IRL: Phoenix: Kelley Racing race report

PHOENIX, Arizona (March 23, 2003)--- Phoenix International Raceway lived up to it's reputation as a bullring today with only 12 cars running at the end of the 200 lap event. Kelley Racing drivers Scott Sharp and Al Unser Jr. kept things exciting...

PHOENIX, Arizona (March 23, 2003)--- Phoenix International Raceway lived up to it's reputation as a bullring today with only 12 cars running at the end of the 200 lap event. Kelley Racing drivers Scott Sharp and Al Unser Jr. kept things exciting with Unser Jr. going from 20th to 11th on the first green lap. Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco car, ran in the top-ten most of the day and by utilizing an unconventional pit strategy and topping off his fuel on the last two yellow flags, he eventually finished the day in fourth place. Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry, kept his pit crew busy with two front wing changes during the race. Sharp was running close with Robbie Buhl and clipped his front wing, requiring a front wing assembly change. Shortly after that, Jacques Lazier spun in front of Sharp and Sharp was able to avoid major contact but clipped his front wing a second time. Despite the additional pit stops, Sharp brought his No. 8 Delphi entry home in seventh place.

Tony Kanaan won today's event after starting from the pole while Helio Castroneves finished second and Felipe Giaffone finished third. The Kelley Racing team will now return to Indianapolis to prepare for their next race, which will be held at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan on April 13.

Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone

"Kelley Racing gave me a great car today. We had some great re-starts and that put us in a position to run with the leaders. The Corteco team had a great strategy for the race and I just want to thank the crew for giving me such a good car. We had struggled a bit this weekend and we made quite a few changes and we were able to help our racecar. We also made some adjustments during the race and that helped it even more. I was a little loose at the start of the race but we got a yellow pretty quickly and I was able to take some front wing out and the Corteco car ran great the rest of the day."

Start: 20th
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 200 of 200
Points Earned: 32 for 49 total

* Today was Al's 310th start of his career and his 37th IRL start and his seventh top-five at Phoenix.

Scott Sharp -- #8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone

"It was a long and rough day today but then, Phoenix always is that way. This track is defined as a bit of a bullring and today it sure was one. There were a lot of cautions and quite a few accidents. The Delphi team just hung in there all day today. Unfortunately, I got real close to Robbie Buhl and clipped my right front wing so we had to come in and replace the front wing assembly. Right after that Jacques Lazier spun in front of me and I thought I was going to hit him, but I locked the brakes up and it barely clipped the wing but it was enough that we had to come in a second time for a wing replacement. Today was a tough day, but the Delphi team persevered and we were able to collect points and now we'll move on to Japan."

Start: 11th
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 200 of 200
Points Earned: 26 for 56 total

* Today was Scott's 68th start of his career.

-www.kelleyracing.com-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Robbie Buhl , Scott Sharp , Jaques Lazier  , Tony Kanaan