MOTEGI, Japan (April 13, 2003)--- Kelley Racing scored its first victory of the season today and driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry Scott Sharp scored his eighth career victory at the inaugural Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan.
MOTEGI, Japan (April 13, 2003)--- Kelley Racing scored its first victory of the season today and driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry Scott Sharp scored his eighth career victory at the inaugural Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan. Sharp, who started seventh, ran in the top five for most of the event and after a late caution was running in third place. After a late restart in the race there was an accident between the leaders, Kanaan and Dixon, and Sharp assumed the lead. Sharp then continued in the lead through the final laps of the race, which were run under yellow and finished the 200-lap event in first place. Joining Scott Sharp on the podium were Kenny Brack in second place and Felipe Giaffone in third place.
Al Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, also had a very good race and for a while, it appeared the Kelley Racing cars would finish the race in second and third place. Unser Jr., who started eighth, ran in the top ten for most of the day and had worked his way up into third position by the last part of the race. On the final restart Unser Jr. got caught in traffic and dropped back to fifth. When the final yellow fell on lap 193, Unser Jr., was in fifth place and remained there through the final laps of the event.
The Kelley Racing team will now return to Indianapolis to prepare for three days of testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 21-23. The test will include CureAutismNow/HomeMed Pharmacy driver Tony Renna participating in his rookie orientation April 21. The Kelley Racing teams next race will be held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 25.
Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"The first thing I want to do is congratulate my teammate Scott Sharp on a great job. Today was a very busy race. There were quite a lot of wrecks out there. Everybody was taking their chances, but I'm glad that on our side, the Corteco car ran brilliantly today and we made it through the carnage. I really like Twin Ring Motegi. I think it's got great challenges and that it's very unique in its configuration and its setup and different than any oval we run in America. It's been a fun time in Japan, and I'm really looking forward to the Indy 500."
Laps Completed: 200 of 200
Points Earned: 30 for 79 total, sixth overall in points standings
* Today was Al's 311th start of his career and his 38th IRL start.
Scott Sharp -- #8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"I said when I first ran this track that I loved Twin Ring Motegi, and now I love it even more! It was a wild race! I thought today was going to be a great race, and it was. There was a lot of clean side by side racing today and the racing was really tight. I'm not surprised there were quite a few accidents but there was a lot of good racing as well. The Delphi guys did a great job today. I had a good car and I'm just really proud of the job everybody did today. It's nice to have this momentum going into Indianapolis."
Laps Completed: 200 of 200
Points Earned: 50 for 106 total, first in points standings
* Today was Scott's 69th start of his career and his eighth career victory. Sharp is now tied for career victories in the IRL with Buddy Lazier and Sam Hornish Jr. Sharp has also posted at least one victory in each season of IRL competition.