IRL: Nazareth: Race day notebook

Castroneves Wins Firestone Indy 225 At Nazareth Speedway NAZARETH, Pa., Saturday, Aug. 23, 2003 -- Helio Castroneves won the Firestone Indy 225 by .1697 of a second over Sam Hornish Jr. Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Marlboro Team ...

Castroneves Wins Firestone Indy 225 At Nazareth Speedway

NAZARETH, Pa., Saturday, Aug. 23, 2003 -- Helio Castroneves won the Firestone Indy 225 by .1697 of a second over Sam Hornish Jr.

Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firesotne, led 173 of the 225 laps.


Sarah Fisher has been released from Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., said Dr. Henry Bock, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League. Fisher has a severe back contusion and will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis to determine when she will be cleared to drive.

Fisher, 22, driver of the No. 23 GMAC/AOL/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, spun to the left in Turn 3 and hit the outside retaining wall with the left rear of the car with approximately 10 minutes remaining in the final practice session on Aug. 23.


Tony Kanaan and Tomas Scheckter were involved in an accident in Turn 2 on Lap 120. Alex Barron was involved in an accident in Turn 4 on Lap 200. The drivers were uninjured.



*Helio Castroneves won his second IndyCarTM Series race of the season and the fifth of his IndyCar Series career. His other victories came at: Indianapolis (2001, 2002), Phoenix (2002), Gateway (2003).

*Penske Racing, based in nearby Reading, Pa., now has 118 Indy-style victories.

*The margin of victory for the Firestone Indy 225 was .1697 of a second. It marks the 34th time an IndyCar Series event has had a margin of victory of less than a second.

*A.J. Foyt IV finished 11th, his best career IndyCar Series finish. His previous-best finish was 14th in July at Michigan.

*The top nine drivers in the IndyCar Series point standings are still eligible for the championship. Three races remain: Chicagoland Speedway (Sept. 7), California Speedway (Sept. 21), Texas Motor Speedway (Oct. 12).

*Helio Castroneves now has nine top-five finishes in 2003.

*Sam Hornish Jr. turned the fastest lap of the race on Lap 218 at 20.6862 seconds, 162.717 mph. Hornish finished second, marking the 17th consecutive race that the driver with the fastest lap has not won the race. The last driver to have the fastest lap of the race and win the race was Tomas Scheckter in 2002 at Michigan.



HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "This place here, we've been close so many times. I wanted to win so bad for Marlboro Team Penske. It finally came. It's tough for a driver to have Sam Hornish Jr. behind you. I had a fast car, too. He (Hornish) did a hell of a job, obviously. My team today deserved it so bad. They worked so hard. I'm so happy. That was tough."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Going down the back straightaway, I had a run on the No. 3 car. I didn't have enough to get around him, but it would have been a pretty tough time going around the outside. It is tough racing on this track. It is real tough to pass out there. You have to have a good-handling car. It is good to be out front. I thought that I had him and then the yellow came out, and I thought, 'Oh man that was my chance.' That is part of racing, you have to qualify good. We didn't get a chance to come test here, but the Pennzoil Panther team did an awesome job as far as giving me a good setup to start with and good car to go out there and race. I had one of the fastest cars out there. "

BRYAN HERTA (No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I didn't quite have the speed of the top two guys. For some reason they were just a little bit quicker. Hey, we got third place. It was a great result. This team, we just keep knocking them down like this, and we will win another one. The car was pretty tight we just struggled all weekend to get the car right. This was the best it (the car) has been. The guys did a great job."

GREG RAY (No. 13 TrimSpa Special Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Disappointing for the No. 13 Trim Spa team. The fantastic car we had during warm up didn't translate to the same type of race day. We knew once we had the brake problem in qualifying that made us start in 17th position that it would be very tough for us to start that far back. When you run that far back, there is such a big tunnel of dirty air that it made the car very, very difficult and loose. I was unaware that I couldn't use the 'shift without lift' system with the pit speed limiter on, and it shredded second gear and took the whole gearbox with it."

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "This is one of the most difficult races I've had. We were really having problems with the car being loose. I was just kind of hanging in there, and suddenly we benefited from the misfortune of (Scott) Dixon and Tony (Kanaan), but that is the way it goes sometimes. We'll take the fourth place and go home and try again the next day"

ALEX BARRON (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "The lap prior to the accident, the car felt a little weird in the rear and felt like it would 'sit down' and get a little loose coming off of Turn 3. I tried to get a run on Sam, went to the power, and the rear end just came around on me. The car was really good up until that point. I'm pretty happy with the day up until that incident. We were running really strong. It's so unfortunate that we didn't finish because we really needed a strong finish."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a really good day for Team Conseco. Starting so far back, I got a lap down quick, but the car was decent all day. We lost fifth gear about three-fourths of the way through, so I had to run in sixth. I wish it happened earlier, because I liked not having to worry about shifting."

A.J. FOYT (Owner, A.J. Foyt Racing): "I thought he (Foyt IV) did a good job. He kept his nose clean and was able to finish on a tough track. I'm proud of him."

TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "The car just lost power. There was nothing we could do to start it. About 10 or 15 laps earlier, I lost power for just a short time on the track, but it came back again. It seems like it was some sort of electrical problem. My car got better and better during the race. It was a good idea to switch back to the (Panoz) G Force chassis. I think we could have maybe finished in the top 10. That would have been a successful day after we started from the back."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "People are trying to get a better exit by slamming on the brakes as they enter the corner. You don't get a run on them going into the corner and everybody slams on the brakes. I had nowhere to go."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "When you race close to each other, sometimes that happens. I really don't know what happened, because somebody hit me from behind. Helio (Castroneves) was trying to pass Kenny (Brack), and we all slowed down to try and get into the corner. It looks like Tomas (Scheckter) didn't see me and hit me from the back. It's a tough break, because we really need the points. That's just racing."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Nothing was wrong with the car. We just couldn't get any more spots with how many laps there were to go and how many cars were ahead of us. There is no point in running if we couldn't get any more spots. I just doesn't seem like we are meant to win the championship. We have led so many races and been fastest and then had silly little problems. Team Target and Toyota has done a great job all year. All we can do is try to win some more races."


Helio Castroneves won the Firestone Indy 225 using a Toyota engine. It marks the 10th victory this season for a Toyota engine. Toyota has clinched the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series Engine Manufacturer's Championship.

JIM AUST (Vice President of Motorsports, Toyota): "We're thrilled to clinch Toyota's first IndyCar Series Manufacturer's Championship. We established five goals for our first season in the IndyCar Series, and we've now accomplished our two biggest goals for the season: to win the Indianapolis 500 and to win the Engine Manufacturer's Championship. Helio (Castroneves) ran a terrific race today, and we're one step closer to goal number three: having a Toyota-powered driver become the 2003 IndyCar Series Champion.


The next IRL IndyCar Series event is the Delphi Indy 300 on Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway. Sam Hornish Jr. won the 2002 Chicagoland event. The next IRL Infiniti Pro Series event is the Chicagoland 100 Sept. 6 at Chicagoland Speedway. Aaron Fike won the 2002 Pro Series event at Chicagoland.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Sarah Fisher , Helio Castroneves , A.J. Foyt IV , Tony Kanaan , Alex Barron , Aaron Fike , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , Team Penske