BROOKLYN, Mich (July 25, 2003)---Kelley Racing drivers Scott Sharp and Al Unser Jr. opened the weekend for the Firestone Indy 400 with two practice sessions today at the 2-mile oval of Michigan International Speedway. Both drivers ran reasonably...
BROOKLYN, Mich (July 25, 2003)---Kelley Racing drivers Scott Sharp and Al Unser Jr. opened the weekend for the Firestone Indy 400 with two practice sessions today at the 2-mile oval of Michigan International Speedway. Both drivers ran reasonably well and are looking forward to the season's first 400-mile event on Sunday. For Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, this is the first time he has raced at Michigan International Speedway since 1999 and he is very pleased to be back and as he says "It's the same old Michigan." For Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry, this is as close as it gets to a hometown race for his primary sponsor Delphi. Sharp is anticipating a busy weekend both on the track and off as Delphi entertains one of their largest groups of the season for the Firestone Indy 400 weekend. In today's practice Sam Hornish Jr. set the fastest time at 32.1977 seconds/ 223.618 mph, while Kenny Brack was second at 32.2894 seconds/222.983 mph and Scott Dixon rounded out the top three at 32.3605 seconds/222.493 mph. The green flag for the Firestone Indy 400 will drop Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET with the 200-lap race set to air live on ABC.
Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"The Corteco/Bryant special is running great. It's great to be back at Michigan! It's been a long time since I've run here; in fact 1999 was the last time I'd raced here at Michigan. They've done a lot to the facility inside and outside of the track but the track itself hasn't changed at all, it's still the same old Michigan. I haven't noticed a big difference at all between the Champ Car and the IndyCar Series car. The Corteco car is running really good so we'll keep working on it tomorrow. Sunday will be a big drafting game so we'll how things sort out in the race."
Al Unser Jr. Fast Facts
This will be Unser Jr.'s 318th career start and his 45th IRL start.
Unser Jr. is currently sixth in the IndyCar Series points standings with 227 points.
Michigan Record--In 2002 Unser Jr. did not compete at Michigan, Tony Renna substituted for Unser Jr. starting 10th and finishing fourth. Unser Jr. has one previous win at Michigan, in 1989 while driving in the Champ Car Series.
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
"Today was a pretty good day for the Delphi guys. We're working on the race car and we're more worried about getting a good race setup than really trying to go fast in qualifying. Without coming here to test it's difficult to try and fine tune the car and we don't have as much speed as we would like for qualifying. But hopefully by working with the car in the draft we'll be in good shape for Sunday."
Scott Sharp Fast Facts
This will be Sharp's 76th career start and his sixth season with Kelley Racing.
Michigan Record--In 2002, he started 16th and finished ninth
Sharp is currently in seventh place in the IndyCar Series with 193 points.
Sharp's victory in April at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan was his eighth career victory.