IRL: Pikes Peak: GM Racing race report

Hornish drives Chevy to first top-five finish in 2003 FOUNTAIN, Colo., June 15, 2003 - Sam Hornish Jr. showed the skill and determination of a champion today, scoring his and Chevrolet's best result of the season with a fifth-place finish in the...

Hornish drives Chevy to first top-five finish in 2003

FOUNTAIN, Colo., June 15, 2003 - Sam Hornish Jr. showed the skill and determination of a champion today, scoring his and Chevrolet's best result of the season with a fifth-place finish in the Pikes Peak Indy 225. Hornish battled back from losing a lap to finish on the lead lap of the 225-mile race on the Pikes Peak International Raceway 1-mile oval. Scott Dixon won in a Toyota G Force under caution when Roger Yasukawa crashed five laps from the finish.

"Today was a good day," Hornish declared. "We had a really good handling car and we did what we knew we had to do. We come here every year and put as much downforce on the car as we can because if you can run flat, you're going to be fast around here."

"We should have been up a little higher, but it was our best finish of the year so we can't be upset about that," Hornish added. "The team gave me everything they could, and Chevy keeps working away to find more power."

Hornish lost a lap to the leaders when his car ran out of fuel on lap 81, forcing him to coast for nearly a full lap into the pits. He was able to overtake the leaders on the 127th circuit and race to the finish.

"We were having a problem because the fuel tank said one thing and the car's computer said another thing as far as how much fuel we were using," he explained. "We weren't sure which one to use. We were going to pit, but it ran out when we didn't expect it. It was a long day but we did everything we could."

Buddy Rice finished ninth, notching his second top-10 finish of the season in Red Bull Cheever Racing's Chevrolet Dallara and extending his streak of running at the finish of every event this year.

"We had a good result today," said Rice. "We finished in the top 10, and we're happy with our new Chevy engine package. It ran well all weekend and helped to give us a good race car to work with. When we get everything worked out, and with the things that GM is planning, we'll be ready to run up front. It was good warm-up going into Richmond."

Buddy Lazier scored his first top-10 finish of the season in his home state. Lazier brought Hemelgarn Racing's Victory Brand/Delta Faucet/Life Fitness Chevrolet Dallara home in 10th place.

"We were hoping to get a restart after the last caution because we could have picked off another car or two before the finish," said Lazier, who won at PPIR in 2001. "In hindsight we would have done a few things differently and improved quite a bit. It's a top-10 finish - not what we want, we want to be in the top-five and winning, but it's a step in the right direction."

Vitor Meira finished 16th in Team Menard's Johns Manville Chevrolet Dallara in his first race at the mile-high track.

"We have to work harder on these short ovals," Meira said. "Our speed is good, but we are hard on tires. We were quick on new rubber, but when the tires had a lot of laps on them we would lose performance. We have to work on our long runs."

Sarah Fisher was sidelined on Lap 141 by a malfunctioning throttle switch, a mandatory safety device intended to shut off the engine if the throttle sticks.

"When I was coming through Turns 3 and 4, my throttle switch stuck and shut off, ending our day," Fisher reported. "My Chevy engine stayed solid throughout the race, and we were able to pass people and move up through the field."

Chevy IRL teams will take on the challenging .75-mile oval at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, June 28. The Suntrust Indy Challenge, the seventh round of the 16-race IndyCar Series, will be televised on ESPN at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Track: Pikes Peak International Raceway, 1-mile oval
Winner: Scott Dixon/Target Ganassi Racing Toyota G Force
Margin of Victory: Under caution
Average Speed: 146.210 mph
Pole: Tony Kanaan/Honda, 180.232 mph (starting grid determined by practice speed)
Fastest Lap: Tony Kanaan/Honda, 173.857 mph

1. Scott Dixon/Toyota, 225
2. Tony Kanaan/Honda, 225
3. Gil de Ferran/Toyota, 225
4. Dario Franchitti/Honda, 225
5. Sam Hornish Jr./Chevrolet, 225

9. Buddy Rice/Chevrolet, 223
10. Buddy Lazier/Chevrolet, 223
15. Robbie Buhl/Chevrolet, 223
16. Vitor Meira/Chevrolet, 223
20. Sarah Fisher/Chevrolet, 141

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after 6 of 16 events)
Driver/Engine/Points (victories in parentheses)

1. Tony Kanaan/Honda, 217 (1)
2. Scott Dixon/Toyota, 168 (2)
3. Al Unser Jr./Toyota, 167 (1)
Helio Castroneves/Toyota, 167
Gil de Ferran/Toyota, 167 (1)
6. Kenny Brack/Honda, 161

Manufacturer/Points (victories in parentheses)
1. Toyota, 57 (5)
2. Honda, 45 (1)
3. Chevrolet, 30


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Al Unser Jr. , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Roger Yasukawa , Buddy Rice , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing