Castroneves aims to stay perfect at Brickyard in IROC at Indy. INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2002 -- Helio Castroneves will start third in the IROC at Indy race Aug. 3 as the Brazilian driver attempts to win his third straight start at the ...
Castroneves aims to stay perfect at Brickyard in IROC at Indy.
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2002 -- Helio Castroneves will start third in the IROC at Indy race Aug. 3 as the Brazilian driver attempts to win his third straight start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and remain unbeaten at the track.
Castroneves, winner of the last two Indianapolis 500-Mile Races, will drive the cream-colored Firebird as he bids to become the first driver to win three consecutive starts at the storied track. The race starts at 1 p.m. (EST) Saturday.
Mark Martin won three IROC races in a row from 1998-2000, but also raced in the Brickyard 400 on the same weekend and still seeks his first win in that race.
Castroneves, whose car color was determined in a draw Thursday, gets the inside, second-row starting position due to his 10th-place position in the standings after the first three races. The starting lineup is determined by reversing the standings with first-place Kevin Harvick starting last and Ken Schrader, substituting for the injured Danny Lasoski, who is last in points, getting the pole.
This True Value IROC season is Castroneves' first venture into stock-car racing. He finished 11th in his debut in February at Daytona International Speedway driving the orange car, but has moved up strongly in the next two. He brought the powder blue car home seventh at California Speedway and chased winner Buddy Lazier and runner-up Al Unser Jr. across the finish line in third last month at Chicagoland Speedway.
Scott Sharp, who will start sixth in the dark blue car, unveiled the car colors at the draw in Gasoline Alley at the Speedway. He picked the violet car for Harvick, who heads the standings with 44 points.
Harvick, sitting on the concrete and leaning again a garage wall, raised his hand in salute and exclaimed, "Perfect."
Al Unser Jr. trails Harvick by five points but will not compete in this race. There will be 11 starters, as Unser's place will not be filled.
Former Indy Racing League champion Tony Stewart is next in the standings with 38 points and will start 10th. Appropriately, Sharp uncovered the orange car for him. Stewart drives the orange No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac in NASCAR Winston Cup.
Buddy Lazier heads the IRL contingent seeking its first IROC championship. He is fifth and just seven points out of the lead. Lazier will start eighth in the red car.
Sam Hornish Jr. has 30 points and Sharp 27. Hornish will start seventh in the lime car; Sharp sixth in the dark blue car.
"We all put a little bit of time in here to get as comfortable as we can and trying to catch up, as you will, with the NASCAR guys, who are used to driving these things all the time," Sharp said. "It's fun. Basically, for me it's a real outside shot for the championship. Just basically go out and do the best I can and get a good solid finish, and see where the points make themselves.
"Certainly, Buddy's up there with a good shot. He seems like he's doing really well in the cars so hopefully if I can't win it, maybe he can."
When Harvick was asked about the open-wheel drivers' improved showing this year, he smiled and said, "Maybe they have better drivers this year. All these drivers, whether they are open-wheel drivers, dirt drivers or NASCAR drivers, whatever the case may be, they all can drive a race car, whether it's open wheel or stock car.
"It's just a good bunch of drivers, and I enjoy being in the series and racing against all of them."
Under the IROC scoring system, the winner receives 21 points. It then descends to 17, 14, 12 and 10 for the next four positions, respectively. From there, it reduces one point per position. Five bonus points go to the leader of the most laps, with second and third in this category receiving three and two, respectively.
The starting lineup, driver and car color:
1. Ken Schrader, Aqua
2. Dale Jarrett, Medium Blue
3. Helio Castroneves, Cream
4. Sterling Marlin, Light Blue
5. Jack Sprague, Rose
6. Scott Sharp, Dark Blue
7. Sam Hornish Jr., Lime
8. Buddy Lazier, Red
9. Bobby Labonte, White
10. Tony Stewart, Orange
11. Kevin Harvick, Violet