Fort Worth, Texas. (October 10, 2003) --Qualifying is complete for tomorrow's Chevy Indy 500 and Gil deFerran, who is retiring after this race, will lead Sunday's field to the green flag after his quick speed of 222.864 mph. Kelley Racing drivers...
Fort Worth, Texas. (October 10, 2003) --Qualifying is complete for tomorrow's Chevy Indy 500 and Gil deFerran, who is retiring after this race, will lead Sunday's field to the green flag after his quick speed of 222.864 mph. Kelley Racing drivers Al Unser Jr. and Scott Sharp will start 17th and 20th respectively on Sunday. Al Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, will start 17th for Sunday's race after posting a speed of 218.526 mph while his teammate Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry, will start 20th after posting a speed of 217.529 mph. Final Practice will be held this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The green flag for Sunday's race will fall at 2:45 p.m. CT and be shown live on ESPN.
Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"It's disappointing because we just qualified two mile an hour quicker today than we did in June but we're much farther down the grid than we were in June. It is a little bit disappointing after being so strong here in June but we can make up a lot of ground on race day. It's going to be deep on Sunday, several rows deep of very aggressive racing. And it's going to be a traffic jam with pit stops and if we are playing the race strategy correctly the idea is to be at the front of the traffic jam."
Al Unser Jr., No. 31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone--Fast Facts and Quote
This will be Unser Jr.'s 324th career start and his 51st IRL start.
Unser Jr. is currently sixth in the IndyCar Series points standings with 352 points.
Unser Jr. won at Texas in June of this year, beating Tony Kanaan by .0810 seconds and leading 54 of the 200 laps in the event. At Texas I in 2002, he started third and finished second to Jeff Ward by only .0111 seconds, the third closest finish in IRL history. In Spring 2000 he started ninth and finished third by less than a car length.
Unser Jr. has finished on the podium at Texas on two previous occasions (2nd--2002 Spring and 3rd --2000 Spring) and has four top-ten finishes. Unser Jr. has also led 275 laps at Texas.
Unser Jr. has won two Indianapolis 500's (1992, 1994) and two open-wheel championships (1990, 1994).
Scott Sharp -- #8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"I have no idea what happened. We ran both practices today with a pretty good engine and we were just about on the limiter in fifth gear. We changed engines this afternoon and expected to get into sixth gear and couldn't even pull fourth gear during qualifying. So we have no idea what went wrong and it's going to be tough but we've been very good here in the race and lets hope we have some big improvements for Sunday."
Scott Sharp, No. 8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone---Fast Facts and Quote
This will be Sharp's 82nd career start, his 74th consecutive IndyCar start--an IRL record-- and his sixth season with Kelley Racing.
In Spring 2003 at Texas, he started 12th and finished 16th after an accident.
Sharp is currently in ninth place in the IndyCar Series with 323 points.
Sharp won this event in 2000 and 2001 and he has also seven top-ten starts at Texas and five top-five finishes. In Spring 2002 Sharp started 16th and finished 14th.
Sharp's victory in April at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan was his eighth career victory.