INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 24, 2001 - Scott Sharp has shown plenty of speed on the racetrack this month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and his Kelley Racing team did the same in the pits to win the Coors Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge on May...
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 24, 2001 - Scott Sharp has shown plenty of speed on the racetrack this month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and his Kelley Racing team did the same in the pits to win the Coors Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge on May 24.
MBNA Pole winner Sharp and Kelley Racing teamed up to collect $42,500 of the total purse of $80,000 in the 25th annual pit-stop contest as part of Coors Carb Day, the final practice before the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. The American Red Cross received $5,000 of Kelley's winning sum.
"The Delphi guys have been practicing, and it really paid off," Sharp said. "But there's one more race we have to concentrate on. The whole Kelley team has been practicing night after night, and it's great they can come out here and show what they've got."
Kelley Racing, with Sharp behind the wheel, defeated six-time Challenge winner Galles Racing and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. in the final, completing a four-tire change and a five-second simulated fueling in 9.20 seconds in the Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Galles and Unser were runners-up at 12.67 in the Galles Racing Starz SuperPak Budweiser G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone.
The best time of the four-round contest delivered the first Challenge victory for Kelley Racing, founded in 1998. Galles is tied with Penske Racing for the most wins in the 25-year history of the Challenge, with six apiece.
"These guys worked very, very hard," said Robert Perez, Sharp's crew chief. "We started in November getting things orchestrated and getting guys in the right place on pit stops. We'd been ridiculed a bit on pit stops. One goal was to get the right guys in the right place for pit stops. This is a dream come true."
The victory also kept the team and Sharp perfect in major events during the month of May at the Speedway. Besides winning the contest and the MBNA Pole, Sharp was the fastest driver earlier today in the final practice. "To have the pole and to beat teams like Penske and Rick Galles and the great teams of the Indy Racing League, it's been a dream month," team owner Tom Kelley said. "I told the guys to just go out there and give it the best they've got. It's a real pleasure to beat Galles Racing." It appeared the legendary Galles and Penske teams might meet for a showdown in the final round. But two Penske cars, driven by Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran, lost in the semifinals.
Galles narrowly defeated Penske and Castroneves by a time of 9.47 seconds to 9.74 seconds. The Kelley team used a stop of 9.31 seconds to beat Penske and de Ferran, whose car stalled in the pit box.