Fort Worth, Texas. (October 12, 2003) The final race of the 2003 IndyCar Series season is in the record books with Gil deFerran winning not only the final event of the season, but the final event of his career. Scott Dixon, who finished second,...
Fort Worth, Texas. (October 12, 2003) The final race of the 2003 IndyCar Series season is in the record books with Gil deFerran winning not only the final event of the season, but the final event of his career. Scott Dixon, who finished second, clinched the season championship today. Kelley Racing drivers Scott Sharp and Al Unser Jr. both ran excellent races today. Sharp, in the No. 8 Delphi entry, came from a starting position of 20th to a final position of sixth. In his charge from the back of the pack, Sharp ran as high as third place today. Al Unser Jr., driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, also had a big charge from the back of the pack and ran in the lead group for most of the afternoon and eventually finished ninth. The season is now complete and the Kelley Racing team will return to their Indianapolis based shop to being preparations for next season.
Al Unser Jr. -- #31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone
"I want to thank all of Kelley Racing. We've had an up and down year and we ended up sixth in points. The Corteco team has had our good moments and we've had our unlucky moments and I feel that is what kept us out of the championship was our unlucky moments. We'll go on from here. I'm glad to hear Kenny (Brack) is talking and I hope that he is ok. I'd like to congratulate Scott Dixon and the Target team on a wonderful job and also congratulate Gil deFerran on his race win and retirement. I think it was great for him to put it on the pole and then go win the race in his final race. As far as my future, we'll see. I'm still enjoying what I'm going and I'll definitely have an IndyCar ride I just don't know where I'm going to land but I'm sure it will be with a great team because I'm not doing anything that isn't a winning combination."
Al Unser Jr., No. 31 Corteco/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone--Fast Facts and Quote
Today was Unser Jr.'s 324th career start and his 51st IRL start.
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
"All in all, another race where we made the best of the situation. We were not the fastest car on the track, but we had great stops, we picked up spots, and we improved the car throughout the race. To be able to come from 20th and finish sixth was a great finish for us and a great way to finish the season. I would like to thank Tom Kelley for the opportunity he gives us all. Also I'd like to thank Delphi, Futaba and all of our sponsors for their support as well as Toyota, and the entire Kelley Racing team for a great season and for their hard work and dedication. We'll be back stronger next year."
Scott Sharp, No. 8 Delphi/Dallara/Toyota/Firestone---Fast Facts and Quote
Today was 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 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.