2003 IndyCar Series

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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 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.

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 after the season had officially ended.

2003 was also the first and only engine title for Toyota and also first Asian and Japanese car manufacturer to won IndyCar Series IRL-era engine manufacturer's title and thus ending seven-year American engine manufacturer's supremacy. As of 2019, 2003 was also the last chassis manufacturer title victory for Panoz G-Force Technologies to date.

Team and driver chart[edit]

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

Season Summary[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Rnd Date Race Name Track City
1 March 2 Toyota Indy 300 Homestead-Miami Speedway Homestead, Florida
2 March 23 Purex Dial Indy 200 Phoenix International Raceway Phoenix, Arizona
3 April 13 Indy Japan 300 Twin Ring Motegi Motegi, Japan
4 May 25 87th Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Speedway, Indiana
5 June 7 Bombardier 500 Texas Motor Speedway Fort Worth, Texas
6 June 15 Honda Indy 225 Pikes Peak International Raceway Fountain, Colorado
7 June 28 SunTrust Indy Challenge Richmond International Raceway Richmond, Virginia
8 July 6 Kansas Indy 300 Kansas Speedway Kansas City, Kansas
9 July 19 Firestone Indy 200 Nashville Superspeedway Lebanon, Tennessee
10 July 27 Firestone Indy 400 Michigan International Speedway Brooklyn, Michigan
11 August 10 Emerson Indy 250 Gateway International Raceway Madison, Illinois
12 August 17 Belterra Casino Indy 300 Kentucky Speedway Sparta, Kentucky
13 August 24 Firestone Indy 225 Nazareth Speedway Nazareth, Pennsylvania
14 September 7 Delphi Indy 300 Chicagoland Speedway Joliet, Illinois
15 September 21 Toyota Indy 400 California Speedway Fontana, California
16 October 12 Chevy 500 Texas Motor Speedway Fort Worth, Texas

BOLD indicates Superspeedways.

Race results[edit]

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

Race summaries[edit]

Toyota Indy 300[edit]

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 200[edit]

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

Inaugural Indy Japan 300[edit]

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- Tora Takagi
  9. 13- Greg Ray
  10. 24- Robbie Buhl

87th Indianapolis 500[edit]

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- Tora Takagi
  6. 20- Alex Barron
  7. 32- Tony Renna
  8. 13- Greg Ray
  9. 31- Al Unser Jr.
  10. 55- Roger Yasukawa

Bombardier 500[edit]

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- Tora 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 225[edit]

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- Tora Takagi
  7. 15- Kenny Bräck
  8. 10- Tomas Scheckter
  9. 52- Buddy Rice
  10. 91- Buddy Lazier

SunTrust Indy Challenge[edit]

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 300[edit]

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 200[edit]

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- Tora Takagi
  8. 31- Al Unser Jr.
  9. 11- Tony Kanaan
  10. 10- Tomas Scheckter

Firestone Indy 400[edit]

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- Tora Takagi
  7. 6- Gil de Ferran
  8. 12- Roger Yasukawa
  9. 31- Al Unser Jr.
  10. 13- Greg Ray

Emerson Indy 250[edit]

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- Tora Takagi
  8. 13- Greg Ray
  9. 2- Vítor Meira
  10. 8- Scott Sharp

Belterra Casino Indy 300[edit]

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 225[edit]

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 300[edit]

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- Tora Takagi
  10. 24- Robbie Buhl

Toyota Indy 400[edit]

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). This also makes it the de facto fastest ever 400 mile motor race beating the NASCAR record set during the 1999 Kmart 400.

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 500[edit]

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 end the race at lap 195 of 200. Because the race reached 1 lap past the halfway point the race was considered official. 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. 7- Dan Wheldon
  4. 2- Vítor Meira
  5. 27- Bryan Herta
  6. 8- Scott Sharp
  7. 12- Tora Takagi
  8. 13- Greg Ray
  9. 31- Al Unser Jr.
  10. 55- Roger Yasukawa

Final driver standings[edit]

Pos Driver HMS PHX MOT INDY TXS PIK RIR KAN NSH MIS GAT KTY NAZ CHI FON TXS Pts
1 New Zealand Scott Dixon 1 20 15 17 6 1* 1* 6 2 5 15 2 16 2 2 2 507
2 Brazil Gil de Ferran 2* 14 1 8 3 3 3* 1 7 3 9 4 12 15 1* 489
3 Brazil Hélio Castroneves 3 2 22 2 7 12 2 2 3 17 1* 5 1* 20 6 13 484
4 Brazil Tony Kanaan 4 1* 14* 3 2 2 5 4 9* 16 2 6 18 6 3 14 476
5 United States Sam Hornish Jr. 10 21 6 15 10 5 4 17 11 2* 6 1* 2 1 1 17 461
6 United States Al Unser Jr. 13 4 5 9 1 14 10 14 8 9 20 4 6 19 9 9 374
7 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 8 15 16 4* 18* 8 18 9 10 3 4 10 19 5* 5* 15 356
8 United States Scott Sharp 5 7 1 20 16 11 17 16 13 4 10 13 12 11 8 6 351
9 Sweden Kenny Bräck 11 5 2 16 4 7 7 5 6 18 19 19 5 21 20 16 342
10 Japan Tora Takagi 12 22 8 5 31 6 13 18 7 6 7 18 14 9 18 7 317
11 United Kingdom Dan Wheldon  RY  7 19 20 19 8 21 4 20 5 8 7 4 4 3 312
12 United States Roger Yasukawa  R  14 17 21 10 9 17 11 7 15 8 18 12 8 8 7 10 301
13 United States Bryan Herta DNQ 5 14 1 12 19 21 3 3 3 22 5 277
14 United States Robbie Buhl 19 12 10 23 22 15 15 12 21 13 12 7 9 10 12 11 261
15 United States Greg Ray 9 8 11 18 12 8 16 10 8 15 17 DNS 14 8 253
16 United States Buddy Rice 16 9 13 11 14 9 9 19 18 11 14 11 10 229
17 United States Alex Barron 17 6 5 1 16 20 15 7 10 20 216
18 United States Sarah Fisher 15 8 23 31 15 20 19 11 20 15 13 14 DNS 18 19 12 211
19 United States Buddy Lazier 11 19 21 13 10 20 13 14 12 11 16 13 16 201
20 Brazil Felipe Giaffone 9 3 3 33 17 13 6 22 15 16 19 199
21 United States A. J. Foyt IV  R  17 18 18 18 21 22 21 15 17 14 17 17 11 17 17 22 198
22 Brazil Vítor Meira 12 12 16 22 20 19 21 9 DNS 11 4 170
23 United States Jaques Lazier 20 6 12 29 19 21 16 10 DNS 120
24 United States Michael Andretti 6 13 4 27 80
25 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti 7 16 4 72
26 Japan Shigeaki Hattori 18 10 20 30 43
27 United States Ed Carpenter  R  13 13 21 43
28 United States Richie Hearn 28 14 21 18 39
29 Japan Shinji Nakano 11 14 35
30 United States Tony Renna 7 26
31 United States Scott Mayer  R  21 19 24 DNQ 26
32 United States Jimmy Kite 13 17
33 United States Robby Gordon 22 8
34 Brazil Airton Daré 24 DNQ 6
35 United States Robby McGehee 25 5
36 United States Jimmy Vasser 26 4
37 United States Billy Boat 32 1
- Netherlands 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
Italics Ran fastest race lap
* Led most race laps
(2 points)
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 Tora Takagi had 23 points deducted at Texas Motor Speedway due to unacceptable driving.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Used by Daré, by Hattori at Homestead and Motegi, and by Foyt IV in seven rounds: Motegi, Texas 1 and 2, Kansas, Michigan, Kentucky and Fontana.
  2. ^ Replaced Airton Daré, who was injured during a practice crash at Texas
  3. ^ Replaced Arie Luyendyk, who was injured during a practice crash.
  4. ^ Failed his rookie test at Indianapolis.

External links[edit]