SCHECKTER CLAIMS VICTORY IN BOMBARDIER LEARJET 500k; GREGG WINS SECOND RACE OF SEASON FORT WORTH, Texas, Saturday, June 11, 2005 --Tomas Scheckter claimed his first IndyCar Series victory since 2002, beating two-time race winner and IndyCar ...
SCHECKTER CLAIMS VICTORY IN BOMBARDIER LEARJET 500k; GREGG WINS SECOND RACE OF SEASON
FORT WORTH, Texas, Saturday, June 11, 2005 --Tomas Scheckter claimed his first IndyCar Series victory since 2002, beating two-time race winner and IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. to the checkered flag by 0.0534 of a second -- the 10th-closest finish in the IndyCar Series' 10 years.
Scheckter, who started the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone from the pole position, led a race-high 119 laps. He passed defending race winner Tony Kanaan for the lead on Lap 191, then held off a late charge from Hornish to claim his first win since he won at Michigan in July 2002.
The win was Panther Racing and Chevrolet's first victory since 2003 when Hornish won at California.
Tony Kanaan, Scott Sharp and Helio Castroneves rounded out the top-five. Points leader Dan Wheldon finished sixth, matching his worst finish of the season. Danica Patrick, leader in the Bombardier Rookie of the Year standings, finished 13th.
Earlier, Travis Gregg claimed his second win of the season, nipping Wade Cunningham for the victory in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Firestone 100.
Gregg, who leads Cunningham by four points in the series point standings, won by .0424 of a second -- the third closest finish in Menards Infiniti Pro Series history.
BOMBARDIER LEARJET 500K POST-RACE QUOTES:
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone), finished second: "It was a great race out there tonight. We didn't have quite enough power on our own so we kept trying to radio the No. 4 car and tell them we'll go wherever they go. We knew they were fast. Out here it's really tough to be able to pass on your own cause you got to go on the high side, so you need to have someone push you. So I said I'll push. We'll follow along. The whole Marlboro Team Penske crew did an awesome job. We had a car that we could run right in behind people, which is what you really need to have here. The pit stops were awesome as usual. We just kind of went about our day, and we were in the right place at the right time and worked with the right people."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone), finished third: "I think it was exciting for you guys. We didn't quite have the speed to win the race tonight. I think Scheckter deserved to win. He had the best car all weekend. He drove a smart race. You have to know how to lose if there is any good way. We did the best we could today."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone), finished fourth: "I am really ecstatic. We were pretty loose early in the race and for the first couple of stints. I really had to fight the car a bit in traffic. The Delphi Fernandez team just did an awesome job. They did a great job in the pits and that catapulted us forward. Chris (Finch) and John (Ward), our engineers, made some great changes on the car and really dialed us in. It was a great finish for us. I tried to get Tony (Kanaan) there at the end. I got a couple of runs up, but I just didn't have enough speed to get around him."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone), finished fifth: "I'm really happy with our performance today. We definitely bounced back from a few tough races and I'm happy with our finish. We didn't have the fastest car out there, but we did what we needed to do. The Marlboro Team Penske crew did a great job tonight. I wish we could have caught the lead pack in the end, but again I'm satisfied with fifth, and I can't wait to go to Richmond in a few weeks."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone), finished 16th: "It's one thing running by yourself, but you put a bunch of other cars out there in different elements. Like I've said all along all year, the car moves around a lot. You have to understand and have a grasp of what is going to happen. I'm still not used to it and still not sure always of what it's going to do. Practicing yesterday, I think we were running in front of people and the car was kind of oversteering. Then I went and filled up with fuel. I would get into a run and we would have understeer behind people. It was just changing all the time. We're still figuring things out."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Menards Johns Manville Panoz/Honda/Firestone), finished ninth: "We had a good car tonight, but we lost contact with the lead pack in the middle of the race. We couldn't get back in touch with that lead pack. The bigger pack was able to pull away from the smaller pack of Dan (Wheldon), Dario (Franchitti) and me. Tomas (Scheckter) had a very fast car tonight. He was pushing that lead pack too. I was surprised by so many green flag laps too. It wasn't like a normal Texas race with yellow flags in the middle of the race. I think we ran the last 120 laps under green. That is very surprising. My car felt very good all race. In fact, I ran flat (on the throttle) for one and a half stints (fuel runs). Actually, my right foot was getting a sore from stomping on the throttle. But I don't know why we couldn't race with the leaders. Timing is something that happens in a race like that. We just had some bad timing. I was able to stay in fifth in points right now, and we are going to Richmond next. I was second there last year so maybe we can be better this time around."
BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone), finished 10th: "The XM Satellite Radio car struggled in traffic. It seemed like when the sun went down, the car got really loose and we couldn't run in traffic. They have us race at night, but they don't let us practice at night, so you never know what's going to happen, and that doesn't make a lot of sense. If we're going to race at night, we ought to practice at night, too."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone), finished sixth: "To be quite honest, I just don't think the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car was very quick this evening. I lost quite a bit of time on pit stops, and we need to look into why that was happening. Then, when I lost the draft, I couldn't do the time that (Tomas) Scheckter and (Sam) Hornish were doing."
KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz/Honda/Firestone), finished seventh: "It was an outstanding race for us. Except for the last pit stop, our strategy, our car, our setup, just everything was perfect. On the last pit stop, when I entered the pit lane, there was another car in front of me and I lost of couple of seconds there. On the out lap, I lost front wheel grip and nearly went onto the race track. It was really scary. The car was really good for the last stint. On the last lap, I was in sixth place but Dan Wheldon was a little bit quicker than me so I had to give up a position. I think we did a great race, and I am looking forward to Richmond."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone), finished 15th: "It sounds strange, but this was really our first decent finish for Dreyer & Reinbold. The car was quick at the start, but picked up a lot of push midway through the race, and we lost the draft. After that, we didn't get the yellows we needed to pack us up together again. We just needed to finish the race to show we could be in the hunt. Now, we have to keep the rhythm because we're capable of a top-10 finish and even a top-five."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone), finished 11th: "It wasn't too bad a race for us actually as the Target Toyota Panoz was very decent all race long, and we were able to race with the leaders and put in some really good runs. It was loose at first, but we put in a bit of front wing and it settled down. It was another good Texas race under the lights, and while we had hoped to be a bit stronger, we'll take the result and build on it."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone), finished 12th: "This is an unreal track and racing under the lights and in front of a great crowd was really something. It was definitely a tough race with not much time to take a breather. The car was loose in traffic at first, but we made changes in the first stop and the Target Toyota was much stronger but by then we had lost the lead pack and it was very difficult to make it up. The Target crew did a great job on the stops, and I feel like I've gained a lot of valuable experience today so I feel pretty positive about tonight's result as a whole." ***
FIRESTONE 100 POST-RACE QUOTES:
TRAVIS GREGG (No. 7 Lucas Oil Producs/Sam Schmidt Mspt Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone), Firestone 100 winner: "I'm really excited. Starting from the pole, I was going to make it really hard for people to pass me. That's what my strategy was. Chris (Festa) and I were going to work together, and he's was going to try make a run for it and get around me. I'm really happy for the Sam Schmidt team. They did a great job this weekend." (About Festa's move for the lead): "He got next to me, but it's hard to make a high-line pass. We had to keep it low, and that's what we did today."
CHRIS FESTA (No. 19 Western Union-CareCentric-SSM Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone), finished third: "There was some good battles going on today. Our strategy Travis (Gregg) and I set up before the race, I would just tuck in behind him if I didn't get him at the start. He and I would just draft each other for most of the race. We tried to open up a little bit of a gap on them, but unfortunately the other guys had good cars too, so they were able to stay right with us and just battle the whole time."
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 33 Visit New Zealand Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone), finished second: "I think one person would have always gone to the front down the inside, but two people wouldn't have gone around two Sam Schmidt cars on one go. He probably didn't want to help me and I didn't want to help him. We were kind of backwards and forwards through it swapping out the third for quite awhile. I was kind of hoping that Chris (Festa) would overtake Travis (Gregg) again, but he never got quite past them." (About Indy next week): "It's going to be great. It's not going to be a big oval, so it's going to give some of us other drivers an opportunity to do well over there. I think it will be a good race for sure. Some more drivers will come back. (Marco) Andretti and some others will be there, so it should be a good race."
JAY DRAKE (No. 20 Vision Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone), finished fourth: "It's a good finish for us. I felt like we were fast enough to win. We just couldn't get the position. But it's a good finish. We'll take it."
NICK BUSSELL (No. 21 JL West Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone), finished fifth: "It was interesting. I've never done that before. A couple of guys up there haven't either. Basically, the one guy with experience won the race. I think he knew how to play his cards. The cars were all equal. We were in dirty air. I was adjusting the car. At the end, I thought I could get a run going. That's just the way it played it."
The next IndyCar Series race is the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 25 at the Richmond International Raceway. The race will be telecast by ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The race also will be available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 "XM Extreme." ESPN2's telecast of the Firestone 100 will be shown at 3 p.m. (EDT) on June 16. The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Liberty Challenge on June 18 at the 2.605-mile road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It will be telecast at 5 p.m. on June 21 by ESPN2.