IRL: Indy 500: Scott Sharp race report

Sharp Claims Best Indy 500 Finish Despite Penalty Setback Scott Sharp claimed his best result in 11 starts at the famed Brickyard, finishing seventh in the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500. Sharp, who started third, settled in to a top-10...

Sharp Claims Best Indy 500 Finish Despite Penalty Setback

Scott Sharp claimed his best result in 11 starts at the famed Brickyard, finishing seventh in the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500. Sharp, who started third, settled in to a top-10 pace early in the race. By the halfway point of the 200-lap battle, Sharp had moved into third and looked to be a serious contender for the final 50-lap sprint to the finish. Despite a "tight" race car in the latter stages, Sharp was among the frontrunners until suffering a drive-through penalty for blocking on Lap 181. Sharp fell back to 11th, but worked his way up to seventh in the end.

Scott Sharp, #8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone:

"I want to thank the whole Delphi Fernandez team. There were a few stints before the end where the car was on fire. It was just terrific. We carved our way right up into the top three and really just decided to ride there. It was thrilling to be able to mix it up with the front guys. For some reason, we chased the car a bit after that. It was really tight in traffic and that was our biggest problem. Easily we had one of the fastest if not the fastest car on the track, we just couldn't get close enough to people to get by them. Even at the end when I was trying to get by Dario, I would lose the front. We took a little bit of a gamble at the end with not changing tires and put some wing in it hoping it would free it up but the car was still tight behind guys. This was my best finish here. It could have been a little bit better but we'll keep working on it and we are walking out of here with good points.

On the penalty: "First of all, I am sorry to Buddy [Lazier] and sorry to the team. That put us back a couple of spots at the end. It was the kind of thing that was going on all day long. It happened hugely to me several times and it sort of seemed like that was the way racing was today. I had been held up coming off of Turn Two and moved to the inside. I knew Buddy had a run on me, but he had the whole three or four lanes to the right of me to go by. Instead he chose to take about a half a lane on the inside and I didn't think he was really there and we touched. I thought he had the momentum and was going around the outside. I am glad that we were both able to finish."

SCOTT SHARP FAST FACTS: This was his 103rd IndyCar Series career start and record 95th consecutive start-- claimed two top-five finishes in the first four races of the season -- 2nd in Japan and 5th in Phoenix-- is in his 10th season of IndyCar Series competition-- ranked second in IndyCar Series career wins-- career record includes eight wins, five pole positions and 29 top-five finishes-- was the 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion and the 2001 Indianapolis 500 MBNA Pole winner-- is a former two-time SCCA Trans-Am Champion and three-time SCCA National Champion-- 37 years old from Norwalk, Connecticut-- currently resides in Jupiter, Florida.

Chris Finch, Race Engineer:

"It is not the 500 we were hoping for. We had a really good car going in. It was just a little too tight in traffic to really be able to hang with those guys. As we worked on it throughout the race, we got it dialed in but we were still a little bit tight there at the end. All in all, everyone did a great job. Scott did a great job. He was hard charging the whole way and showed that we have the right stuff."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp