Sharp Edge

Veteran driver scores surprise
victory by 0.0779 seconds to win
'Amber Alert Portal 300'

From the Kentucky Speedway

SPARTA, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2005) – On a day when all eyes were on the Indy Racing League's only female driver – Danica Patrick – an unlikely hero emerged from the back of the field Aug. 14 to take the checkered flag: Scott Sharp.

Amber Alert Indy 300 Logo

IRL IndyCar Series
AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300
SPARTA, Ky. - Results Sunday of the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 IRL IndyCar Series event August 14 at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed, reason out (if any) and money earned:
1. (7) Scott Sharp, Panoz-Honda, 200, Running $99,300
2. (6) Vitor Meira, Panoz-Honda, 200, Running $90,150
3. (2) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running $66,900
4. (18) Alex , Dallara-Toyota, 200, Running $54,500
5. (15) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Toyota, 200, Running $49,900
6. (8) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Chevrolet, 200, Running $44,200
7. (3) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Toyota, 200, Running $43,000
8. (14) Kosuke Matsuura, Panoz-Honda, 200, Running $42,000
9. (12) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Chevrolet, 200, Running $42,000
10. (20) Jimmy Kite, Dallara-Toyota, 200, Running $40,800
11. (23) Tomas Enge, Dallara-Chevrolet, 200, Running $39,600
12. (19) Patrick Carpentier, Dallara-Toyota, 200, Running $38,600
13. (13) Ryan Briscoe, Panoz-Toyota, 200, Running $37,500
14. (10) Buddy Rice, Panoz-Honda, 199, Running $36,200
15. (17) Jaques Lazier, Panoz-Toyota, 197, Running $35,100
16. (1) Danica Patrick, Panoz-Honda, 184, Running $34,100
17. (16) Roger Yasukawa, Dallara-Honda, 174, Mechanical $32,900
18. (9) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 169, Suspension $32,900
19. (11) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, 144, Gearbox $31,700
20. (5) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 99, Wheel Bearing $30,600
21. (22) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 82, Mechanical $30,600
22. (21) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Toyota, 67, Accident $30,600
23. (4) Scott Dixon, Panoz-Toyota, 27, Mechanical $30,600

Race Statistics:
Winner's average speed: 175.981 mph. Time of race: 1:40:55.1889. Margin of victory: .0779 of a second. Cautions: 4 for 28 laps. Lead changes: 16 among 4 drivers. Lap leaders: 1-3 Kanaan, 4-30 Wheldon, 31-46 Kanaan, 47-71 Wheldon, 72-75 Kanaan, 76-78 Wheldon, 79 Kanaan, 80 Wheldon, 81 Kanaan, 82-106 Wheldon, 107-117 Meira, 118-133 Wheldon, 134-160 Sharp, 161-163 Wheldon, 164 Sharp, 165-168 Wheldon, 169-200 Sharp.
Point standings after 13 of 17 races: Wheldon 455, Hornish Jr. 365, Kanaan 350, Franchitti 345, Sharp 326, Castroneves 316, Herta 303, Meira 297, Scheckter 287, Carpentier 267.

The Norwalk, Conn., native and veteran Indy Racing League IndyCar Series driver breathed new life into his 10-year career with a 0.0779 of a second victory over Vitor Meira in “The Amber Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries” at the Kentucky Speedway.
Sharp scored the second Delphi Fernandez Racing victory at the Kentucky Speedway in as many starts after leading 60 of 200 race laps and fighting off persistent strong stretch runs by series leader and third-place finisher Dan Wheldon, who led a race-high 104 laps, and Meira, who led 11 circuits just past the midway point in the race.
“It’s the biggest race I’ve ever won in the IRL,” Sharp said. “I say that because we were in contention all day. We raced our way to the lead and we went on and won the race. From a driver’s perspective that’s how you dream about winning races. You will take them any way you can get them. You’ll back the thing up across the line if that’s the case. Certainly, if you can beat a dominant type car and win the race, that’s how you dream about doing it.”
The much-heralded Patrick, meanwhile, who for the second time in her brief IndyCar Series season started from the pole, was running sixth when the leaders came in for pit stops on Lap 71 during a caution period. The No. 16 Argent Pioneer Panoz-Honda-Firestone stalled during the service, and two laps later she returned because of a gearbox issue. She finished 16th.
Sharp ran among the top 10 during the 100 laps and credits his crew for making a race-changing adjustment during the third of four caution periods that began on Lap 114 for debris.
“I can’t say enough about my engineering staff. We huddled together between warm-up and the race and made lots of changes,” Sharp said. “Once you change the car and you don’t have a chance to practice it again you’re probably going to have to tweak it a bit. It took us a couple pit stops to get the car right and it just came alive.”
He took his first lead from Wheldon on Lap 134 and the two traded it four times over the next 34 laps before Sharp took control for a third and final time on Lap 169.
“We went to the front and Dan was pretty quick, so I wasn’t sure if he was checking me out to see how much speed I had,” Sharp said. “He kept trying to come and get me on the outside and couldn’t really get it done.”
Caution flew again on Lap 169 when the No. 27 ArcaEx car of Dario Franchitti encountered suspension trouble. Sharp dove to the pits for a final time and came out with the lead following a quick work by his No. 8 Delphi crew.
“Then the yellow popped out (on Lap 169), we were in the lead and the guys gave me a great pit stop. I think that was a big key, because it was hard to pass at times so you had to maintain or increase your position in the pits.”
Wheldon restarted the race third on Lap 175 giving Meira a chance to challenge for the win. Meira and his No. 17 Rahal Letterman Menards Johns Manville machine cut Sharp’s lead to 0.0693 of a second with three laps remaining. Meira made a last ditch effort for the win on the final lap when he dove his car below the interior white line coming off of Turn 4, but was forced to settle for the fourth career second-place finish in the series.
“There was no way I could get him on the outside,” he said. “I would have had to catch him on the restarts, which I didn’t, or pass him on the inside on the last lap. I was waiting for that to happen, trying sixth gear, but couldn’t do it.”
Meira, who was second in the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, posted his best finish through four Kentucky Speedway starts and delivered his fifth top-five and seventh top-10 finish of the season.
“The Menards Johns Manville car kicked butt again, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “This team wants to win and deserves to win. We give ourselves chances to win and as long as we’re doing that we’re fine.”
Wheldon maintained the series lead with ninth top-five and 11 top-10 finish of the season through 12 races. He increases his lead 12 points over second-place championship contender Sam Hornish, Jr., and entered the series' Aug. 21 race at Pikes Peak International Raceway with a 90 point cushion over the 2003 Kentucky Speedway race winner.
“Overall, it was a good result. I think everyone did the job that they could do and we came up a little short,” he said. “From the championship, it doesn’t look that bad.”
Alex Barron, who finished fourth, said he was pleased with his finish. "We made an adjustment there at the last stop, and that was all we needed to move up in the race. We did not have enough to go for the win, though, but we are happy with fourth. The whole crew and I want to win. We need to move forward and find a way to get on the podium every week. This will give us the confidence to hopefully do this."
Sharp earned his first win since 2003 and has now registered a win in each of his past nine IRL IndyCar Series seasons. He has earned a total five top-five and nine top-10 finishes this season.
The classic contest drew a series track record crowd of 62,595 and margin of victory represented the second closest series race in speedway history. The series also set the record for lead changes with “The AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300” as the lead changed 16 times among Andretti Green driver Tony Kanaan, Meira, Sharp and Wheldon.
The speedway will conclude it’s sixth season of operations on Sept. 10 with “The Charlie Daniels Band Fall Classic” featuring the return of the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division Southeast and Midwest Series and USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series.

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