IRL: Phoenix: FR, Sharp race report

Sharp Charges to Fifth at Phoenix Scott Sharp made his 100th IRL IndyCar Series career start a memorable one today, claiming his first top-five finish since 2003 [fourth at Michigan]. After qualifying ninth for the XM Satellite Radio Indy ...

Sharp Charges to Fifth at Phoenix

Scott Sharp made his 100th IRL IndyCar Series career start a memorable one today, claiming his first top-five finish since 2003 [fourth at Michigan]. After qualifying ninth for the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200, Sharp overcame a fuel mechanism malfunction on his first pit stop to move into the top-five just past the halfway point of the 200-lap sprint at Phoenix International Raceway. The finish, his 28th top-five IndyCar result, moves Sharp into eighth in the championship point standings, only five points out of fifth at this early stage in the season.

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

"I want to thank the whole Delphi Fernandez team. The guys gave me some great pit stops. For a while there we were one of the fastest cars on the track and tried to reel in the Penske's, but then we just got a little bit unlucky in some traffic prior to our last pit stop. It was nice passing people and being able to run with the leaders. This was a good top-five finish and gets us going in the points championship. I really feel it is an honor to have started 100 of these no doubt but, as I have said all along, it is all about the results for me and I would trade 100 starts for 10 wins any day. That is what today was about. I recognized that it was the 100th race but it was more that we had a good car -- we were second quick in warm up -- and that was what the whole focus was for me. We are pleased with a top-five finish at a bull-ring like this."

John Ward, Race Engineer:

"We had a pretty good weekend overall from beginning to end. We have been looking for a good one-mile oval setup as a team, and we are on our way. We are not perfect yet, and know we can make it a little bit better. We have a very good race car with both guys, Scott and Kosuke [Matsuura]. Scott ended up fifth and we had a good run. A couple of things didn't go our way and to do better, you need to have everything go your way. We are happy we got some points with fifth, a reward for all of our hard work, and I think we are going to do nothing but get better from here."

Adrian Fernandez, Team Owner:

"Well, this is the first time that I am behind the scenes with the team. Apart from the hiccup we had with the fuel [fuel mechanism malfunctioned during Sharp's first pit stop], it went pretty smooth. To be honest, now I realize why I won so many races because I have such a good team and a good organization. They are very good and really on it. It is interesting to see what happens behind the scenes when you are not driving and the guys are really on top of everything. I am very proud of them and I am very proud of Scott and the job that he is doing. I am also very proud of Kosuke [Matsuura]. I think this is one of his best one-mile oval races and this will boost his confidence. It is a shame for him that on the last set of tires the car went loose for some reason when we didn't change anything. He drove really well. Everyone worked really hard. We had two cars in the top ten which is a good result for us especially after what happened in Homestead. It is good for Kosuke. He realized what happened, and put his head down and drove hard and clean. For me, I feel like a little dog with no bone, but I am very proud of the guys, and I'm enjoying time with my wife, Catalina, right now and having fun seeing the team running really well."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Adrian Fernandez