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INDYJuly 19, 2003
American IndyCar Series Round 9
Nashville Superspeedway

Fourth for Dan Weldon
Tony Kanaan Keeps Series Lead

Nashville, Tennessee is also known as Music City, the home of country and western music and the center of the American music industry.

The Nashville Superspeedway, located about 30 miles east of downtown Nashville, is unique not only for its course length of 1.33 miles, somewhere between a short oval and an intermediate oval, but also for its concrete road surface. Helped by the particularly high grip from the fast 14 degree banks and concrete track, this exciting oval produces extremely fast battles. However, the bumpiness caused by the concrete joints along with the extra wear on tires on such a high grip track means that victory here depends greatly on setting the machine to minimize tire wear.

Round 9, the third and last night race, marked the start of the second half of the season. Although it was a typically hot Southern summers day in Nashville, the race itself began shortly before sunset, just after 7:00pm, and so the 40,000 plus fans packed into the grandstand were able to enjoy the race in the cool of the evening. Country and western music star Wynnona Judd sang the American National Anthem at the pre-race ceremony, a performance that could only happen in Music City, before the course lights came on and the green flag came down.

The highest finishing Honda Indy V-8 driver in the 200-lap race was Dan Weldon, who improved from eighth at the start to finish fourth. The rookie made his fuel saving strategy work well to record his personal career best finish. Kenny Brack started one position behind Weldon in ninth but experienced trouble during a pit stop and crossed the line in sixth place. Despite leading the field for all of 55 laps, Championship leader Tony Kanaan was unlucky with the timing of a pit stop and only managed ninth place. Bryan Herta, winner last time out at Kansas City, was leading at the halfway point but took the checkered flag in 12th position. Roger Yasugawa improved from 10th in qualifying to fifth place, but the leading rookie in the Championship so far this season was hit by fuel system trouble and ended the race three laps behind in 15th. A fire in the pit for Greg Ray meant he could only finish in 16th place.

The 266-mile race was won by this year's Indy 500 winner, Gil de Ferran. The yellow flag and checkered flag were shown simultaneously when a car span off on lap 199.

Honda Indy V-8 driver Kanaan has now led the Championship since Round 4, and his 24 points from Nashville Superspeedway take his total to 303 points, 14 clear of second placed de Ferran.

American IndyCar Series Round 9
Nashville Superspeedway

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1 Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Team Penske)
2 Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
3 Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Team Penske)
4 Dan Wheldon (Andretti Green Racing)
5 Alex Barron (Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing)
6 Kenny Brack (Team Rahal)
7 Tora Takagi (Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing)
8 Al Unser Jr. (Kelley Racing)
9 Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing)
10 Tomas Scheckter (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
12 Bryan Herta (Andretti Green Racing)
15 Roger Yasukawa (Super Aguri Fernandez Racing)
16 Greg Ray (Access Motorsports)
Dan Wheldon
Dan Wheldon
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