IRL: Texas: Kelley Racing race report

Unser Jr second by a nose in Boomtown 500; closest finish in IRL history. After earning his best qualifying spot since joining the Indy Racing League, Kelley Racing driver Al Unser Jr. finished second to Jeff Ward in tonight's Boomtown 500 at ...

Unser Jr second by a nose in Boomtown 500; closest finish in IRL history.

After earning his best qualifying spot since joining the Indy Racing League, Kelley Racing driver Al Unser Jr. finished second to Jeff Ward in tonight's Boomtown 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. It was the closest finish in the history of the IRL.

Unser led a total of 38 laps and was leading on Lap 199 when he was edged out by .0111 of a second by Ward as they crossed the finish line. The two had never raced against each other during any other point in tonight's race. It was mostly Unser and Airton Dare battling it out for the win until Ward joined the two with less than five laps to go.

Unser's final pit came on Lap 193 when he had to stop for a splash of fuel. Unser then took the lead from Helio Castroneves on Lap 197 and was looking towards his first victory this season when Ward edged him at the finish.

"The Corteco/Bryant team just did an awesome job tonight," said Unser. "Mike (Colliver, engineer) and the whole crew just put together a great strategy and gave me some awesome pit stops. It was just a great effort by the whole team. In the driver's meeting we discussed at great length how we were all going to drive the race. Both Jeff (Ward) and I drove it exactly the way it was discussed. We raced each other clean. He just got a little run on me and I came up short."

Unser's teammate Scott Sharp was hoping to get his third consecutive victory at the Boomtown 500. However a problem on Lap 94 prevented Sharp from getting the win.

"It was a tough day," said Sharp. "The Delphi car ran really strong early in the race and brought us from the back of the field to the front. We thought we had a shot at winning this race again, but then a CV joint failed on the left rear. The crew did a great job of replacing it and getting us back in the race. Hopefully the points we earned will keep us in the Championship race."

Unser's second-place finish moved him up to sixth in the Drivers Championship while Sharp dropped to ninth.

Kelley Racing heads to Colorado next weekend to compete in the Radisson Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

-kr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Airton Daré , Helio Castroneves