Joliet, Illinois (September 6,2003)---The Kelley Racing team did not get what they hoped for in today's qualifying for the Delphi Indy 300 but both drivers feel they have strong race cars for tomorrow. Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi...
Joliet, Illinois (September 6,2003)---The Kelley Racing team did not get what they hoped for in today's qualifying for the Delphi Indy 300 but both drivers feel they have strong race cars for tomorrow. Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry, was the first of the two Kelley cars out for this afternoons qualifying and he posted a speed of 218.548 mph that will place him 20th for tomorrow's Delphi Indy 300. Al Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, followed and posted a speed of 219.735 mph that places him 17th for the race.
The team has a solid history at Chicagoland Speedway with Al Unser Jr. finishing second last year in the closest finish in IRL history. So despite their qualifying positions both drivers are optimistic that they have race cars that will get them to the front for tomorrow's 200-lap race. Taking the top position in today's qualifying effort was Richie Hearn with a speed of 223.238 mph, while Bryan Herta was second at 222.879 mph and Felipe Giaffone rounded out the top three at 222.646 mph. The green flag for tomorrow's Delphi Indy 300 will drop at 1:00 p.m. CT and be shown live on ABC.
Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"We weren't quite as quick this afternoon as we thought we were going to be, we fell about a mile an hour short over what I thought we were going to run. We'll go back and see what we did wrong and try to get things in a bit better shape for tomorrow. We'll get it going, the draft is a big deal here and what matters is the race. The added competition in the IndyCar Series this season is going to lead to a bigger pack fighting for the lead tomorrow and at Chicago it is all about staying with that lead group and being there at the end so that is what we will try to do on the Corteco team."
Speed: 219.735 mph
Time: 24.9027 seconds
Al Unser Jr., No. 31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone--Fast Facts and Quote
This will be Unser Jr.'s 322nd career start and his 49th IRL start.
Unser Jr. is currently sixth in the IndyCar Series points standings with 319 points.
Chicago Record--In 2002 Unser Jr. started 3rd and finished 2nd in 2001 he started 12th and finished 3rd.
His victory on June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway was his third IndyCar Series victory and his 34th career victory.
Unser Jr. has won two Indianapolis 500's (1992, 1994) and two open-wheel championships (1990, 1994).
Scott Sharp -- #8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"I definitely think the Delphi car will be better for tomorrow in the race. It's the Delphi Indy 300 so obviously it's an important event for us and I have to admit, I'm a bit embarrassed about our qualifying effort. We just can't seem to get any speed out of the car on our own. Today is the identical time we ran while we were here testing and it is exactly what we ran in practice. We were pretty good this afternoon in the draft with our race car so I'm encouraged for that but qualifying is not what we hoped for today. The good thing at the bigger ovals is that if you have your car working well and it is comfortable you can run up front in the race and that is what is important."
Speed: 218.548 mph
Time: 25.0380 seconds
Scott Sharp, No. 8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone---Fast Facts and Quote
This will be Sharp's 80th career start, his 72nd consecutive IndyCar start--an IRL record-- and his sixth season with Kelley Racing.
Chicago Record--In 2002, Sharp started 16th and finished 7th and in 2001 he started 3rd and finished 25th after an accident.
Sharp is currently in eighth place in the IndyCar Series with 280 points.
Sharp's victory in April at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan was his eighth career victory.