagoland JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 7, 2003) -- Bryan Herta was inches away from victory today in the ...

Archipelago/Motorola driver Bryan Herta finishes third in photo finish at Chicagoland

JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 7, 2003) -- Bryan Herta was inches away from victory today in the #27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone at the Delphi Indy 300, finishing third to Sam Hornish and Scott Dixon in the third-closest finish in Indy Racing League IndyCarTM Series history.

Herta was running with the lead pack early in the race until a wheel-speed sensor failure forced him all the way back to 18th on lap 30. Herta then worked his way through the field, combining good pit work by the Archipelago/Motorola crew and savvy driving.

As the checkered flag grew closer, the leaders -- including Herta -- all started to pit for a final splash of fuel. While Herta was on pit road the yellow flag flew, but speedy work by his pit crew allowed him to stay on the lead lap and also gave him the lead of the race. When the race was restarted on lap 195, it was a six-lap shootout with Herta in the lead. Hornish and Herta battled through the final six laps, spending most of the time side-by-side and at the finish, Herta was only 0.01 behind Hornish. As they came to the stripe Dixon went low making it a three-wide photo finish and clipped Herta by only 0.0001 seconds.

Herta's teammate Dan Wheldon finished fourth just ahead of Tomas Scheckter and Tony Kanaan. The wild race also led to a shake-up in the IndyCar Series points as Helio Castroneves leads Scott Dixon by 12 points and Tony Kanaan by just 14.

The IndyCar Series gets back into action two weeks from today at California Speedway for the penultimate race of the 2003 season.

Bryan Herta, #27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"Sam (Hornish) had a strong car and Scott (Dixon) had a strong car and I was just a lamb sitting there in the front of the pack trying to hold them back. I did it as long as I could, but we just didn't have quite enough. It still is another top-three finish for the Archipelago/Motorola team, so in that respect it is a good day. We didn't take tires on the last stop because our Firestones were great and we were confident that we wouldn't have any problems."

Kyle Moyer, Team Manager, Archipelago/Motorola

"Three thirds in a row -- it's getting old, especially when you lead the last six laps, except for the last one. We actually had some problems today, but kept at it. It just seems like that is what happens to us every single week. We get thrown something at us and then we bust our butts to get right back up front and challenge for something, and today we did again. As long as we're knocking on the door it will open sooner or later. We just have to keep knocking."

-AGR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon