NASHVILLE, TN (July 18, 2003)---Kelley Racing will start tomorrow's Firestone Indy 200 from the 13th and 14th positions with drivers Al Unser Jr. and Scott Sharp. After participating in two 45-minute practice sessions and concentrating mainly on...
NASHVILLE, TN (July 18, 2003)---Kelley Racing will start tomorrow's Firestone Indy 200 from the 13th and 14th positions with drivers Al Unser Jr. and Scott Sharp. After participating in two 45-minute practice sessions and concentrating mainly on race set up, the drivers went out on the 1.33-mile oval to try to squeeze the best speed possible out of their Dallara/Toyota cars in qualifying. Although the drivers weren't pleased with their qualifying results they both feel that the time spent working on race set-up during today's practice will pay off during tomorrow's race. Both drivers will participate in a final warm-up session this evening at 8:30 p.m. and the green flag for tomorrow's 200-lap event will fall tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. CT. The Firestone Indy 200 will be shown live on ESPN 2. Scott Dixon captured today's pole with a speed of 206.211 mph while Helio Castroneves was second with a speed of 205.339 mph and Tora Takagi rounded out the top three with a speed of 205.051 mph.
Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"Our run was pretty good although it wasn't exactly what we truly wanted today. We were here last week during the open test but we didn't run a whole lot because we had a mechanical problem and then we had some weather that kept us off the track. So we spent today working on our race car and our set-up for tomorrow because we really don't have much time since it's a two-day show. The Corteco/Bryant Special is running good in race trim so we're excited for tomorrow's race. The Toyota power has been a really big difference here today. Scott Dixon set the new track record today and that was Toyota power, which is impressive."
Al Unser Jr. Fast Facts
* This will be Unser Jr.'s 317th career start and his 44th IRL start.
*Unser Jr. is currently sixth in the IndyCar Series points standings with 203 points.
*Nashville Record--In 2002 Unser Jr. did not compete at Nashville, Tony Renna substituted for Unser Jr. starting 14th and finishing 10th. In 2001 Unser Jr. started 19th and finished 14th after an accident.
*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).
"The Delphi team is just struggling a little bit here in Nashville. We didn't get the chance to come here and test so we were trying to work out a set-up for qualifying from this mornings practice and that is tough to do with the competition being so steep in the IndyCar Series. We worked really hard on the race car this morning. We knew since we hadn't tested here that we probably weren't shooting for the pole so hopefully our race car work will pay off in dividends during tomorrow's race. I think we've got a pretty good race car so we'll have to see how it goes tomorrow." "
Scott Sharp Fast Facts
*This will be Sharp's 75th career start and his sixth season with Kelley Racing.
*Nashville Record--In 2002, he started 11th and finished eighth, while in 2001 he started 13th and finished fifth.
*Sharp is currently in seventh place in the IndyCar Series with 176 points.
*Sharp's victory in April at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan was his eighth career victory.