Chevy 500K Weekend
October 10th - 12th
2003 IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon
|Scott Dixon finished second in the Chevy 500, however he would earn enough points to clinch the 2003 IndyCar Series Championship.|
Chevy 500 Winner Gil deFerran
|Gil deFerran would take the pole and win the Chevy 500 in the final race of his career. Gil finished the season in second place, 18 points behind Scott Dixon.|
|The race ended under caution after a crash on lap 188 involving Tomas Scheckter and Kenny Brack. Brack was airlifted to Parkland Hospital and would later undergo surgery. On October 23, Kenny was transported to Indy for rehabilitation. Get well Kenny!|
Silverado 350 Winner Brendan Gaughan
|Brendan Gaughan takes the checkered flag at the Silverado 350 and wins his fourth straight race at the Texas Motor Speedway.|
Pole Winner Andy Houston
|Andy Houston won the Dallas Morning News Pole for the Silverado 350 with a lap of 181.53 MPH.|
|U.S. Grand Prix 2003|
|The fourth running of the United States Grand Prix took place September 28th, 2003. For the first time in the history of the event, the Formula One championship was still up for grabs. All eyes would be on the three title contenders and on the sky. Weather played a key role in shaping the course of events over the weekend.|
U.S. Grand Prix Pole Winner Kimi Raikkonen
|Kimi Raikkonen would go into the race ranked third in the championship standings. He would make his presence known early by winning the pole position in single lap qualifying on Saturday.|
Juan Pablo Montoya
|Also in the hunt for the championship on Sunday was the 2000 Indy 500 winner, Juan Pablo Montoya. Backed by his loyal legion of fans, he would take on defending champion Michael Schumacher.|
Juan Pablo Montoya Fans
|The weather would play right into the five time Formula One champion's hands. Known for his wet weather driving abilities, Schumacher would use the conditions to his advantage by taking a commanding lead over second place Raikkonen. Montoya would struggle the entire race to overcome a lengthy pit stop and a penalty for an on-track incident with Rubens Barrichello.|
U.S. Grand Prix Winner Michael Schumacher
|Michael Schumacher would improve his lead to over 18 seconds and go onto win the 2003 United States Grand Prix. Since Raikkonen finished second, the championship would not be decided at Indy. However, Montoya would be out of contention for the championship with a sixth place showing.|
Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon
|Winston Cup racing thundered into TMS Friday with practice and O'Reilly qualifying. Texas native Bobby Labonte won the pole for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 with a quick lap of 27.905 at 193.514 MPH. Jeff Gordon will start seventh on Sunday after a 28.092 second lap. Jeff will seek to continue his streak of top five finishes at Texas by capitalizing on a top ten starting position.|
|Samsung/RadioShack 500 Starting Lineup|
Race Winner Ryan Newman
|Ryan Newman turned a great qualifying effort into his second career win at the Samsung/RadioShack 500. With only ten laps remaining, Ryan Newman passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the race lead. This set up a great fight for second between Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Gordon, fighting a tight condition in the final laps, was not able to hold off Earnhardt Jr. as they bumped along the front stretch towards the checkered flag.|
|Samsung/RadioShack 500 Race Results|
|Ryan Newman's win marked the seventh different winner at Texas as well as the first win for Dodge at TMS.|
O'Reilly 300 Pole Winner Jason Keller
|Thursday was the official start of the Texas Motor Speedway season with NASCAR Busch Series practice and qualifying. The first practice kicked off at 11AM and qualifying was later in the day at 3:30PM. Jason Keller won the pole with his fast lap of 187.474 MPH.|
|O'Reilly 300 Starting Lineup|
O'Reilly 300 Race Winner Joe Nemechek
|The race Saturday was wild and unpredictable. Two red flags and ten cautions resulted in only eleven cars finishing on the lead lap. A single car accident with two to go resulted in Joe Nemechek taking his second victory of the season under caution.|
|O'Reilly 300 Race Results|
2003 Busch Series Champion Brian Vickers
|For most of the race, 19 year old Brian Vickers looked like the likely winner. However, Brian was black flagged for passing on a restart, which knocked him back to the the middle of the pack. He ended up finishing 25th after being involved in a 15 car accident on lap 196 of 200.|
|Visit the TMSFAN Busch Series Photo Gallery|
Pole Winner Helio Castroneves
My first Indy Pole Day was cut short by inclement weather reminiscent of the rain delays I've had to wait out at TMS. With a massive second storm front just miles from the track, it was announced that Pole Day was officially washed out. The weather Sunday was cold, cloudy and windy but thankfully free of any rain. With a dry track and no rain expected, Pole Day was on!
Tony Kanaan held onto the provisional pole most of the day with a four lap average of 231.006. In the end, back to back Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves would win the Pole with a lap average of 231.725 MPH. Helio was the only driver on Pole Day to post a single qualifying lap speed above the 232 MPH mark. Defending IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. was the highest qualifying Chevy at 226.225 MPH.
How better to spend a Saturday night than to be at TMS for some high speed action under the lights. The Drivers Edge held a high performance night event at TMS and I was there to take a few pictures.
Check out the gallery and pay a visit to The Drivers Edge web site to find out more about an upcoming event.
The Drivers Edge Home Page
TMSFAN Webmaster Chris Michel
This weekend, the TMSFAN webmaster Chris Michel, got behind the wheel of a Team Texas stock car for an unforgettable driving experience. Chris's family purchased him a drive and ride package. This package includes a 10 lap driving school and a 4 lap ride at over 160 MPH. Look for Chris next year in the CSM Production Busch series stock car.
Chris has done a lot to keep TMSFAN up running and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his hard work.
Doug Garner is the first to share his race photos in the new TMS Fans section. Stop by and check out his gallery and read his helpful photo tips.
If you have an interesting story or picture from an event at The Texas Motor Speedway that you would like to share with other TMS Fans, please let me know. Just email me some information about yourself and include your story or photo and I will post it to the "TMS Fans" page. My email address is: email@example.com
Click here to view my 2002 Season Review in Photos.
My sister and I purchased my Dad a ride with Team Texas as a Father's Day present. After reviewing the photos of my Dad's ride, it appears he had a blast. As an Air Force Pilot, my dad was familiar with G-forces and speed. However, his ride in a stock car on the banked turns of The Texas Motor Speedway was a unique experience. When asked about his ride after four fast laps at over 165 MPH the Colonel was quoted as saying "Wow".
If you are looking for a Christmas gift idea for your race fan, please consider a ride with Team Texas or Driving 101.
Click here to view a photo gallery of my Dad's ride.
The Speedway Club
Each year, the wife and I celebrate our anniversary by dining at a top notch restaurant. This year, we selected the Speedway Club Starlight Room located at the Texas Motor Speedway. Before everyone floods me with email, this was Traci’s idea. However, I must admit that I did not offer any alternatives and I quickly made reservations before Traci made another suggestion.
One of the perks of season tickets is a two week pass to the Speedway Club. Although I have been a TMS season ticket holder for three years, this was the first time I took advantage of the opportunity. I now regret not doing it sooner…
The food at the restaurant was magnificent and the service was first class. For dinner, I ordered the NY Strip Steak and I was amazed at how tender it was. As an appetizer, we ordered Shrimp Cocktail and we closed out the meal with Apple Cobbler. From start to finish, we enjoyed our night at the Speedway Club. I can highly recommend the club, but don't take my word for it, find out for yourself and take advantage of the two week pass.
Click here for more information on the Speedway Club.
Sam Hornish Jr.
On Sunday, we saw another exciting open wheel race at the Texas Motor Speedway!
Sam Hornish and Helio Castroneves raced side by side swapping the race lead and series championship lap after lap. It was amazing to watch two IRL superstars race lap after lap. This was the perfect ending to a great race season at the speedway and an entertaining race week.
The practice sessions this week were only a precursor for what was in store for the race Sunday. During practice, Sam and Helio raced side by side testing the capabilities of each others car and nerves. You could sense in the garage, that the stress and tension was at an unusual high. However both championship contending drivers were very courteous and outgoing with the fans. The week was action packed from the first IRL practice to the grand finale at the race on Sunday.
Race week was a very hot and sweaty one for the TMSFAN. I walked up and down pit road countless times to take over two hundred photos for www.TMSFAN.com. When you have a chance, please stop by the photo gallery to check out my hard work. Please email me and let me know which one is your favorite photo.
On September 21st, I had a date with g-forces and speed when I went on a "Champ Ride" with www.driving101.com at The Texas Motor Speedway. The "Champ Ride" package is three laps at over 180 MPH on the banked turns of TMS! It was an exhilarating experience and something I will never forget.
Earlier this year, I went
on a stock car ride at TMS with www.teamtexas.com.
I was expecting a something similar but I was surprised at how different the
experience was riding in an open cockpit. In a stock car, I was able to look
around and take in my surroundings. The ride in an open cockpit was different
as the air flow against my helmet restricted limited movement. In addition,
the g-forces felt on the banked turns was more noticeable than in a stock car.
The ride was absolutely exciting and my heart was pounding as we headed home in the car . I would like to thank my wife for a wonderful birthday present. I wonder what she has in store for me next, a ride on the space shuttle?
Instead of thunderstorms Saturday evening, we saw a rainbow during pre-race introductions... After a brief caution for rain at the start of the Boomtown 500 the remainder of the race was undisturbed by weather
The night Indy race has always been my favorite race of the year at The Texas Motor Speedway and the Boomtown 500 lived up to my expectations. Saturday night's race was the closest finish in Indy Racing League history. Even with top teams like Penske, Panther and Cheever not contending for the win, other drivers stepped up to give us a great race. The final laps of the race were further enhanced with quick splash and go pit stops by cars on the lead lap. The suspense and drama of the 2002 June Indy Race will be difficult to top by any of the other events on the schedule this year.
The downside of scheduling a race at TMS in June, is that you can bet on hot and humid weather. Spending race week in the pits this year was especially grueling. I went through 10 bottles of water each day during my 10 hours of hiking around the track. I worked really hard to get some cool photographs and hunt down autographs from my favorite drivers. I have posted several of the images on my online photo gallery.
Race week has officially started with Busch qualifying and practice today. Jeff Green won the pole, and set a track record, with a qualifying time of 193.493 mph. It was an action packed day with plenty of racing on the track and the Fandango party at night.. My totals for the day, 4.44 miles walked, 823 pictures taken and 1 autograph (Greg Biffle). I learned that either I can take pictures of hunt for autographs. I found it difficult to try and do both...
Friday was a beautiful sunny day. A perfect day for taking pictures, getting autographs and watching qualifying. I walked over 4 miles Friday and took 900 photos.
On Friday, I decided to give my camera a rest for a bit and go after some autographs. As a result, I was able to get three autographs including a Kevin Harvick 8x10! My other autographs were from Sterling Marlin and Matt Kenseth. Sometimes I feel bad stalking a driver for an autograph...
The Winston Cup qualifying was exciting and I was able to get several close up driver shots. I was excited for Bill Elliott when he set the track qualifying record with a lap speed of over 194!
This years Busch race reminded me so much of the 2000 Busch race. With a rained delayed start and a finish under the lights, it is hard not to think of the race two years ago. However, unlike 2000 we did not get to see a full Busch race Saturday.
I am disappointed that Jack Sprague did not win. He seemed to have an awesome race car and had a great chance at winning if the event went the full distance. I also enjoyed the payback he got on Jimmy Spencer on one of the restarts. On one of the restarts, he held back a bit and let Jimmy pass him on the inside, which was a black flag penalty. That was a classy way to payback Spencer for the idiotic move he made at the end of the Bristol race. I will miss not seeing Sprague in a truck at the June Craftsman Truck Series race.
Although the race was shortened, I did have some fun at the track. I went to the race with my dad and we walked around and checked out the souvenir trailers together. I also spent some time in the pits and got an autograph from Johnny Benson.
It rained so much Saturday that I had very few opportunities to bring out my camera. I was brave during the race and took my camera out for a few snapshots.
The big day, Sunday, the Winston Cup race! Well, sort of.... Even with a solid day of rain in the forecast, I still showed up to the track for the race. My fear was that the weather predictions would be wrong and there would be a long enough break in the rain to start the race. Once the race was officially postponed, a traffic nightmare occurred.
At the time the official announcement was made, fans were still entering the parking lots at the track. After word spread that the race was postponed, people started to leave and then chaos ensued. Traffic at major intersections gridlocked with people trying to exit and enter the track at the same time. I must say, the TMS staff took charge, directed traffic in the rain and got me the heck out of there. I only spent about an hour in traffic, which was not bad considering the mess that was created and weather at the time...
Well, I can honestly say, I have never attended a race on a Monday. What a difference a day makes, the weather was perfect. However, the delay prevented my wife from attending. So I ended up with a $90 seat for my camera. I made it a point to get to the track early to make sure I has a prime parking spot. I parked in PSL parking on Petty Place just at the end of the new pedestrian walkway. I was able to make it out of the track in only 10 minutes...
It was exciting to see the extensive race preparation that takes place before a Winston Cup race. I watched most of tech inspection and then wandered around watching teams prepare for the race. I was able to pick up some cool souvenirs, including a leftover lug nut from Michael Waltrip's crew. I also watched the Fox broadcast crew hang out in the garage area before the race. I was able to make it to my seat just in time for the national anthem.
Overall, I was very pleased with the results of the race. Jeff Gordon ran a tough race and fought back from being a lap down to finish second. With two consecutive solid races under his belt, Jeff may have broken the Texan curse this year. Matt Kenseth ran a great race and worked his way from back in the pack to win. When I met him in the pits, we was a nice guy and handled the persistent requests for his autograph with class. I was glad to see him win...
After a demanding five days at the track, it was nice to go home after the race and relax. My final totals for the week were 15.60 miles walked and 1,874 photos.