IRL: St. Louis: Kelley Racing race report

MADISON, Ill (August 10, 2003) Today was a pretty tough day for both Kelley Racing entries at the Emerson Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway. Both Al Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, and his teammate Scott Sharp, driver of...

MADISON, Ill (August 10, 2003) Today was a pretty tough day for both Kelley Racing entries at the Emerson Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway. Both Al Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, and his teammate Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry, knew that today's race would be difficult on the tough 1.25-mile oval. Both drivers gained positions early in the race but as the first round of pit stops started, Unser Jr.'s race took a turn for the worse. Unser Jr. had pitted under the caution on lap 40 and as his pit stop was being completed there was an incident on pit lane that caused Bryan Herta's car to rear end the back of Unser Jr.'s car, and hit Unser Jr.'s left rear tire changer Anton Julian.

Unser Jr. returned to the race for one lap but there was damage to his suspension from the incident and he parked the No. 31 entry on lap 41. Anton Julian was air lifted to St. Louis University Medical Center with unspecified injuries and his condition was just recently upgraded to fair. As for driver Scott Sharp, he and his Delphi team continued to work on his race car throughout the race and were able to improve the handling. Sharp persevered and was able to bring home a tenth place finish. Helio Castroneves won today's race, while second place went to Tony Kanaan and third to Gil de Ferran. The Kelley Racing team will now return to their shop in Indianapolis to prepare for next weekends Belterra Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

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

"As far as my race, it was going well. We were moving up, the Corteco Bryant Special was running good. We came in for our stop and our guys did a great job. I was preparing to leave and then I got rear-ended. One of my crew members, Anton Julian, was injured. That was the end of my day. The car that hit me I believe was Bryan Herta and it damaged my suspension bad enough that I couldn't return to the race. Right now my thoughts are with Anton and we're looking forward to a good report from the hospital on his condition."

Start: 17th
Finish: 20th
Status: Mechanical
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 40 of 200

Al Unser Jr. Fast Facts

Today was Unser Jr.'s 319th career start and his 46th IRL start.

Unser Jr. is currently sixth in the IndyCar Series points standings with 249 points.

St. Louis Record--In 2002 Unser Jr. started 15th and finished seventh. In 2001, Unser Jr. started eighth and won the race after leading 75 laps. Unser Jr. competed in three previous events at Gateway as a Champ Car competitor in 1997, '98 and '99. His best finish as a Champ Car driver was 12th in 1999.

His victory on June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway was his third IndyCar Series victory and his 34th career victory.

Unser Jr. has won two Indianapolis 500's (1992, 1994) and two open-wheel championships (1990, 1994).

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

"It was a pretty tough day today for the Delphi team, wait, it was a pretty tough weekend for the Delphi team! But given where we started the race from, our hopeful goal was to bring home a top ten finish and we were able to do that today. We got some points and now we're on to the bigger tracks which have been really good for the Delphi team."

Start: 20th
Finish: 10th
Status: Running
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 197 of 200

Scott Sharp Fast Facts

This will be Sharp's 77th career start and his sixth season with Kelley Racing.

St. Louis Record--In 2002, he started 10th and finished 18th. In 2001, Sharp started third and finished eighth.

Sharp is currently in eighth place in the IndyCar Series with 225 points.

Sharp's victory in April at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan was his eighth career victory.

Media Note--- Anton Julian, left-rear tire changer for the No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, is in fair condition after a pit-road accident on Lap 40 of the Emerson Indy 250. He is conscious, according to Dr. Henry Bock, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League. Julian was transferred by air to St. Louis University Hospital and he will be admitted overnight for further evaluation. Further updates will be made when they become available.

-www.kelleyracing.com-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Gil de Ferran , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta