IRL: Series notes and statistics prior to Richmond

SERIES NOTES: At 21, Sam Hornish Jr. became the youngest driver to win an Indy Racing League event with his victory at the season opener March 18 in Phoenix. He followed that with a win at Homestead-Miami on April 8 and became the fourth driver...

SERIES NOTES:

At 21, Sam Hornish Jr. became the youngest driver to win an Indy Racing League event with his victory at the season opener March 18 in Phoenix. He followed that with a win at Homestead-Miami on April 8 and became the fourth driver in Indy Racing history to win consecutive races. Greg Ray was the last driver to win consecutive races (Dover, Pikes Peak - 1999).

The Indy Racing Northern Light Series will consist of a record 13 races this year between mid-March and late September. In addition to Richmond, Va., five new markets for the Northern Light Series will play host to events in 2001: Chicago, Miami, St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., Nashville, Tenn.

Sarah Fisher's second-place finish at Homestead-Miami on April 8 was her career best and the best by a woman in the history of Indy-style racing.

The Indy Racing League will not award qualifying points this year in an effort to discourage teams from building fragile but fast qualifying engines that provide an advantage over those teams lacking the budget to build the costly extra engines.

Rookie Felipe Giaffone is the only driver who has finished in the top 10 at every Indy Racing event in 2001. He finished a career-best second at Texas and scored another top-five finish with a fourth at Homestead-Miami. Giaffone is fifth in the overall point standings, 63 points behind series leader Sam Hornish Jr. Giaffone leads the Rookie of the Year race with 166 points while Didier Andre is second with 64 points.

While Sam Hornish, Jr. holds a 56-point lead in the overall point standings over second place Eliseo Salazar, only seven points separate Salazar from rookie Felipe Giaffone in fifth place. Salazar has 173 points, Scott Sharp has 171, defending series champion Buddy Lazier has 167, and Giaffone has 166.

Scott Sharp's victory on June 9 at Texas was his sixth career Indy Racing League victory, the most of any driver. Sharp has earned at least one victory in five consecutive seasons. Sharp's victory also marked the second time this season that a driver successfully defended an event title. Greg Ray won April 28 in Atlanta for the second straight year.

Greg Ray has won 12 career MBNA Poles, a series record. He has three poles in 2001 with his most recent pole coming June 16 at Pikes Peak. He has started in the top four in 23 of the last 25 Indy Racing events.

Should Eddie Cheever Jr. and Buddy Lazier both start the SunTrust Indy Challenge, they will tie Davey Hamilton's record for most consecutive starts in Indy Racing Northern Light Series competition. Hamilton started 48 consecutive races from the inaugural Indy Racing event in 1996 until the Casino Magic 500 at Texas Motor Speedway June 9. Injuries suffered at Texas have put him out of competition. Cheever and Lazier already share the record of most career starts with Hamilton at 48. Both Cheever and Lazier missed the second event in Indy Racing League history, in March 1996 in Phoenix.

Buzz Calkins has the longest active streak in Indy Racing of running at the finish, running in the last eight races dating back to Kentucky in August 2000. His best finish in that span is third on April 28 at Atlanta. <pre> STATISTICS: 2001 points leaders 1. Sam Hornish Jr. 229 2. Eliseo Salazar 173 3. Scott Sharp 171 4. Buddy Lazier 167 5. Felipe Giaffone 166 6. Billy Boat 147 7. Jeff Ward 120 8. Buzz Calkins 119 9. Greg Ray 115 10. Airton Dare 114

2001 money leaders 1. Helio Castroneves $1,305,075 2. Sam Hornish Jr. $807,025 3. Scott Sharp $793,425 4. Eliseo Salazar $650,850 5. Greg Ray $633,875 6. Buddy Lazier $596,875 7. Billy Boat $577,875 8. Robbie Buhl $528,875 9. Airton Dare $526,675 10. Buzz Calkins $519,625

2001 wins 1. Sam Hornish Jr. 2 2. Helio Castroneves 1 Buddy Lazier 1 Greg Ray 1 Scott Sharp 1

2001 rookie points leaders 1. Felipe Giaffone 166 2. Didier Andre 64 3. Brandon Erwin 40 4. Casey Mears 36 5. Bruno Junqueira 30

2001 laps led 1. Sam Hornish Jr. 440 2. Greg Ray 357 3. Eddie Cheever Jr. 64 4. Helio Castroneves 56 5. Jeff Ward 50

2001 MBNA Poles 1. Greg Ray 3 Mark Dismore 1 Scott Sharp 1 Jeff Ward 1

2001 wins by chassis 1. Dallara 6

2001 wins by engine 1. Oldsmobile 6

-IRNLS/IMS-

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