IRL: Phoenix: FR, Scott Sharp preview

Sharp to Make 100th IRL IndyCar® Series Start at Phoenix Scott Sharp is preparing to make his milestone 100th IndyCar Series career start this Saturday as the series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200.

Sharp to Make 100th IRL IndyCar® Series Start at Phoenix

Scott Sharp is preparing to make his milestone 100th IndyCar Series career start this Saturday as the series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200. Sharp, who is in his 10th year of IndyCar Series competition, is the only driver to have competed in every season since the IRL's inception in 1996, contesting 99 of a possible 104 races including a record-setting 91 consecutive starts.

Sharp, who made his debut in the IRL's inaugural race at Disney World in 1996 (and was co-champion that year), is ranked second in IndyCar Series wins with eight behind Sam Hornish Jr. His career record includes five pole positions, 27 top-five finishes and 51 top-10 finishes.

Phoenix Statistics:
* Will be making his 10th start at Phoenix in the IndyCar Series
* Was the 1998 Phoenix race winner
* Has finished in the top five on four occasions at Phoenix, including second in 1996
* Best starting position at Phoenix was third in 2000

Scott Sharp, #8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone:

On his 100th IndyCar Series start: "It is hard to believe that it will be 100 races this Saturday. Literally, it feels like half of that. As competitive as I am, you take each race one at a time and strive to win each one, and it is hard to believe it has accumulated to 100 now. That is pretty amazing. At the same time, it has been really exciting to see the growth that the IRL has experienced and the level of competition it has reached."

On competing at PIR: "I have always really enjoyed Phoenix. It is a thrilling track when the car is working well, and it can be incredibly daunting when the car is a bit of a handful. Sadly, that has been my case the past two years. It was really refreshing to go to the Phoenix test with the Delphi Fernandez team and test well and have a solid car. The team made great changes and I really felt that we had a strong test. It really pumps me up again to go back to race there this weekend."

On the start of the season: "I am just thrilled with the whole opportunity with Delphi Fernandez Racing. It is really the opportunity that I have been waiting for my entire IndyCar career. Everybody on the team is so committed and focused and I think that transcends to the end product. We had a really great weekend in Homestead. It was our first race together. While we didn't win, we were certainly in a position to finish in the top five. Unfortunately, we got caught up in the big wreck along with a lot of other drivers. We qualified well, practiced well and ended up racing real well. That gives us a lot of momentum for the rest of the season."

SCOTT SHARP FAST FACTS: Enters his 10th season of IndyCar Series competition-- is the series' most experienced driver with 99 career starts and a record 91 consecutive starts-- ranked second in IndyCar Series career wins-- career record includes eight wins, five pole positions and 27 top-five finishes-- was the 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion and the 2001 Indianapolis 500 MBNA Pole winner-- is a former two-time SCCA Trans-Am Champion and three-time SCCA National Champion-- 37 years old from Norwalk, Connecticut-- currently resides in Jupiter, Florida.

-www.delphifernandezracing.net

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Sam Hornish Jr.