IRL: Texas: Kelley Racing race report

DALLAS (June 7, 2003) ---Kelley Racing driver Al Unser Jr. driving the No. 31 Corteco entry, posted his first victory of the season, his 3rd IndyCar Series victory and his 34th career victory tonight at Texas Motor Speedway. Unser Jr., who...

DALLAS (June 7, 2003) ---Kelley Racing driver Al Unser Jr. driving the No. 31 Corteco entry, posted his first victory of the season, his 3rd IndyCar Series victory and his 34th career victory tonight at Texas Motor Speedway. Unser Jr., who started 7th, dueled for the lead with Tomas Scheckter most of the night and after Scheckter had an accident on lap 173, Unser Jr. took over the lead for good. Tony Kanaan tried to make a late run on Unser Jr. but as Unser Jr. said in his press conference, "it was the Toyota engine versus the Honda engine tonight in those last few laps and my Toyota won." Unser Jr. led 54 laps of the 200-lap Bombardier 500 and his victory puts him in second place in the points standings with 151 points. Tony Kanaan is the current points leader with 177 while Helio Castroneves is now in third with 149 points.

Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry, appeared to be on plan to make it a Kelley Racing first and third place finish tonight until misfortune struck on lap 190. Sharp, who started in 12th position, had been working his way to the front and by the final stint of the race was running in third position. Going into lap 190, Sharp was running side-by-side with Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi tried to get a run down low on the two cars. There was not enough room for the three cars to make it through the corner together and it appeared that Takagi got a wheel into Sharp's sidepod, pushing Sharp into Giaffone and putting them both into the wall. Both drivers were unhurt but their races ended on lap 190. Sharp is now in sixth place in the IndyCar Series points standings with 130 points.

The Kelley Racing team will now return to their shop in Indianapolis and make final preparations for next Sunday's race at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

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

"The outside line is usually the quickest line around Texas Motor Speedway but my Toyota engine just flat out performed his (Kanaan's) Honda and that was all there was to it, we got him on horsepower. Tony and I both have the same chassis but he has that Honda and I've got the Toyota and you saw what the horsepower did tonight. Although I've had some really close races here, you are never due a victory in racing tonight came about through a lot of hard work by my Corteco crew. I'd like to thank my guys, Corteco, Bryant, Kruse Auctions, Firestone Tires and especially Toyota for my engine tonight. Teamwork is what tonight was all about and this Kelley Racing team did an incredible job."

Start:  7th

Finish: 1st
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200 of 200
Points Earned: 50 for 151 total

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

"I'm obviously depressed about the way tonight ended up. It was another great job by the Delphi team; they worked hard all night to make the car better and after working our way from 12th to third place. I tried to make a pass on Kanaan and just couldn't get him so I was just going to ride out third place unless something happened in front of me. (Felipe) Giaffone was on the outside of me and we were having a good battle, side by side racing and then Tora (Takagi) tried to dive low going into the turn. I was thinking "Uh Oh" because I knew there was not enough room for us to go three wide in that turn. Once you get down in the apron here it shoots you up across the track and that is what happened. Tora got into my sidepod and I didn't have anywhere to go so I got Giaffone and it took us both into the wall. What a disappointing way to end the night."

Start: 12th
Finish: 16th
Status: Running
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 190 of 200
Points Earned: 14 for 130 total

-www.kelleyracing.com-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi