IRL: Nashville: Elan Motorsports race report

Sharp's consistency yields fourth place finish at Nashville SMYRNA, TN - Indy Racing League veteran Scott Sharp used his ...

Sharp's consistency yields fourth place finish at Nashville

SMYRNA, TN - Indy Racing League veteran Scott Sharp used his #8 Delphi/Fernandez Panoz/Honda/Firestone's excellent handling capabilities to finish fourth in tonight's Firestone Indy 200 on the 1.33-mile concrete Nashville Superspeedway oval.

Coming from eighth on the 23-car grid, Sharp "didn't have a lot of grip in the car early on, but we made some tire pressure and front wing adjustments that got our Panoz going. This is a tough track, really slippery and hard to pass," Sharp acknowledged, "but we got really racy there, good on our restarts. We had to be very patient and pick the moments to get our passes done and it was a lot of fun," he exclaimed.

"This was a great finish for us as it got us back on track in the points," Sharp said. He lies sixth in the standings, only 23 points out of fifth. This is his first season driving a Panoz and the Connecticut native has been more competitive than in recent years, setting tonight's fastest race lap of 201.130mph on the 93rd tour. The Firestone Indy 200 was Sharp's 99th consecutive start and he is excited about next weekend's contest at Milwaukee: "Our short track setup really rocks. I can't wait for Milwaukee."

Scott Dixon tied his best finish of the 2005 season with sixth place in the #9 Target Panoz/Toyota. The Kiwi's Panoz handled well all night "and this result is certainly something to build on. I struggled on the final two restarts (there were five total cautions) at the end there because we decided to only take on fuel" and could not keep up with the drivers who changed tires on their final stops.

Rookie Danica Patrick finished her eighth consecutive IndyCar Series race in seventh place tonight and her #16 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz/Honda led nine of the 200 laps, thanks to fuel strategy and a prescient yellow that occurred precisely when she needed to pit. Patrick discovered that "as I get to the end of a fuel run I picked off a few people. The balance of the car came to me."

Dixon's teammate rookie Ryan Briscoe earned his best finish of the season, bringing the #33 Target Panoz/Toyota to the checkered flags eighth. "I had a great car today; there was some push at the start but we fixed that in the early stops," Briscoe related.

The Indy cars travel to The Milwaukee Mile next weekend for the tenth stop in a 17-race campaign.

-elan motorsports

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Scott Dixon , Ryan Briscoe , Danica Patrick