IRL: Homestead: Kelley Racing preview

This will be the seventh season of Indy Racing League competition for Kelley Racing. Kelley Racing has made 153 starts, scored nine victories and eight poles in their Indy Racing League history. INDIANAPOLIS, IN-- Kelley Racing is looking ...

This will be the seventh season of Indy Racing League competition for Kelley Racing.

Kelley Racing has made 153 starts, scored nine victories and eight poles in their Indy Racing League history.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN-- Kelley Racing is looking forward to beginning their seventh season of competition in 2004. For the veteran Indy Racing League (IRL) competitors, this season has a number of new elements including a new co-owner for the team and a new chief engineer for driver Scott Sharp. Rick Weidinger, a successful business executive, has joined Tom Kelley in ownership of the team. Weidinger joined Kelley in mid-December and is looking forward to his first season as an IRL IndyCar Series owner. "I am very impressed by the dedication of everyone at Kelley Racing and I know that we are up to the challenge of achieving world-class on-track performance," said Weidinger. "The team has worked diligently over the off-season and we have accomplished a great deal during testing. I feel we have done our homework, prepared our team and have developed a plan for a winning execution in the 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season. We're ready to go racing."

The team also acquired veteran engineer, Andy Borme. Borme, who was Castroneves' engineer in his two Indianapolis 500 wins, has been a positive addition to the team and Sharp is enthused by their pre-season progress. "Andy has been a great addition to the team and we are already seeing a big difference," said Sharp. "During pre-season testing we have been steadily making gains and I think as the season progresses, we will continue to move forward."

Sharp, who will be driving the No. 8 Delphi entry and beginning his eighth season, is looking forward to starting the 2004 season at his home track of Homestead-Miami Speedway. "I think South Florida is an excellent place to kick-off the season," enthused Sharp. "The changes to the track are going to make a fantastic show for the fans."

Practice for the Toyota Indy 300 begins on Friday morning at 11:00 a.m. E.T. with a second practice session set to begin at 2:45 p.m. Practice will continue on Saturday morning at 9:45 a.m. with qualifying set to begin at 1:45 p.m. On Sunday, the race will be shown live on ESPN beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Scott Sharp , No. 8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone

Fast Facts

*This will be Sharp's 83rd career start, his 75th consecutive IndyCar start--an IRL record-- and his seventh season with Kelley Racing and his eighth IndyCar season.

*In 2003 he started sixth and finished fifth. In 2001 he finished eighth and in 2002 he finished 20th after a mechanical failure. Last year's sixth place qualifying effort is Sharps best at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

*Sharp finished 2003 in eighth place in the IndyCar Series championship with 351 points. Sharp completed 3,175 laps during the season, more than any other IndyCar Series driver.

*Sharp's victory in April 2003 at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan was his eighth career victory. He is the only IRL IndyCar Series driver to have won at least one event in each year of competition.

Scott Sharp quote on the Toyota Indy 300

"I'm excited for the 2004 season, especially as it starts at my current home track of Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Delphi-Kelley team has worked hard in the off-season to increase our competitiveness. I'm excited to have my new engineer, Andy Borme, on board. He is already making a huge difference. We know the top three or four teams are awfully tough, but we're committed to working as hard as we can to regularly challenge them for race wins. If we can improve our qualifying positions over last season, run more regularly in the top-five and end the day with strong finishes then race wins will follow."

"The newly increased banking on the Homestead-Miami Speedway will provide for the most exciting race that has been held at the track. The paving job was flawless, the track is incredibly smooth, and the 20-degree banking will allow the IRL cars to be two and three abreast all of the way around the track. I think south Florida is in for an incredible show to kick off our season!"

---www.kelleyracing.com---

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Rick Weidinger