The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on July 28, 2003 · Page 30
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 30

Indianapolis, Indiana
Issue Date:
Monday, July 28, 2003
Page 30
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D10 MONDAY, JULY 28, 2003 Sports THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR - WWW.INDYSTAR.COM Greenwood 882-8500 E Avon 271-5900 i Castleton E "we one stop shop" 570-6300 mi iihimJ IRL prepares for road racing No date or site yet, but manufacturers are told to change the cars and engines for next season. NOTEBOOK i oHndfanapolis jjj $1 Q 0FF ANY SERVICE CALL By Curt Cavin curtcavin( BROOKLYN, Mich. - Indy Racing League officials don't know if they will have the league's first road course or street-circuit race in 2004 or 2005, but they will be prepared for '04, league president Tony George said Sunday. The IRL told its engine and chassis manufacturers this weekend to make the necessary adjustments to next year's equipment just in case the schedule includes some events away from ovals. George said league officials are not in discussions with any non-oval tracks at this time. "But we have to be prepared for any opportunities," he said. "We are not on a path to have such an event next year, but we have to be ready just in case there is one." The options seem more likely now given the financial trouble confirmed earlier this week by the Championship Auto Racing Teams series. CART will stage 16 of its 19 races on road and street circuits this season, but series officials aren't sure there will be a full season in 2004. There are added benefits to the IRL having equipment for such venues, according to Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of operations. He said aerodynamic drag will increase and downforce will decrease because of such things as larger suspension pieces. That will slow the cars 2-3 mph at the faster oval tracks like Michigan International Speedway. Tomas Scheckter earned the pole for the Firestone Indy 400 at 222.458 mph. There are extra costs with the new configuration, but switching in 2004 will allow teams to spread it over the final two seasons of the league's equipment package. "We know we're going to road courses at some point, so we might as well get the equipment ready now," Barnhart said. At present, the only new race expected next year is the oval track at Milwaukee. League officials are also talking to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, also an oval. Penske: Standing pat Roger Penske said Sam Hornish Jr. isn't likely to end up at Team Penske when his contract with Panther Racing expires at the end of the season. "I am absolutely not running three cars next year," Penske said. "We'll have the same sponsor (Marlboro) and the same two drivers (Gil de Ferran and He-lio Castroneves). Everything Firestone Indy 400 (Top finishers) Driver 1. Alex Barron 2. Sam Hornish Jr. Car G-T D-C G-T D-T G-T G-T D-T D-H D-T G-H 3. Tomas Scheckter 4. Scott Sharp 5. Scott Dixon 6. Tora Takagi 7. Gil de Ferran 8. Roger Yasukawa 9. Al Unser Jr. 10. Greg Ray Chassis: G-G Force, D-Dallara Engines: C-Chevrolet, H-Honda, T-Toyota Series points leaders: Dixon 318, Tony Kanaan 317, de Ferran 315 will be the same." Infiniti Pro Mark Taylor won the crash-marred, injury-free Infiniti Pro Series race Sunday at Michigan. It was his fifth win in seven races. Call Star reporter Curt Cavin at 1-317-444-6409. mm sm PI CHEVROLET r jr. WE'LL BE THERE' 03 Avalanche 'TWE'LL BE THERE. m- J4 triifi J wmmrrvmtxmx ihtm V1 $q l7 03 Silverado nniyn! SHOO. . mo. jz 1AT mutjrt mo. f . $369 '03TrailbIazer 48 month leas1 2,000 year, first payment, security and lax. GMS plus freight includes all rebotes.lnciudes military discount, Oldsmobile ownership, now GM product & GM loyal. Vehicles shown above do not necessarily reflect vehicle payments. All vehicles subject to ore-sale All available factory incentives & rebates applied. Includes 24hoor competitive make incentive. in . M MJi iM HI lit . IS: Finish Barron spins on lap 164 and still comes back to win. FromDI at one juncture led by nearly 8 seconds. "We did everything we could do." Hornish had led only four laps this season, the only four Chevrolet had led as welL Both are win-less. "Realistically, I didn't expect we'd run this strong," General Motors Racing program manager Joe Negri said. "As a racer, I'm not completely satisfied with second place, but I think we've accomplished all of our objectives." Barron won in just his fourth start of the season. After subbing for Gil de Ferran in Japan, Arie Luyendyk in Indianapolis and Felipe Giaffone in the past two races, he made a strong case for a full-time ride. Barron escaped major trouble with third-place finisher Tomas Scheckter on the 164th lap. The two touched and the contact to the right-front tire sent Barron spinning to the inside off turn four and up the banking. The co-leader feared a charging Scott Sharp might hit him, but there was no further contact and the caution period allowed him to change tires and regroup. It wasn't much different from Dale Jarrett's spin-and-win in last year's NASCAR Winston Cup race at Michigan. "I don't know whose fault it was, but on the radio I was screaming that it was (Scheck-ter's) fault," Barron said. "I was pretty angry and the (crew) guys had to settle me down." Team owner Morris Nunn said he had to settle himself down, too. But when the new tires went on, he realized that it might not be such a bad thing for Barron to restart eighth. "I know from being a (former) driver that you can find quite a bit of time after that," Nunn said. "You get angry and aggressive." Barron needed only five laps to get his G Force to the lead spot, although Scheckter officially led that lap. Those two drivers, along with Hornish, exchanged the lead 12 times in the final green-flag run. Barron ended up leading 24 laps, but his final lap will be the one that is remembered. He pulled off the victory by giving himself plenty of room behind Hornish coming off the second turn to slip into Hornish's draft and carry his speed through the third and fourth turns. "All momentum," said Barron, who continued the IRL's streak of close-call winners from the outside lane. "There was a little bit of doubt whether we could do that, but it was our only chance." Said Hornish: "He was right there (beside me) for about 25 laps and he timed it right about three times. He got it right that time." The race had 30 lead changes, nine short of the IRL's record set last year at California. Hornish has been involved in six of the 10 closest finishes, but this was just the second time that he had lost Sharp, Scott Dixon and Tora Takagi were in the crowded run to the finish. Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Al Unser Jr. also led laps. It was a tumultuous day for the points standings. Dixon grabbed the lead by finishing fifth. Kanaan, the former leader, finished 16th and dropped to second. Gil de Ferran is third. The top three drivers are separated by just three points with six races to go. Call Star reporter Curt Cavin at 1-317-444-6409. . f i if H 7 ssi , r - ' ', I ' -ffli. a m y1 INFINITI DREYER & REINBOLD INFINITI Indianapolis 317-573-0222 Greenwood 317-885-A800 MSRPs for base 2003 FX35 2W0 and 2003 FX35 AWD with Sport Package and Roof Rails as shown include $545 destination charge, exclude tax, title, license and other options. Dealer sets actual price. Always wear your seat belt, and please don't drink and drive. INFINITI, the INFINITI logo, Accelerating the future and INFINITI model names are Nissan trademarks. 2003 INFINITI Division of Nissan North America, Inc.

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