IRL: Chicagoland: Day three notebook

Hornish wins third-closest IndyCar Series race in history JOLIET, Ill., Sunday, Sept. 7, 2003 -- Sam Hornish Jr. won the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway by .0099 of a second over Scott Dixon in the third closest finish in IndyCar Series...

Hornish wins third-closest IndyCar Series race in history

JOLIET, Ill., Sunday, Sept. 7, 2003 -- Sam Hornish Jr. won the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway by .0099 of a second over Scott Dixon in the third closest finish in IndyCar Series history.

On Lap 200, Hornish and Bryan Herta were side by side through Turns 3 and 4. Dixon then went low out of Turn 4 and at the line, the cars came across with Dixon (second) on the bottom, Herta (third) in the middle and Hornish (first) on the outside.

There was only one accident in the race, when Kenny Brack spun and made contact with the outside retaining wall in Turn 4. He was uninjured.



*The margin of victory was .0099 of a second, the third-closest finish in IRL IndyCar Series history. Sam Hornish Jr. defeated Al Unser Jr. in 2002 at Chicagoland Speedway by .0024 of a second, and Hornish defeated Helio Castroneves in Sept. 2002 at Texas Motor Speedway by .0096 of a second.

*The difference between first and third was .0100 of a second, the closest 1-2-3 finish in IndyCar Series history. The previous record for a 1-2-3 finish came at Texas Motor Speedway in Oct. 2001 when Hornish defeated Scott Sharp and Robbie Buhl. The margin between Hornish and Buhl was .0468 of a second.

*Sam Hornish Jr. won his second race of the season. He won in August at Kentucky.

*Sam Hornish Jr. has won 10 career IRL IndyCar Series events, extending his record. Scott Sharp and Buddy Lazier are second in career wins with eight each.

*Panther Racing has won 13 IndyCar Series races, more than any other team. The next closest team is Team Menard, which has won 10 races.

*Dan Wheldon finished fourth, tying a career best. He also finished fourth in July at Nashville.

*Wheldon led 32 laps today. It marks the first time in his IndyCar Series career he has led a race.

*Buddy Lazier led four laps today, the first time he has led laps this season. He has led laps in every IndyCar Series season.

*Sam Hornish Jr. has won the three closest finishes in IRL IndyCar Series history and the sixth- and seventh-closest finishes. He finished second in the fifth-closest finish in IRL IndyCar Series history. Hornish also has won the two closest 1-2-3 finishes in IndyCar Series history.


SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's hard to explain. I knew we had to be up toward the front. We stayed there. We conserved fuel all day long, and we turned it up when we needed it. What an exciting race. It was just a great day for the Pennzoil Panther team. The guys did an awesome job in the pits. We stayed out there, and we got the most out of our Chevrolet, for sure. It was just a great finish there. A lot has been said about engine manufacturers. I mean, there was one of everything going across the (finish) line at the same time, so I don't think anybody can complain."

KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "At first, I thought somebody was underneath me going into Turn 3, although you look in the mirrors and have spotters telling you and all of that stuff. This racing is unbelievably intense. I thought maybe I missed somebody or somebody skated up into me. I turned in, and all of a sudden, it was like a bang, and the car just went sideways and spun around. I was convinced there was another car involved, but apparently there wasn't. Something must have broke, but I'm just not quite sure what. It is a shame. We had a decent car."

ED CARPENTER (No. 18 PDM Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a great race. I didn't know what to expect when the green flag dropped. The PDM guys did an awesome job. At the start of the race, we just started flying. I never thought I'd be passing some of the guys I was passing right away in our first stint. We were right up in the lead pack. I'm happy for Metabolife Ultra and just looking forward to going to the next two races. We can be contenders once I figure out how to do restarts and get in and out of the pits a little better. As far as the car goes, we were capable of running up front. I've just got to polish up some of my skills a little bit."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "I'm so mad that if I say anything, people are going to be really mad at me. I know at one point I came close to (Scott) Dixon or (Tomas) Scheckter, which I saw right away, and I moved my car to the other side right away, and then they black-flagged me. People have done a lot worst to me. I really want to see the tape, and I'm really, really disappointed, because I know that people are trying to do their job and my job, too. To have the car I had, I know I'm not fighting for a championship, but what can you do?"

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I think, certainly, I had a good car all day, and it was very good in traffic. I could work with the car and with other people around you, so that made it comfortable. My Klein Tools/Jim Beem crew did a good job in the pits, and my Honda was really strong all day. When you're out there on your own, and that Honda is putting you up there in the lead, you know you're doing OK."

ALEX BARRON (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The weekend went great, and we earned a solid seventh-place finish in the race. I was happy with our race setup. We had a really good balance in the car. The Red Bull Cheever Racing Team had flawless pit stops, and the Chevy engine performed great. Going into Fontana, we need to work on our qualifying setup so we can start at the front of the grid. Overall, it was just a really good race for us. The yellow caught us out for a couple of positions, but we're still happy with the result."

RICHIE HEARN (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I feel all right. My car was really good the first run, but I just picked up a huge understeer from then on, and I could not run in traffic. I don't know what happened. I haven't had that all weekend, and it just instantly went to understeer. We kept cranking front wing in. I was just hanging on, and I only had my spotter about half the time. It's really hard to run in that pack not knowing where you are. The radio transmission was spotty. Sometimes I could hear, sometimes I couldn't. I'm disappointed for Team Menard because we had a good car, just for some reason after that first pit stop, my front end was gone, and I just could not run. Unless I had the bottom of the track, I could not run close, and it made it a really long day." (About the stall): "Right when I stepped on the brake it just died. I had no clutch. It was just the way it goes. It just was not meant to be. I don't know about the future. I'd like to definitely run with these guys again. Vitor (Meira) will be back. It'll be hard, even thought I qualified on the pole. It's hard to do this once every six months, running in a pack of cars like that. I know I probably could have done better on my in-laps on my pit stops, but that's what you get for not racing. I hope I can get a ride and just keep working on it."

BRYAN HERTA (No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was a pretty adventurous day. I'm happy we were able to finish third for the third time in a row, but a little disappointed that we weren't able to hold them off."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "It has kind of been like that all year long for us. We had another dominant car, and Lady Luck wasn't on our side. We were leading, then we had to pit, and the yellow came out right after we came in. We were just a little too far back on the final restart to make a run. Obviously, it's disappointing for us, but we still ended up with a top five. This Target car was very quick all day, and we'll just have to keep our heads up and try again in Fontana."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Wow, what a day. Team Target gave me a great car today, and we almost had it won. That yellow at the end hurt us a little bit, because we had to start back in sixth for that last restart. The car seemed like it was flying. All in all, it was a good day for us. We gained a lot of points on Helio (Castroneves) today, and we're in a good position going into the last two races."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "What a disappointing way to end the weekend. We were probably looking at a top-10 finish. Unfortunately, when I was leaving the pit after my last stop, something in the gearbox broke and ended our day. We need to keep a positive attitude. At least we are still leading in the championship. Trust me, Marlboro Team Penske is going to put this weekend behind them and work very hard to make sure we are ready for Fontana."

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It was a tough day for Marlboro Team Penske. We weren't particularly competitive all weekend. Now we just have to put our heads together and bounce back for Fontana. We're right in the middle of the points battle with only two races left, so we have to make sure we maintain our focus."


The top-three transcript will be sent in another e-mail.


The next IRL IndyCar Series event is the Toyota Indy 400 Sept. 21 at California Speedway. Sam Hornish Jr. won the 2002 event at California. The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series event is the California 100 Sept. 20 at California Speedway. It will be the first event for the Pro Series at California.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing