IRL: Homestead: Scott Sharp preview

Sharp Set for Start of IRL IndyCar® Series Season The IRL IndyCar Series launches its 10th season of competition this weekend with the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the first of 17 events on the 2005 calendar. For IRL veteran...

Sharp Set for Start of IRL IndyCar® Series Season

The IRL IndyCar Series launches its 10th season of competition this weekend with the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the first of 17 events on the 2005 calendar. For IRL veteran Scott Sharp, the off-season leading up to this Sunday's 200-lap season kick-off has been one of change.

Alongside high technology industry leader Delphi, Sharp teamed with Fernandez Racing earlier this year to form Delphi Fernandez Racing. His learning curve encompassed a new team, engine and chassis, but if pre-season testing is any indication, Sharp has adapted quickly to his new environment. The former series champion was near the top of the speed charts in a pair of IRL Open Tests, setting the second fastest time overall on Homestead's 1.5-mile oval and fifth-quickest time at Phoenix.

An intensified off-season physical fitness training program has the 36-year-old resident of Jupiter, Fla., ready and motivated for the start of his 10th year of IndyCar Series competition in "the best shape of my racing career."

* Will be making his fifth IndyCar Series appearance at Homestead, and record-setting 99th career start
* Recorded best result at Homestead in 2003 finishing fifth
* Claimed best starting position of sixth at Homestead in 2003
* Started 17th and finished ninth at Homestead last season
* Finished in the top 10 in three of four starts at Homestead

Scott Sharp, #8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone:
"I am very excited to be kicking the season off this weekend. There has been lot of anticipation for me personally. Obviously, the relationship between the team and myself is new, but I feel like everything has come together very quickly and very smoothly. It was helpful for us to have had a good test at Homestead last month as you certainly enter the weekend more confident. We'll just work on preparing ourselves for Sunday.

"I consider Homestead to be my hometown race. Even before I moved to Florida, I always enjoyed coming to this track. There is something about a palm tree-lined back straightaway that makes you really feel like you are in southern Florida. With all the friends and family that I have coming to the race, it is going to be an exciting way to kick-off what I feel will be a really strong year for the Delphi Fernandez team."

SCOTT SHARP FAST FACTS: Enters his 10th season of IndyCar Series competition-- is the series' most experienced driver with 98 career starts and a record 90 consecutive starts-- ranked second in IndyCar Series career wins-- career record includes eight wins, five pole positions and 27 top-five finishes-- was the 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion and the 2001 Indianapolis 500 MBNA Pole winner-- 36 years old from Norwalk, Connecticut-- currently resides in Jupiter, Florida.

-fr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp