IRL: Texas II: Indy Racing League raceday notebook

De Ferran wins Chevy 500; Dixon wins championship FORT WORTH, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003 -- Retiring Gil de Ferran won the season-ending IRL IndyCar Series Chevy 500. The race ended five laps early due to an accident on Lap 188 involving Kenny...

De Ferran wins Chevy 500; Dixon wins championship

FORT WORTH, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003 -- Retiring Gil de Ferran won the season-ending IRL IndyCar Series Chevy 500. The race ended five laps early due to an accident on Lap 188 involving Kenny Brack and Tomas Scheckter.

The right side of Brack's No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone made contact with the left side of Scheckter's on the backstretch. Brack's car became airborne and made contact with the outside retaining fence in Turn 3.

Brack was transported via air to Parkland Hospital in Dallas in serious but stable condition. He was awake, alert and talking when he left the HCA infield care center. A further update will be provided when available.

CHEVY 500 POST-RACE NOTES:

Gil de Ferran won his third IndyCar Series race of 2003. His other victories came at Indianapolis and Nashville.

Scott Dixon won the 2003 IndyCar Series championship. It is his first major championship. He won the Indy Lights title in 2000.

Dan Wheldon finished a career-best third today. His previous best finish was fourth, three times this season. He earned the 2003 IndyCar Series Bombardier Rookie of the Year award.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing won the IndyCar Series championship with Scott Dixon. The team won CART championships in 1996 (Jimmy Vasser), 1997-98 (Alex Zanardi) and 1999 (Juan Montoya). Team owner Chip Ganassi was a co-owner of Patrick Racing in 1989 when Emerson Fittipaldi won the CART championship.

CHEVY 500 POST-RACE QUOTES:

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

"The money doesn't really matter. The championship is great. The team has worked so hard, and I feel like I've got a huge weight off my shoulder. I'm just so proud of the team. It's just been a hell of a year."

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

"It's been a fantastic four years with Team Penske. Like I told Roger and the guys on the radio, it's a time I'm gong to remember for the rest of my life. I've learned so much, and it's just been a wonderful thing for me and my family."

DAN WHELDON (No. 7 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"It's fantastic. It's great for Team 7-Eleven. The Klein-Tools/Jim Beam guys have been fantastic, but right now that is secondary. It's difficult to talk about the race, to be honest, when what happened, happened. But, you know, that car was very good. I wouldn't say overall, on my own, that I had the fastest car. I had a very good car in traffic, and I am just very thankful to Michael (Andretti), Kim (Green), and Kevin (Savoree) for giving me this opportunity. I think it is going to help us start off next year very well, if and when we work out a deal." (About winning Bombardier Rookie of the Year title): "It's tremendous. It's going to sink in, I think, tomorrow. But like I say, really I'm just concerned about Kenny (Brack)."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

About the contact with Castroneves: "I felt something from behind me, but I don't know what happened. I was on the outside, and I gave him plenty of room, and we touched. I don't know what happened, but it's unfortunate. I had a run on him, I passed him, I was ahead of him. It's a shame to lose a championship like that after the race that we did. The team did a great job. I need to thank the guys for awesome pit stops. Unfortunately, it wasn't our day today. Deep inside myself I am satisfied, because I know we did whatever we could. Unfortunately, things like that can happen. It wasn't mechanical. It wasn't my fault. But, things like that can happen and, unfortunately, it happened to us today. Look at Scott Dixon -- he had so many DNF's this year, but it paid off for him today. It was a long year, a good year. Let's go forward to next year."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

"We had a great race today. The Pennzoil Panther crew did an awesome job as they usually do, it just didn't make it to the end. We had a really good car today. We could move in and out of traffic. We could pass where we wanted to. We just had a great car. We came off of that last pit stop, and we just couldn't get back up to speed. We're not really sure what happened, but we were spraying a little bit of oil, so they made us come in. The way it ended, I hope Kenny (Brack's) OK. That was a heck of a ride. What can you say? I hope everything goes OK. We had a great run this year. We've had a lot of ups and downs, but we've all kept our heads in it. These guys deserve to get another championship, but we got two of out three. " (About last race with Panther): "I was emotional before the race started, but the way that I look at it is I've been blessed to be able to do what I've always wanted to do and that's to race Indy cars, and hopefully, one of these days win another championship."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

About contact with Kanaan: "Well, it's a shame. Neither of us wanted to finish like that, especially having a chance to win. When he went to pass, we touched, and all of a sudden, the cars touched. It was close, very close. It is a shame. Everything was close. It was not the way it was supposed to be. I guess next year I am going to take care each week instead of getting out in the end of it and lose everything. It's good for Team Penske for winning and to get second and third in the championship. It's a shame we didn't bring that championship, but hey, next year, we'll come back harder. Last year it was so close. This year was so close. It's racing out here. I hope Kenny (Brack) is fine. The only positive thing I keep from that is that it could be us there in that situation. Thank God everybody is OK. Hey, let's go for the next one. It will be tough to beat us. I'll keep working hard. The Ganassi team did a hell of a job, and next year we'll have one."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"It turned out to be a pretty good day. The team made a great recovery after we lost a wheel. We went to the back two or three times, and thanks to the great work of the crew, we were able to get back to fourth. (It's) nice to end the season on a high note."

GREG RAY (No. 13 TrimSpa Racing Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone):

"When we started, we had high aspirations. We thought we'd be fast, even though we started so far back. The car, unfortunately, was awful at first. We were battling traffic. We weren't much better by ourselves. We made a lot of adjustments, and my engineer made a lot of good calls. I think we pitted every opportunity we could to make the change and slowly but surely got better and better. Towards the end, we were as good as anybody. We just didn't have enough time. It seemed to be a 500-mile race, not a 500K race. We were definitely getting into the rhythm. I was not having any fun at first. It was diabolical."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

About contact with Kenny Brack: "I don't know what happened, but the main thing is my teammate just won the Championship, and I'm really proud of him. I'm really happy for the team."

RICHIE HEARN (No. 91 Metabolife/Delta Faucet/Life Fitness Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

"I don't know what happened. I was just going down the backstretch all by myself, and when I went to turn in to Turn 3, the thing just swapped ends on me. The rpm just went way up, and I spun out. I don't know if I ran over something. It felt like I blew a tire. Something instantly spun me around."

STEVE DICKSON (Team Manager, Team Rahal):

"We are all wishing Kenny and Anita our best. We spoke with Kenny at the care center, and he joked with us. We are all family at Team Rahal and the IRL, and we hope everyone can wish him the very best."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Scott Dixon , Alex Zanardi , Kenny Brack , Dan Wheldon , Emerson Fittipaldi , Chip Ganassi , Jim Beam
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing