IRL: Nazareth: Pre-race notes, schedule

WHAT: Firestone Indy 225, 13th race in 16-race 2003 season WHERE: Nazareth Speedway, 1-mile asphalt oval WHEN: 3 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 24 DISTANCE: 225 laps/225 miles CARS: Dallara and Panoz G Force chassis; Chevrolet Indy V8, Honda...

WHAT:
Firestone Indy 225, 13th race in 16-race 2003 season

WHERE:
Nazareth Speedway, 1-mile asphalt oval

WHEN:
3 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 24

DISTANCE:
225 laps/225 miles

CARS:
Dallara and Panoz G Force chassis; Chevrolet Indy V8, Honda Indy V-8 and Toyota Indy V8 engines; Firestone tires

TV:
Pre-race: ESPN2 (live), "Indy Racing 2Day,"noon (EDT), Aug. 24
Race: ESPN (live), 3 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 24

RADIO:
Qualifying wrap-up show: IMS Radio Network, 5:30 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 23 Pre-race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 24
Race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 24 Area affiliates: WAEB-AM 790, Allentown, Pa.

SCHEDULE (all times local; subject to change):

Friday, Aug. 22
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
2:30-4 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)

Saturday, Aug. 23
9-10 a.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
11:30 a.m. IndyCar Series MBNA Pole Qualifying
4:30-5 p.m. IndyCar Series final practice

Sunday, Aug. 24
3 p.m. Firestone Indy 225 (225 laps/225 miles) ESPN & IMS Radio Network (live)

THE TRACK:
1-mile asphalt oval; 50-60 feet wide
Frontstraight: 800 feet banked at 3 degrees
Backstraight: 1,200 feet banked at 2.7 degrees
Turns: banked at 3-6 degrees
Elevation change: 34 feet

*Nazareth Speedway opened in 1966 as a 1 1/8th-mile, D-shaped oval. The facility was rebuilt into a 1-mile asphalt oval in 1986 when Roger Penske bought the facility, and Michael Andretti won the first Indy-style event at "Pennsylvania International Raceway" in 1987. In 1993, the name was changed to Nazareth Speedway, and in 1997 the track underwent more major changes. State-of-the-art high-rise grandstands, creating 10,000 additional prime seats and a new "skyline" for Nazareth, replaced the grandstands on the frontstretch. The bleachers were removed, the retaining wall of the frontstretch was replaced, and in 1998 the remaining wall along the backstretch was replaced. During winter 1998 and spring 1999, the media center and infield medical center were doubled in size. In 1999, Nazareth Speedway and Penske Motorsports merged with International Speedway Corporation, making the track part of the world's largest motorsports entertainment company.

*The speedway has 37,424 permanent seats.

*Scott Sharp won the inaugural IndyCar Series event at the track on April 21, 2001.

INDYCAR SERIES NOTES:

*Five Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the Firestone Indy 225: Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994), Buddy Lazier (1996), Kenny Brack (1999), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002) and Gil de Ferran (2003).

*Five IRL IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Firestone Indy 225: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Kenny Brack (1998), Greg Ray (1999), Buddy Lazier (2000) and Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002).

*Drivers entered in the Firestone Indy 225 have combined for 109 IRL or CART victories, 93 pole positions and 1,589 starts.

*The Firestone Indy 225 will be the third and final event in 2003 contested on a 1-mile track. Winners in 2003 on 1-mile tracks: Tony Kanaan (Phoenix International Raceway), Scott Dixon (Pikes Peak International Raceway).

*Scott Sharp won the inaugural Nazareth IndyCar Series event last year when leader Gil de Ferran ran out of fuel on the final lap of the 225-mile race. De Ferran slowed exiting Turn 2, letting Sharp's No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone pass for the victory.

*Six of the eight events in the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series season that have finished under green have featured a margin of victory of less than one second, including the Firestone Indy 400 on July 27 at Michigan International Speedway. Alex Barron defeated Sam Hornish Jr. at Michigan by .0121 of a second, the fourth-closest finish in IRL IndyCar Series history. A total of 33 IndyCar Series events have had a margin of victory of less than a second.

*In 12 races thus far in 2003, there have been nine different winners, tying the record set in 1996-97 and 2002. Scott Dixon and Gil de Ferran are the only multiple winners. Dixon won at Homestead-Miami, Pikes Peak and Richmond, and de Ferran won at Indianapolis and Nashville. Other winners in 2003: Tony Kanaan (Phoenix), Scott Sharp (Motegi), Al Unser Jr. (Texas), Bryan Herta (Kansas), Alex Barron (Michigan), Helio Castroneves (Gateway), and Sam Hornish Jr. (Kentucky). In those 12 races, 16 different drivers have finished in the top five in at least one event.

*Scott Dixon became the first driver in IRL IndyCar Series history to lead consecutive laps throughout three consecutive races. He led the last 84 laps June 15 en route to a victory at Pikes Peak and led all 206 laps of the rain-shortened SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 28 at Richmond. He then led the first 53 laps on July 7 at Kansas for a total of 343 consecutive laps led.

*Scott Dixon earned his third career IRL IndyCar Series victory June 28 at Richmond in only his seventh series start, tying the record set by Helio Castroneves at the 2002 Indianapolis 500.

*The average speed for the Belterra Casino Indy 300 Aug. 17 at Kentucky was 197.897 mph, the fastest average speed in the history of the IRL IndyCar Series. The previous record was 180.917 mph set when Alex Barron won the July 27 race at Michigan International Speedway.

*Scott Sharp will attempt to start his 71st consecutive IndyCar Series race at Nazareth. Sharp broke the record for most consecutive starts Aug. 17 in Kentucky. Eddie Cheever Jr. and Buddy Lazier held the record with 70. Both drivers' streaks ended when they did not compete at the season-opener at Homestead. Sharp has started every IRL IndyCar Series event since Walt Disney World in 1998.

*Sam Hornish Jr. set an IndyCar Series record at Kentucky by winning his ninth career race.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Alex Barron , Roger Penske , Sam Hornish Jr.