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The 2003 IRL IndyCar Series brought some of the biggest changes in its history. The league adopted the name IndyCar Series, after a settlement with CART prohibiting its use had expired. Several former CART teams brought their full operations to the IRL, most notably major squads Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Green Racing, as well as former CART engine manufacturers Toyota and Honda, replacing Infiniti who shifted its efforts to the new feeder series Infiniti Pro Series. Many of the IRL's old guard including Robbie Buhl, Greg Ray, and Buddy Lazier had difficulty competing in this new manufacturer-driven landscape. The league, also added its first international race this year, taking over the CART date at Twin Ring Motegi.

2003 IndyCar season
IndyCar Series
Season
Races16
Start dateMarch 2
End dateOctober 17
Awards
Drivers' championNew Zealand Scott Dixon
Rookie of the YearUnited Kingdom Dan Wheldon
Indianapolis 500 winnerBrazil Gil de Ferran
← 2002 (IRL)
2004 →
Scott Dixon (left) won his first Drivers' Championship while Gil de Ferran (right) finished second in the championship while winning the 2003 Indianapolis 500.

The season's most successful entrants were Ganassi and Team Penske that had made the switch already the year before. New Zealander Scott Dixon won the opening race of the season at Homestead and ran very consistently all year long to win his first title at the age of 23. Gil de Ferran won Penske's third consecutive Indianapolis 500 in May and finished second to Dixon in the title race. The finale however was marred by a severe incident that nearly killed former series' champion and Indy 500 winner Kenny Bräck. De Ferran won the race with Dixon in second being well enough to seal the title. Bräck would eventually recover; however, Tony Renna, a Ganassi development driver, lost his life in a test crash at Indianapolis late in the year and thus Renna's hopes of 2004 Ganassi drive was vanished.

2003 was also the first and only engine title for Toyota and also first Japanese car manufacturer to won IndyCar Series engine manufacturer's title and thus ending seven-year American engine manufacturer supremacy.

Contents

Team and driver chartEdit

Team Chassis Engine No Drivers Rounds
  Team Menard Dallara Chevrolet 2   Jaques Lazier 1-4, 13
  Vitor Meira 5-12, 15-16
  Richie Hearn 14
  Penske Racing Dallara
G-Force
Toyota 3   Hélio Castroneves All
6   Gil de Ferran 1-2, 4-16
  Alex Barron 3
  Panther Racing Dallara Chevrolet 4   Sam Hornish, Jr. All
  Kelley Racing Dallara Toyota 8   Scott Sharp All
31   Al Unser Jr. All
  Ganassi Racing G-Force Toyota 9   Scott Dixon All
10   Tomas Scheckter All
  Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda 11   Tony Kanaan All
26   Dan Wheldon[1] 4-16
27 3
  Dario Franchitti 1-2, 6
  Robby Gordon 4
  Bryan Herta 5, 7-16
  Mo Nunn Racing G-Force
Dallara
Toyota 12   Toranosuke Takagi All
21   Felipe Giaffone 1-8, 14-16
  Alex Barron 9-13
  Access Motorsports G-Force Honda 13   Greg Ray 3-16
  A. J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara Toyota 14   A. J. Foyt IV All
  Team Rahal Dallara Honda 15   Kenny Bräck All
  Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara Chevrolet 23   Sarah Fisher All
24   Robbie Buhl All
  Cheever Racing Dallara Chevrolet 52   Buddy Rice 1-13
  Alex Barron 14-16
  Fernández Racing Dallara Honda 55   Roger Yasukawa All
  Hemelgarn Racing Dallara Chevrolet 91   Buddy Lazier 1-14
  Richie Hearn 15-16
Part Time and Indy 500 Entries
  A. J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara Toyota 5   Shigeaki Hattori 1-4
  Jaques Lazier 5-8
G-Force 41   Airton Daré 4-5
  Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda 7   Michael Andretti 1-4
  PDM Racing Dallara Chevrolet 18   Scott Mayer 1-3
  Jimmy Kite 4
  Ed Carpenter 14-16
  Team Rahal Dallara Honda 19   Jimmy Vasser 4
  Mo Nunn Racing G-Force Toyota 20   Arie Luyendyk 4
  Alex Barron
  Team Menard Dallara Chevrolet 22   Vitor Meira 4
  Kelley Racing Dallara Toyota 32   Tony Renna 4
  Panther Racing Dallara Chevrolet 44   Robby McGehee 4
98   Billy Boat 4
  Beck Motorsports Dallara Honda 54   Shinji Nakano 3-4
  Sam Schmidt Motorsports G-Force Toyota 99   Richie Hearn 4

ScheduleEdit

Race summariesEdit

Toyota Indy 300Edit

This race was held March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Tony Kanaan won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 9- Scott Dixon
  2. 6- Gil de Ferran
  3. 3- Hélio Castroneves
  4. 11- Tony Kanaan
  5. 8- Scott Sharp
  6. 7- Michael Andretti
  7. 27- Dario Franchitti
  8. 10- Tomas Scheckter
  9. 21- Felipe Giaffone
  10. 4- Sam Hornish, Jr.

Purex Dial Indy 200Edit

This race was held March 23 at Phoenix International Raceway. Tony Kanaan won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 11- Tony Kanaan
  2. 3- Hélio Castroneves
  3. 21- Felipe Giaffone
  4. 31- Al Unser, Jr.
  5. 15- Kenny Bräck
  6. 2- Jaques Lazier
  7. 8- Scott Sharp
  8. 23- Sarah Fisher
  9. 52- Buddy Rice
  10. 5- Shigeaki Hattori

Indy Japan 300Edit

This race was held April 13 at Twin Ring Motegi. Scott Dixon won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 8- Scott Sharp
  2. 15- Kenny Bräck
  3. 21- Felipe Giaffone
  4. 7- Michael Andretti
  5. 31- Al Unser, Jr.
  6. 4- Sam Hornish, Jr.
  7. 27- Dan Wheldon
  8. 12- Toranosuke Takagi
  9. 13- Greg Ray
  10. 24- Robbie Buhl

87th Indianapolis 500Edit

The 87th Indy 500 was held May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hélio Castroneves sat on pole but came up just short of the three-peat in the 500.

Top ten results

  1. 6- Gil de Ferran
  2. 3- Hélio Castroneves
  3. 11- Tony Kanaan
  4. 10- Tomas Scheckter
  5. 12- Toranosuke Takagi
  6. 20- Alex Barron
  7. 32- Tony Renna
  8. 13- Greg Ray
  9. 31- Al Unser, Jr.
  10. 55- Roger Yasukawa

Bombardier 500Edit

This race was held June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway. Tomas Scheckter won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 31- Al Unser, Jr.
  2. 11- Tony Kanaan
  3. 12- Toranosuke Takagi
  4. 15- Kenny Bräck
  5. 27- Bryan Herta
  6. 9- Scott Dixon
  7. 3- Hélio Castroneves
  8. 6- Gil de Ferran
  9. 12- Roger Yasukawa
  10. 4- Sam Hornish, Jr.

Honda Indy 225Edit

This race was held June 15 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Tony Kanaan won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 9- Scott Dixon
  2. 11- Tony Kanaan
  3. 6- Gil de Ferran
  4. 27- Dario Franchitti
  5. 4- Sam Hornish, Jr.
  6. 12- Toranosuke Takagi
  7. 15- Kenny Bräck
  8. 10- Tomas Scheckter
  9. 52- Buddy Rice
  10. 91- Buddy Lazier

SunTrust Indy ChallengeEdit

This race was held June 28 at Richmond International Raceway. Scott Dixon won the pole. The Race originally scheduled for 250 laps, but shortened to 206 laps due to rain.

Top ten results

  1. 9- Scott Dixon
  2. 3- Hélio Castroneves
  3. 6- Gil de Ferran
  4. 4- Sam Hornish, Jr.
  5. 11- Tony Kanaan
  6. 21- Felipe Giaffone
  7. 15- Kenny Bräck
  8. 26- Dan Wheldon
  9. 52- Buddy Rice
  10. 31- Al Unser, Jr.

Kansas Indy 300Edit

This race was held July 6 at Kansas Speedway. Scott Dixon won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 27- Bryan Herta
  2. 3- Hélio Castroneves
  3. 6- Gil de Ferran
  4. 11- Tony Kanaan
  5. 15- Kenny Bräck
  6. 9- Scott Dixon
  7. 55- Roger Yasukawa
  8. 13- Greg Ray
  9. 10- Tomas Scheckter
  10. 5- Jaques Lazier

Firestone Indy 200Edit

This race was held July 19 at Nashville Superspeedway. Scott Dixon won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 6- Gil de Ferran
  2. 9- Scott Dixon
  3. 3- Hélio Castroneves
  4. 26- Dan Wheldon
  5. 21- Alex Barron
  6. 15- Kenny Bräck
  7. 12- Toranosuke Takagi
  8. 31- Al Unser, Jr.
  9. 11- Tony Kanaan
  10. 10- Tomas Scheckter

Firestone Indy 400Edit

This race was held July 27 at Michigan International Speedway. Tomas Scheckter won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 21- Alex Barron
  2. 4- Sam Hornish, Jr.
  3. 10- Tomas Scheckter
  4. 8- Scott Sharp
  5. 9- Scott Dixon
  6. 12- Toranosuke Takagi
  7. 6- Gil de Ferran
  8. 12- Roger Yasukawa
  9. 31- Al Unser, Jr.
  10. 13- Greg Ray

Emerson Indy 250Edit

This race was held August 10 at Gateway International Raceway. Hélio Castroneves won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 3- Hélio Castroneves
  2. 11- Tony Kanaan
  3. 6- Gil de Ferran
  4. 10- Tomas Scheckter
  5. 26- Dan Wheldon
  6. 4- Sam Hornish, Jr.
  7. 12- Toranosuke Takagi
  8. 13- Greg Ray
  9. 2- Vitor Meira
  10. 8- Scott Sharp

Belterra Casino Indy 300Edit

This race was held August 17 at Kentucky Speedway. Sam Hornish, Jr. won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 4- Sam Hornish, Jr.
  2. 9- Scott Dixon
  3. 27- Bryan Herta
  4. 31- Al Unser, Jr.
  5. 3- Hélio Castroneves
  6. 11- Tony Kanaan
  7. 24- Robbie Buhl
  8. 26- Dan Wheldon
  9. 6- Gil de Ferran
  10. 10- Tomas Scheckter

Firestone Indy 225Edit

This race was held August 24 at Nazareth Speedway. Scott Dixon won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 3- Hélio Castroneves
  2. 4- Sam Hornish, Jr.
  3. 27- Bryan Herta
  4. 6- Gil de Ferran
  5. 15- Kenny Bräck
  6. 31- Al Unser, Jr.
  7. 26- Dan Wheldon
  8. 12- Roger Yasukawa
  9. 24- Robbie Buhl
  10. 91- Buddy Rice

Delphi Indy 300Edit

This race was held September 7 at Chicagoland Speedway. Richie Hearn won the pole.

Top ten results

  1. 4- Sam Hornish, Jr.
  2. 9- Scott Dixon
  3. 27- Bryan Herta
  4. 26- Dan Wheldon
  5. 10- Tomas Scheckter
  6. 11- Tony Kanaan
  7. 52- Alex Barron
  8. 55- Roger Yasukawa
  9. 12- Toranosuke Takagi
  10. 24- Robbie Buhl

Toyota Indy 400Edit

This race was held September 21 at California Speedway. Hélio Castroneves won the pole. It was the fastest circuit race ever in motorsport history, with an average speed of 207.151 mph (333.306 km/h) over 400 miles (643.6 km).

Top ten results

  1. 4- Sam Hornish, Jr.
  2. 9- Scott Dixon
  3. 11- Tony Kanaan
  4. 26- Dan Wheldon
  5. 10- Tomas Scheckter
  6. 3- Hélio Castroneves
  7. 55- Roger Yasukawa
  8. 8- Scott Sharp
  9. 31- Al Unser, Jr.
  10. 52- Alex Barron

Chevy 500Edit

This race was held October 12 at Texas Motor Speedway. Gil de Ferran won the pole. The race was memorable for a five–way championship duel involving de Ferran, Scott Dixon, Hélio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, and two-time titlist Sam Hornish, Jr.. The race was also notable for a frightening, but non–fatal, accident involving Tomas Scheckter and 1999 Indianapolis 500 champion Kenny Bräck. Scheckter was uninjured, but the Swede was launched into the air after wheel–to–wheel contact on the backstretch and violently clobbered the catch fencing. Debris was scattered across the track, and the already long period of yellow flag laps prompted IRL race control to shorten the race from 200 to just 195 laps. Gil de Ferran, Bräck's former title rival in CART, won in his final IndyCar race, joining Ray Harroun and Sam Hanks (both of whom retired immediately after winning an Indianapolis 500) as drivers who retired from U.S. open wheel competition in the winner's circle. Scott Dixon won the IRL title in his first season in the IndyCar Series (having spent two seasons in CART) and Englishman Dan Wheldon beat Roger Yasukawa for Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors.

Top ten results

  1. 6- Gil de Ferran
  2. 9- Scott Dixon
  3. 26- Dan Wheldon
  4. 2- Vitor Meira
  5. 27- Bryan Herta
  6. 8- Scott Sharp
  7. 12- Toranosuke Takagi
  8. 13- Greg Ray
  9. 31- Al Unser, Jr.
  10. 55- Roger Yasukawa

Season summaryEdit

Race resultsEdit

Rnd Race Pole position Fastest lap Most Laps Led Winner
1 Homestead-Miami   Tony Kanaan   Tony Kanaan   Gil de Ferran   Scott Dixon
2 Phoenix   Tony Kanaan   Scott Dixon   Tony Kanaan   Tony Kanaan
3 Twin Ring Motegi   Scott Dixon   Tomas Scheckter   Tony Kanaan   Scott Sharp
4 Indianapolis   Hélio Castroneves   Tony Kanaan   Tomas Scheckter   Gil de Ferran
5 Texas 1   Tomas Scheckter   Felipe Giaffone   Tomas Scheckter   Al Unser, Jr.
6 Pikes Peak   Tony Kanaan   Tony Kanaan   Scott Dixon   Scott Dixon
7 Richmond   Scott Dixon   Tomas Scheckter   Scott Dixon   Scott Dixon
8 Kansas   Scott Dixon   Tony Kanaan   Gil de Ferran   Bryan Herta
9 Nashville   Scott Dixon   Sam Hornish, Jr.   Tony Kanaan   Gil de Ferran
10 Michigan   Tomas Scheckter   Bryan Herta   Sam Hornish, Jr.   Alex Barron
11 Gateway   Hélio Castroneves   Scott Dixon   Hélio Castroneves   Hélio Castroneves
12 Kentucky   Sam Hornish, Jr.   Sarah Fisher   Sam Hornish, Jr.   Sam Hornish, Jr.
13 Nazareth   Scott Dixon   Sam Hornish, Jr.   Hélio Castroneves   Hélio Castroneves
14 Chicagoland   Richie Hearn   Bryan Herta   Tomas Scheckter   Sam Hornish, Jr.
15 Fontana   Hélio Castroneves   Scott Dixon   Tomas Scheckter   Sam Hornish, Jr.
16 Texas 2   Gil de Ferran   Tony Kanaan   Gil de Ferran   Gil de Ferran

Final driver standingsEdit

Pos Driver HMS PHX MOT INDY TXS PIK RIR KAN NSH MIS GAT KTY NAZ CHI FON TXS Pts
1   Scott Dixon 1 20 15 17 6 1* 1* 6 2 5 15 2 16 2 2 2 507
2   Gil de Ferran 2* 14 1 8 3 3 3* 1 7 3 9 4 12 15 1* 489
3   Hélio Castroneves 3 2 22 2 7 12 2 2 3 17 1* 5 1* 20 6 13 484
4   Tony Kanaan 4 1* 14* 3 2 2 5 4 9* 16 2 6 18 6 3 14 476
5   Sam Hornish, Jr. 10 21 6 15 10 5 4 17 11 2* 6 1* 2 1 1 17 461
6   Al Unser, Jr. 13 4 5 9 1 14 10 14 8 9 20 4 6 19 9 9 374
7   Tomas Scheckter 8 15 16 4* 18* 8 18 9 10 3 4 10 19 5* 5* 15 356
8   Scott Sharp 5 7 1 20 16 11 17 16 13 4 10 13 12 11 8 6 351
9   Kenny Bräck 11 5 2 16 4 7 7 5 6 18 19 19 5 21 20 16 342
10   Toranosuke Takagi 12 22 8 5 31 6 13 18 7 6 7 18 14 9 18 7 317
11   Dan Wheldon  RY  7 19 20 19 8 21 4 20 5 8 7 4 4 3 312
12   Roger Yasukawa  R  14 17 21 10 9 17 11 7 15 8 18 12 8 8 7 10 301
13   Bryan Herta DNQ 5 14 1 12 19 21 3 3 3 22 5 277
14   Robbie Buhl 19 12 10 23 22 15 15 12 21 13 12 7 9 10 12 11 261
15   Greg Ray 9 8 11 18 12 8 16 10 8 15 17 DNS 14 8 253
16   Buddy Rice 16 9 13 11 14 9 9 19 18 11 14 11 10 229
17   Alex Barron 17 6 5 1 16 20 15 7 10 20 216
18   Sarah Fisher 15 8 23 31 15 20 19 11 20 15 13 14 DNS 18 19 12 211
19   Buddy Lazier 11 19 21 13 10 20 13 14 12 11 16 13 16 201
20   Felipe Giaffone 9 3 3 33 17 13 6 22 15 16 19 199
21   A. J. Foyt IV  R  17 18 18 18 21 22 21 15 17 14 17 17 11 17 17 22 198
22   Vitor Meira 12 12 16 22 20 19 21 9 DNS 11 4 170
23   Jaques Lazier 20 6 12 29 19 21 16 10 DNS 120
24   Michael Andretti 6 13 4 27 80
25   Dario Franchitti 7 16 4 72
26   Shigeaki Hattori 18 10 20 30 43
27   Ed Carpenter  R  13 13 21 43
28   Richie Hearn 28 14 21 18 39
29   Shinji Nakano 11 14 35
30   Tony Renna 7 26
31   Scott Mayer  R  21 19 24 DNQ 26
32   Jimmy Kite 13 17
33   Robby Gordon 22 8
34   Airton Daré 24 DNQ 6
35   Robby McGehee 25 5
36   Jimmy Vasser 26 4
37   Billy Boat 32 1
-   Arie Luyendyk DNQ 0
Pos Driver HMS PHX MOT INDY TXS PIK RIR KAN NSH MIS GAT KTY NAZ CHI FON TXS Pts
Color Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green 4th & 5th place
Light Blue 6th-10th place
Dark Blue Finished
(Outside Top 10)
Purple Did not finish
(Ret)
Red Did not qualify
(DNQ)
Brown Withdrawn
(Wth)
Black Disqualified
(DSQ)
White Did not start
(DNS)
Blank Did not
participate
(DNP)
Not competing
In-line notation
Bold Pole position
(2 points)
Italics Ran fastest race lap
* Led most race laps
(1 point)
DNS Any driver who qualifies
but does not start (DNS),
earns all the points
had they taken part.
 RY  Rookie of the Year
 R  Rookie
  • Ties in points broken by number of wins, followed by number of 2nds, 3rds, etc., and then by number of pole positions, followed by number of times qualified 2nd, etc.

Note: 1 Toranosuke Takagi had 23 points deduction at Texas Motor Speedway due to unacceptable driving.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

  1. ^ #7 at the fall Texas race because of a sponsorship deal with 7-Eleven