IRL: Richmond: Pre-race notes, schedule

SunTrust Indy Challenge, seventh race in 16-race 2003 season; second IndyCar( Series night event of the season Richmond International Raceway, .75-mile D-shaped asphalt oval Race: 8 p.m. (EDT), Saturday, June 28 250 laps/187.5 miles TV: Race:...

SunTrust Indy Challenge, seventh race in 16-race 2003 season; second IndyCar( Series night event of the season
Richmond International Raceway, .75-mile D-shaped asphalt oval

Race: 8 p.m. (EDT), Saturday, June 28
250 laps/187.5 miles

TV:
Race: ESPN, 8 p.m. (EDT), June 28; "IRL2Day": ESPN, 6:30 p.m. (EDT), June 28

RADIO:
Pre-race: IMS Radio Network, 7:30 p.m. (EDT), June 28
Race: IMS Radio Network, 8 p.m. (EDT), June 28

SCHEDULE (all times local):

Friday, June 27
9 a.m. - IndyCar Series garage opens
Noon-1:30 p.m. - IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
3-4:30 p.m. - IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
5:30 p.m. - MBNA Pole Qualifying
7 p.m. - Autograph session
9-9:30 p.m. - Final IndyCar Series practice (All cars)

Saturday, June 28
1 p.m. - IndyCar Series garage opens
7 p.m. - Grid IndyCar Series cars
8 p.m. - SunTrust Indy Challenge (250 laps/187.5 miles), ESPN and IMS Radio Network

THE TRACK:
.75-mile D-shaped asphalt oval; 58 feet wide (minimum)
Frontstraight: 1,290 feet banked at 8 degrees
Backstraight: 860 feet banked at 2 degrees
Turns: Banked at 14 degrees
Width: 60 feet

Richmond International Raceway was originally a half-mile oval that began playing host to dirt races in the 1940s. The surface was paved in 1968, and the present racing facility was redesigned in September 1988 and reconstructed on the site of the half-mile track. The raceway has played host to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series since 1953 and the IRL IndyCar Series since 2001. Recently, the track underwent a facelift that increased the seating capacity to 105,000 and added more luxury suites. The track also has a renovated media center, new concrete pit boxes, new inside retaining wall on the backstretch and a new pedestrian walkway.

RACE NOTES:

SunTrust Indy Challenge:

-- Five Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the SunTrust Indy Challenge: Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994), Buddy Lazier (1996), Kenny Brack (1999), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002) and Gil de Ferran (2003).

-- Five IRL IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the SunTrust Indy Challenge: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Kenny Brack (1998), Greg Ray (1999), Buddy Lazier (2000) and Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002). A.J. Foyt IV, the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series champion and grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, also will participate in the SunTrust Indy Challenge.

-- The SunTrust Indy Challenge is the second of three IndyCar Series events that will be conducted at night in 2003. Al Unser Jr. won the Bombardier 500 under the lights June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway, and the Firestone Indy 200 on July 19 at Nashville Superspeedway is also a night race.

-- Former SunTrust Indy Challenge winners Buddy Lazier (2001) and Sam Hornish Jr. (2002) are expected to compete in the 2003 event.

-- At .75 of a mile, Richmond International Raceway is the smallest track on which the IRL IndyCar Series competes. It's the only track shorter than 1 mile in the series.

SERIES NOTES:

IndyCar Series:

-- The four events in the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series season that have finished under green have featured a margin of victory of less than one second, including the Bombardier 500 on June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway where Al Unser Jr. defeated Tony Kanaan by .0810 of a second, the eighth-closest finish in IRL IndyCar Series history. The Texas race was the 31st time that an IndyCar Series event had a margin of victory of less than a second.

-- In six races thus far in 2003, there have been five different winners. Scott Dixon is the only multiple winner, having won at Homestead-Miami and Pikes Peak. Other winners in 2003 were Tony Kanaan at Phoenix, Scott Sharp at Motegi, Gil de Ferran at Indianapolis and Al Unser Jr. at Texas. In those six races, 14 different drivers have finished in the top five in at least one event.

-- Scott Dixon won the Toyota Indy 300 on March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in his first IRL IndyCar Series event. The only other times a driver has won the race in his first start was when Juan Montoya won the 84th Indianapolis 500 in 2000 and when Buzz Calkins won the inaugural series event in January 1996 at Orlando, Fla. Montoya drove for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, as does Dixon.

-- Buddy Rice has been running at the finish of all 11 of the IndyCar Series events he has competed in since his series debut in July 2002 at Michigan. He is the only driver to be running at the finish in his first 11 events. The record for most consecutive races running at the finish was 18 set by Sam Hornish Jr. from March 2001-May 2002.

-- Tony Kanaan has led at least one lap in every IRL IndyCar Series event this season, the only driver to achieve the feat. But he has led only two laps in the last two races. He led one lap at Texas and one lap at Pikes Peak. Scott Dixon has led at least one lap in every race except the Bombardier 500 at Texas.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , A.J. Foyt IV , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing