IRL: Texas: Pre-race notes

THE RACE: -- The Boomtown 500 will be the first of three night races this season. This will be the 10th time the Indy Racing League has competed at TMS, the largest number of races at one facility in league history. RACE NOTES: -- Four ...

THE RACE:

-- The Boomtown 500 will be the first of three night races this season. This will be the 10th time the Indy Racing League has competed at TMS, the largest number of races at one facility in league history.

RACE NOTES:

-- Four Indianapolis 500 champions are entered for this event: Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994), Buddy Lazier (1996), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998) and Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002).

-- Marlboro Team Penske will make its first appearance at Texas Motor Speedway as full-time competitors in the Indy Racing League. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran drive for the team, owned by the legendary Roger Penske.

-- Texas Motor Speedway has been the site of five Indy Racing League events that have been decided by less than a second, including the closest finish in Indy Racing history when Sam Hornish Jr. defeated Scott Sharp by .0188 of a second in the Chevy 500 last October. Incidentally, the Chevy 500 was the closest 1-2-3 finish in league history as Robbie Buhl was just .0468 of second behind Hornish.

-- Scott Sharp has won the last two June races at Texas Motor Speedway.

SERIES NOTES:

-- The Indy Racing League consists of a record 15 races this year between early-March and mid-September including three new venues. California Speedway (won by Sam Hornish Jr.) and Nazareth Speedway (won by Scott Sharp) already have played host to Indy Racing for the first time, while Michigan International Speedway will showcase the series for the first time July 28.

-- Sam Hornish Jr.'s victory March 24 at California was the fifth of his Indy Racing League career. Hornish reached five career Indy Racing victories faster than any driver in league history. It took Hornish 24 starts to achieve the feat. Scott Sharp previously was the fastest to five wins, doing so in 34 starts.

-- Sam Hornish Jr.'s margin of victory of .0281 of a second over Jaques Lazier on March 24 at California Speedway was the second-closest finish in Indy Racing history. The closest finish in league history was Hornish over Scott Sharp by .0188 of a second in October 2001 at Texas Motor Speedway.

-- Sam Hornish Jr. has now has led 1,109 laps during his Indy Racing League career, moving past Buddy Lazier into third place on the all-time IRL list. Tony Stewart is first with 1,515, and Greg Ray is second with 1,149.

-- The average speed of the race at California was 179.345 mph, an Indy Racing League record. The previous fastest average speed was 175.276 in October 2000 at Texas Motor Speedway, ironically in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara by Scott Goodyear. Sam Hornish Jr. now drives the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara.

-- Helio Castroneves earned his third career Indy Racing League win on May 26 at the 86th Indianapolis 500. His first came at the 2001 Indianapolis 500, with his second coming March 17 at Phoenix International Raceway. Castroneves earned three victories in his first seven IRL starts, a league record. Arie Luyendyk earned his third victory in his ninth start.

-- At California, Jeff Ward led the first lap from the sixth starting spot, the deepest in the field that any driver has come to lead the first lap of an Indy Racing League event. Buddy Lazier came from fourth to lead the first lap at Richmond International Raceway in June 2001, the previous record.

-- There were an record 11 cars on the lead lap at the finish of both the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth and the 86th Indianapolis 500.

-- Sam Hornish Jr. did not lead a lap in the 86th Indianapolis 500, the first time he has not led a lap in Indy Racing League competition since the SunTrust Indy Challenge in June 2001 at Richmond International Raceway. He and Tony Stewart are tied for the most consecutive Indy Racing League events led, at 10.

-- The 39 lead changes that took place at California Speedway are a league record. The previous record for lead changes in a race was 32 in October 2001 at Texas Motor Speedway.

-- Sam Hornish Jr. extended his Indy Racing League record of consecutive races running at the finish to 18 at the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 26. He completed only 179 of the 225 laps at the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway in April due to a mid-race accident with Buddy Lazier that put him 46 laps down. But Hornish did finish the race. He also only completed 186 of 200 laps at Indianapolis but was running at the finish.

-- Scott Sharp's victory in the Firestone Indy 225 on April 21 at Nazareth Speedway was the seventh of his career, moving him into second place on the all-time IRL win list behind Buddy Lazier, who has eight.

-- Scott Sharp has now won at least one race in six consecutive Indy Racing seasons, a league record.

-- Marlboro Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran are the only drivers to have led in all five Indy Racing League events this season.

-- Sam Hornish Jr. enters the Boomtown 500 third in series points. The last time he entered an event out of the points lead other than the season-opening event at Miami on March 2 was the season-opening event in 2001 at Phoenix.

-- Helio Castroneves is the only driver to have finished in the top five in every Indy Racing League event so far this season.

-irl-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Scott Goodyear , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Al Unser Sr. , Roger Penske , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske